Known as one of the most complex and expensive spices, saffron’s history is laden with unusual uses. The Greeks considered it the essence of youth and life, Indian medicine values it as a mood enhancer and modern Chinese medicine heralds it for its medicinal properties for virtually any ailment. “It’s also known to have a calming effect on your mood,” says celebrity nutritionist David Allen.
Add it to: Any type of brewed tea. The orange-yellow, subtly earthy-flavored spice is rich in antioxidants, plus it’s loaded with minerals and vitamins A and C.
Find it in: Saffron strands aren’t the easiest to spot on the spice isle, but See Smell Taste’s Saffron Coupe sun-dried version is the real thing: The golden-red threads provide a rich fragrance when incorporated into skin care and a mellow taste when added to dishes.
When applied topically: Saffron kills bacteria, making it ideal for acneic skin. “It can also help create a brighter and clearer complexion because of its antibacterial and exfoliating properties,” says aesthetician Mandy Epley of Jillian Wright Clinical Skin Spa in New York.
Also find it in: An alternative for acne sufferers who find salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide too harsh, Arcona Herbal Compound combines antibacterial extracts like saffron and burdock root with soothing aloe to clear up and balance the skin.
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