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Macular degeneration and saffron

Growing up with a famous chef father, one herb he would always have at home is saffron. I never used to appreciate it until I started practicing my medicine, whereby previously I simply saw it as a few pieces of small strings that he used to pay a hefty price for regularly.

Saffron is a vibrant orange spice that is so commonly used in Indian cooking and is absolutely delicious but expensive. But, good things always come at a cost as saffron can help stave off vision problems and even cure existing ones.

Macular degeneration is the number one cause of blindness. The macula is located at the centre of the eye, and is responsible for the central part of our visual field. As the macula degenerates in people afflicted with this condition, often elderly people, but also in young and otherwise healthy individuals, the centre of the visual field becomes disrupted. This type of eye problem is seriously debilitating, and it affects more people than glaucoma and cataracts combined.

Researchers from multiple universities in Italy teamed up to explore the effects of saffron ingestion on people with eyesight problems due to macular degeneration.

Study participants were given just 20 milligrams of saffron per day over a 3 month period, and then evaluated at the end of the test period.

The researchers found that the retinas of participants with early age related macular degeneration improved in their functioning after just three months of daily saffron ingestion, and that this result was significantly better than that seen in the placebo group.

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