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Everyone's first question is why is this herb so expensive. The reason for the high cost is due to the labor intensive process in getting the ribbons extracted by hand from the Crocus sativus flower, approximately 75,000 flowers are needed to process one ounce, also known as the Saffron crocus. Prices in the US can run anywhere from $900 to $5000 USD per lb depending in it's grade. It was widely used in Greece where they determined it had a number of medicinal benefits and has been used in a variety of treatments worldwide for almost a thousand years. Many Greeks were convinced it was effective in improving libido, boosting mood, improving sleep, and lessening the effects of depression.
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 (2 NIH 3 NIH). Kaempferol is found in saffron flower petals. This compound has been linked to health benefits, such as reduced inflammation, anticancer properties, and antidepressant activity. Finally there has been positive results from several studies showing that Saffron is effective in treating erectyle dysfunction and improving sex drive as well as the quality of sexual activity.