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Up to two years ago, I didn’t know the difference between turmeric and saffron. I thought they were from the same plant, turmeric being the root and the saffron flower. But no, they are two different plants, turmeric is from the Curcuma species, and saffron from the Crocus Sativus species. This article will introduce some of the wonderful anti-cancer properties, among others, of both saffron and turmeric. And also ways we can include them into our diets.

Bright Colour Spices

If this is the first time you heard about them, that’s how it looks in nature.

Turmeric or golden spice, as it is also called, because of its bright yellow colour, originated in India about 4000 years ago. Today it is cultivated mostly in tropical parts of the world, as it loves sun and water.

Saffron probably originated in the eastern mediterranean regions and is commercially grown in Spain. If you ever tried paella, you should know that saffron is one of the spices used.

When you go to the shop, you will find them like that. Most shops in Oslo, especially the foreign ones, will sell turmeric root, and powder, as well as saffron stigmas. You can also find it in powder form in almost all other grocery stores. If you want to buy organic turmeric or saffron, you will normally find them in the health stores.

How you can you use it?

A simple way is to sprinkle in drinks, stews, paellas, soups, salads and even raw cakes.

Make your own golden milk!

Golden Milk Recipe


3 cups nut milk of choice

3 tbsp fresh mashed turmeric root

1 tbsp fresh mashed ginger root

Sweetener of choice (agave, maple, honey, or dates)

A cinnamon stick

3 saffron stigmas (avoid if you are pregnant)

Blend all the ingredients (except the cinnamon stick and the saffron stigmas) and then warm up with the stick on for taste. Strain before serving it. Decorate with the saffron. It serves two cups.

Do the bright colour spices really fight cancer?

Both turmeric and saffron present anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. This is why you should get to know them better.

In the studies of turmeric or curcuma longa, one of it’s most important active ingredients found is curcumin and together with related compounds are known to be anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antimicrobial and anti-cancer (cytotoxic towards tumour cells).

In studies of saffron, crocetin is one of the active ingredients, being also the antioxidant, responsible for its fat-lowering properties. Saffron needs to be used with care, small amounts of up to 1,0g per day. It is said that 5-20g can be lethal. Do not be discouraged from using it, always do your own research and choose what to put into your body.

Note: Pregnant women should avoid saffron, as it seems to cause uterine contractions.

We are still unveiling the possible reasons that make saffron, the most expensive spice, so special. Did you know that there are two other plants that look like saffron? In the next article of these series, we are going to present one of them.

Have you read our previous article Could Smelling Saffron Help with Depression?on these series: Why is saffron the most expensive spice in the world? Read it here.

Do you want to learn more about foods that are beneficial for your body, and want to improve your diet?

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And if you are willing to take a further step towards a more balanced diet, to clean your body from toxins and refresh your health so that you can feel stronger, more energetic and happier, take a look at my Detoxification Program.

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