Kashmiri saffron, which is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir, has been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry. The spice is grown in some regions of Kashmir, including Pulwama, Budgam, Kishtwar and Srinagar.
- Department of Agriculture Kashmir has been granted Certificate of Registration by Registrar of Geographical Indication, Chennai, Government of India in respect of Kashmir Saffron.
- Kashmiri saffron, known for its quality and aroma worldwide, has been witnessing an invasion by cheaper Iranian saffron.Due to the invasion by the Iranian saffron, the price of Kashmiri saffron dropped by 48% after 2007, the year when Iranian imports grew substantially.
- Karewas are lacustrine deposits. According geographers, the Karewa Formation are glacio- fluvial-lacustrine and aeolian loess of Plio-Pleistocene age. It is extremely important for agricultural and horticultural practices.
- Iran is currently the largest producer of saffron in the world, cultivating over 300 tonnes every year on 30,000 hectares of land. In Kashmir, which ranks second in supply, saffron cultivation is limited to about one-eighth that area–3,715 hectares.
- Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around 1st Century BCE.
- In ancient Sanskrit literature, saffron is referred to as ‘bahukam’.
- The saffron derives from the stigma and styles — called threads — within the flower itself.
About Kashmiri Saffron:
Kashmir saffron is renowned globally as a spice. It rejuvenates health and is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes. It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region. The unique characteristics of Kashmir saffron are its longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing, and high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).
It is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m AMSL (above mean sea level), which adds to its uniqueness and differentiates it from other saffron varieties available the world over.
The saffron available in Kashmir is of three types — ‘Lachha Saffron’, with stigmas just separated from the flowers and dried without further processing; ‘Mongra Saffron’, in which stigmas are detached from the flower, dried in the sun and processed traditionally; and ‘Guchhi Saffron’, which is the same as Lachha, except that the latter’s dried stigmas are packed loosely in air-tight containers while the former has stigmas joined together in a bundle tied with a cloth thread.
1.The majority of the health claims surrounding Kashmirisaffron relate to its high levels of specific antioxidants. Notable saffron antioxidants include crocin, crocetin, safranal, and kaempferol
2.May Improve Mood and Treat Depressive Symptoms.Saffron is nicknamed the “sunshine spice.”Crocin and crocetin are carotenoid pigments and responsible for saffron’s red color. Both compounds may have antidepressant properties, protect brain cells against progressive damage, improve inflammation, reduce appetite, and aid weight loss
3.Saffron is high in antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals. Free radical damage has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer
4.Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a term that describes physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms occurring before the start of a menstrual period.
5.May Reduce Appetite and Aid Weight Loss
6.May improve memory in adults with Alzheimer’s disease: Saffron’s antioxidant properties may improve cognition in adults with Alzheimer’s disease
7.May Act as an Aphrodisiac