Saffron history

Dried stigma derived from Crocus sativus is called Saffron. Saffron is a spice that sometimes it`s called "Red Gold", a well-deserved name due to remain among the most valued products throughout the history.

The origin of saffron is not very clear, but the documents show that it was discovered in ancient time, in Central Asia and has been expanded by the civilizations of antiquity (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, etc.).

The word "saffron" comes from the Arabic term "asfarque", meaning yellow colour. "Safra" is the name of saffron in Persian. There is a hypothesis that the Persians were the first to use saffron as a spice. The Arabs and the Romans have been responsible for extending the use of saffron to many parts of the world, using "The Silk Road" in their commercial changes with the East (India, China) and "Mare Nostrum" to bring this spice to The West.

Saffron is also mentioned in Greek mythology and there are references to its use as an offering to the gods or incense in ceremonies and religious rites or in the famous Greek theaters.

For the Egyptians, saffron was of great importance, being used as a ritual component in the embalming of the pharaohs, as a remedy for pain or as an essential ingredient in beauty rituals (Cleopatra was known for taking milk baths which she often infused with saffron in order to have a softly skin).

The Romans used saffron for religious ceremonies, but also at banquets mixing it with wine and food, women used it as a perfume, considering it a powerful and proven aphrodisiac. With time, for the Romans, saffron became a symbol of maximum dignity.

In China, saffron was charged with symbolism because of its properties for dyeing materials. Buddha wore a saffron coloured robe and the Buddhist monks used it as a medicinal plant or raw material for dyes.

The saffron was introduced in Spain by the Arabs, during the Caliphate of Córdoba, its cultivation being extended to the greater part of the territories of Al-Ándalus.

Old as human history, saffron was always a symbol of royalty, mysticism and prosperity and with good reason was called "The Red Gold".

 

  

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