Ancient Persia is considered to be the home of saffron (Crocus sativus Linnaeus). Its appearance on the Persian plateaux and in the high valleys of the Kashmir dates back more than 5000 years. Authors in ancient times, such as Solomon and Homer, mention flower of saffron, which was considered to be “divine” in their writing. The earliest evidence dates back to 1600-1700 BC and was found on the fresco in the palace of Minos in Crete. It shows people picking saffron (source: Algrech, 2001). In the 19th century, the Arabs introduced saffron to North Africa and then to Spain. Saffron is still grown in Morocco, in the Taliouine region and in the High Atlas Mountains. The acclimatisation of saffron in France dates back to the 12th century and is essentially linked to the return from the Crusades and trade with the East.
World saffron production, which is an average of 200 tons a year, is mainly concentrated in Iran (over 90%) and particularly the province of Khorasan (approx. 70% of world production).
This legendary plant has travelled down through different tastes and centuries. As a result of its organoleptic and therapeutic properties, saffron has played a major role in cooking and in Eastern and Mediterranean medicine since ancient times. Over the years, saffron has become the most sought-after spice in the world.
The presence of saffron in the Egyptian, Roman and Persian pharmacopeia shows how important it is in the history of medicine. Numerous clinical studies and recent research programmes throughout the world confirm that saffron is a source of well-being, mental and physical balance and harmony. Since ancient times, man has seen saffron as having many qualities and seen it as a health-giving flower.