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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Saffron, the dainty strands of beauty

Debasmita Ghosh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 03, 2013
First Published: 17:59 IST(3/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:57 IST(4/2/2013)

Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, took warm baths with a quarter-cup of saffron every day. That she was and is still regarded as the epitome of ethereal beauty is not unknown. We explore the strands of the wonder flower to reveal interesting beauty secrets.

Saffron secrets
The use of saffron, one of the costliest spices in the world derived from dried stigmas of the saffron crocus flower,  spans more than 3,500 years. “Although saffron has found its way into more and more dishes of late, its original usage was more as a medicine and Saffronbeauty aid,” says nutritionist Neelanjana Singh of Heinz Nutri Life Clinic. “It’s a natural beautifying agent that not only helps when used topically with scrubs or face packs but also when consumed with milk. It’s also known to increase appetite by stimulating sluggish metabolism,” adds Singh.

Beauty wonders
Saffron has multiple benefits, when it comes to solving beauty woes. “It’s a powerful home remedy for improving skin tone, bringing radiance to dull to skin, youthfulness and nourishment to prematurely ageing skin and removing blemishes and dark circles,” says beauty expert Meenakshi Dutt. “Saffron’s anti-bacterial properties stimulate blood circulation thus giving freshness to the skin. It is ideal for curing acne, and its exfoliating qualities make it a wonderful aid in brightening up the complexion. Saffron also helps repair dry skin and enhances skin texture,” adds Dutt.

DIY Saffron Face Pack
Saffron and sandal
Saffron, in combination with white sandal powder, can help remove blemishes in a very short while. Just make a fresh sandalwood paste with a few strands of saffron and few drops of milk, or mix two to three strands of saffron and sandalwood powder with two teaspoons of milk. Wash your face with cold water and blot with a tissue. Now, apply this pack in soft circular motions. Allow it to dry for about 20 minutes, and then wash off. Use this saffron sandal pack at least once in a week to get rid of tans, sun spots and blemishes.
By Asian Roots Spa

Saffron and lemon
If you have a dull and dry skin then this mask may help you gain back lost lustre. While lemon cleans the skin from deep within, the saffron helps gain luminosity. Mix a few drops of lemon juice with a spoonful of saffron powder. If your skin is very dry, you can add a few drops of milk. Make a smooth dough, and spread out evenly on the face. Leave for 20 minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water.
By Aspara Spa

Sipping on saffron
The medicinal properties of saffron will surprise you for its sheer effects. “While in ancient ayurveda saffron was used as an antidote for many ailments including cough, asthma and arthritis, Chinese medicine also uses saffron for improving liver and heart health. It is also used for easing menstrual pain, headaches, hangover and stress. Apart from the regular kesar doodh (saffron in milk), the Kashmiri kahwa is a simple yet wonderful drink that can beautify you from inside by dealing with your ailments from within,” says nutritionist Neelanjana Singh.

Ingredients
4tsp Kashmiri green tea, 4 saffron strands, 2 green cardamom (crushed coarsely), 8 almonds (blanched and chopped), 1 cinnamon stick, 2 sticks of cloves, 2tbsp sugar
Method
Boil 3 cups of water along with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and pour over the tea. Leave to boil and infuse over a very low flame. Dissolve saffron in a little water by rubbing it gently. Strain the tea and add the saffron liquid together with almonds. Serve steaming hot.
Recipe by Tarami


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