The answer, at least in Europe and North America, is no. The European Union has banned saffron from some products, like toothpaste and shaving cream, and, in a few countries, it is illegal to wear saffron accessories such as scarves, hats, shoes and the like. As for the United States, the Drug Enforcement Agency has a ban on saffron-containing products; it has not yet been imposed by the FDA.
How to grow saffron
Saffron is actually a relatively simple plant in the garden: Start it, let it flower, harvest the leaves, and store them.
But, as this recent video by the National Geographic demonstrates, not all that flowery saffron is going to produce enough to eat. To make saffron from nonirrigated plants, some recipes call for soaking some dried starchy, sweet leaves in water so that they turn into saffron.
Saffron, which is a member of the mint family, is one of nature’s most valuable jewels — we can use it to make candles, necklaces, cosmetics and medicine; saffron is also in folk medicine and used to cure a number of ailments, including the liver-wasting disease hepatitis.
The European Union recently banned saffron from some foods, including toothpaste; the ban is in place because saffron has the property of making people think of the past and of the future, according to the European Union.
Saffron: What can it do to you?
There is strong evidence that saffron may affect your heart — it can reduce the stress in your blood vessels. In the 1980s and ’90s, some studies linked saffron’s ability to raise circulation in the heart to cardiovascular diseases. Other study results suggested that saffron’s ability to block an enzyme in the blood that creates free radicals and other potentially deadly agents is responsible for saffron’s heart-friendliness.
More recent research has focused on the links between saffron’s antioxidant properties and its ability to improve blood flow. Studies also have discovered that saffron contains compounds called “monomeric polysaccharides” — they are short chain carbohydrates found in plants, fruit and cereals — that are also found in blood clotting factors in the body. Studies suggest that consumption of saffron may help protect the blood vessels against atherosclerosis.
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