Saffron is a very expensive spice, used to flavor and colour food. The spice is actually the dried stigma (tiny threadlike strands) of the Crocus Sativus Linneaus, a member of the iris family. Each stigma is very small, and tens of thousands of individual strands go into a single ounce of the spice; since the stigmas are hand-plucked from the individual flowers, saffron's high cost becomes more understandable. It is thought that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron originated in the Middle East, but is now also associated with Greek, Indian and Spanish cuisines. However it is enough to add a very little saffron to get the colour, one can only one thread at a time.
Commonly used in:
Used to flavour rice, milk, kheer etc.
Among other things, Saffron is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is used in remedies for everything from arthritis to asthma. Saffron is reputed to be a drug which strengthens the functioning of stomach and promotes its action. It is a great stimulant too.