My daughter brought me a beautiful purple crocus from the park. It had a the sweet and light fragrance of saffron. I remembered the times I’ve dreamt about being a farmer in the Mediterranean and particularly a crocus farmer…. My daughter almost got a bollocking for picking up that beauty, instead I let the good will prevail secretly wanting her to keep bringing me flowers for years to come.
The point here is not my daughter but the crocuses. They sign the new season with their delicate presence, pushing upwards the symmetry of their petals. Spring is here when we see nature waking up. The trees start pushing buds for their leaves and sudden warmth surprises us after the last effort of the ending winter. No reminders of the icy days just a week or two ago. Instead, we have flower power in the park and people finally smiling in hope of the pandemic is ending soon.
So, back to the crocus, why is it growing just now? Why does it want to push its leaves through the snow, mud and cold spring air? If we study the crocus a bit closer, we find it has something very particular inside the petals. The stamen of the crocus is called saffron, the spice more precious than gold. Saffron in North West London! Have no doubts, the ones in Queen’s Park won’t be from a subspecies that would make it worth go saffron digging in hope of great rewards, still, their beautiful fragrance and deserves our appreciation.
Saffron is precious not only because it has a strong flavour and fragrance. It is a highly medicinal plant against all seasonal spring disorders, especially mucous. It is a powerful remedy because it is good for all body types. Even if it is a warming spice it is still a powerful anti-inflammatory. In Sansrkit this herb is called cumcuma and has a particularly holy place in the eastern rituals. The bindi, the dot on the third eye, is often made out of saffron.
Saffron is a strong blood and liver purifier. After the winter we need to clear the pathways that allow us to detoxify the excess we’ve kept on in winter. Liver purification always reflects on our skin. Even if is applied directly on the skin it maintains its medicinal properties and therefore is one of the most used herbs in beauty industry.
Saffron is a fertility herb and reproductive tonic. Generally, all deeply red products of nature are this, such as pomegranate. Try the combo of three reds of cranberries, rose and saffron decoction / tea for urinary tract infection.
Like all plants and herbs that grow in spring, crocus and its saffron stamens lighten up the body, they pull excess liquids out (diuretic), scrape fat and mucous and relax the mind. As a tonic for the mind saffron has been used throughout the time. You should, however, make sure you get a good quality saffron. The spice industry is full of false promises of ethically sourced, organic and pure single sourced products so be mindful where you buy. Expensive herbs are particularly susceptible for cuts and mixes. I heard once that they it is a practice sometimes to put other fragranced stamens or even plastic pieces in the mix with real crocus stamens for increasing the profits. That said, You are most probably going be more safe buying organic than non-organic. I personally use Steenberg’s herbs saffron.
Saffron grown in this season because it provides medicine for the earthlings during this period of scarcity. Its qualities or attributes of light, dry, mobile, astringent and pungent make it a perfect balancer for cold, heavy and slow spring weather.
Spring is also a time to fast in order to boost the detoxification process naturally occurring for wild animals and indigenous humans who live in nature. Scarcity of spring can be tough but necessary to clear the system and fortify the liver for the times of abundance ahead. I recommend you do one, two or more days a week by skipping your supper and replacing it with this delicious cardamon and saffron mylk. You should use a plant based milk and preferably one that is not made out of nuts. Nuts are autumn and winter food. Lighter options sync better with the season. Some light fat is necessary for this drink to be satiating to replace a whole meal. These fats do not get stored but used cleverly for our metabolic function and especially fat removal. Believe it or not, you need to have fat to remove fat!
As regards honey in this drink, add it only when it is palatable. Never add honey in a hot drink or you lose the benefits of it. Honey, saffron and cardamom are some of the best ingredients to guide our bodies to do exactly what they should in spring: detoxify.
Cardamom and Saffron Milk
1 cup of organic oat or rice milk
1 tsp ghee / coconut oil
3 pods cardamom
Pinch of saffron
Honey to taste
Heat up all ingredients except honey in a pot and let stay on a very low fire for 20min then mix in a blender to transfer fat into foam. Once blended the temperature should have come down to a palatable level. Then add honey and enjoy your supper!