Crocus sativus

Crocus sativus

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What is the crocus sativus

The crocus sativus is the scientific term for the plant from which the true saffron is derived. This plant is part of the botanical family of the iridaceae, native to Asia Minor, from whose stigma is obtained saffron, a spice that is used in cooking and in some pharmaceutical preparations. The crocus family is composed of about eighty species, which have an underground bulb, like the tuber, with a diameter of about five centimeters. Inside the bulb there are the gems that produce the plant organs and then give rise to the leaves and flowers. The jets come out of the gems that, wrapped in a film, allow the newborn plant to pierce the ground and receive sunlight. Inside the jet, the leaves and the flower are already developed, so once they reach the surface, they allow the vital parts to open out. The leaves are narrow and elongated with a maximum length of thirty-five centimeters, while the flower generally has six petals of violet color. The plant begins its vegetative click in the summer to finish it in the first days of October and slow down during the winter.

Crocus sativus sale

The sale of crocus sativus happens through different channels. If the plant is purchased for ornamental use, it can be found in nurseries or specialized florists. For this purpose, bulbs can also be purchased if you want to plant them in pots. If instead you decide to start a cultivation to get saffron, the channels for the sale are different. Several internet sites offer the sale of the bulbs, given the crocus sativus It is seedless, and through these the seedlings begin their vegetative cycle. Not all bulbs are the same, so when you buy online it is good to rely on producers who can certify the origin of the seedlings. Generally those grown in central Italy are the best. In this regard, the sale of the crocus sativus can also be made directly on site, ie by the manufacturing companies. In this case, the sale ends only if large quantities are purchased, as farms usually do not sell individual seedlings.

Saffron produced from crocus sativus

Saffron produced from the crucus sativus is known since ancient times. There are traces of its existence in the writings of Homer, Virgil and Pliny who boast the peculiarities in the culinary field and in the coloring of the fabrics. In Asia instead, a country of origin, as well as in the kitchen it was also used in the mixture of herbs that were burned during religious ceremonies. Saffron has an ancient tradition in Italy. The most famous is the saffron from Navelli, a town in the province of L'Aquila, imported from Spain by the Dominican father Santucci, originally from the Aquila village. Father Santucci began the cultivation of crocus satuvus, achieving excellent results, so much so as to produce a decidedly higher quality than that which could be imported from Spain. Crops spread throughout Abruzzo making saffron famous throughout the peninsula. Saffron is produced by processing the crocus sativus stigmas that are harvested at the end of October, at the end of the vegetative cycle of the seedlings. Saffron is also used in the production of sweets and liqueurs.

Crocus sativus: beneficial properties and contraindications of crocus sativus

The most common use of crocus sativus is the culinary one. A topic unknown to many is that saffron, which derives from its processing, has several beneficial properties for the body. The cosmetic and herbal industries use it for the production of creams that fight free radicals thanks to the richness of carotenids involved in counteracting the cellular damage they cause. The pharmaceutical industry instead uses preparations based on stigmas of crocus sativus as a sedative or as an antispasmic. Lately, however, clinical studies have revealed the presence of abortive compounds in the spice, and for this reason consumption during pregnancy is strongly advised against. Furthermore, ingesting twenty grams of saffron a day can lead to death. Of course, as in all medicinal plants, abuse leads to consequences. The side effects of excessive use are: dizziness, numbness and bleeding. These are some reasons why saffron is mainly used in the food sector and in any case always in very small doses.