Is saffron a herb or spice?, one or both

Saffron or more precisely, the product of Crocus Sativus can be categorized in both medicinal herb or spice families. saffron can be a perfect herb or spice and there’s no limitation in this case.

In the rest of this post, we will explain the different dimensions of saffron classification for you. in the below picture you can see the position of saffron in the taxonomy of the creatures of the world.

herb or spice

Saffron as a spice

Saffron can act as a perfect spice, this claim comes from saffron properties as a food supplement. some of the saffron properties as spices are;

  • Very beautiful color
  • Pleasant perfume
  • Unique taste
  • High compatibility with a variety of foods
  • Long history in popular culture

Wikipedia; A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring or coloring food.

Each of these saffron features is really specific and top in the spice world. saffron has high coloring power and is used in many foods, desserts, and drinks such as saffron rice, saffron ice cream, saffron tea, and saffron milk.

Also, saffron has good compatibility with foods and can use in very different food cultures. travel to any country you like and you will find saffron in food services, from Japan to America, this is our famous worldwide spice.

herb or spice

Saffron as a medicinal plant

Saffron can be act as a perfect medicinal herb. all of us know that saffron has lots of benefits for our health and these features are a result of saffron ingredients.

And more in this blog post; saffron benefits

Saffron has good potentials for use in the pharmaceutical industry and this isn’t by accident. saffron can treat or prevent many human diseases. Saffron may not be as fast as chemical drugs in this mission, but it has some features that force us to think of it as a way to treat.

Saffron is a herbal drug and doesn’t have serious and dangerous side effects in the usual dosage. for example in depression disease, chemical drug is necessary and we must use them based on our physician’s opinion, but this isn’t the whole story. these drugs have some side effects such as sexual disorders induced by some drugs such as Fluoxetine.

researches show that saffron can help us in 3 fields in this disease;

  1. Prevention
  2. Increase the speed of treatment
  3. Improve disease complications

So, it seems that saffron can help us to win over depression.

also, you can read these sources for more information; saffron for depression  and researches

The law and the view of governments

This subject can vary in each of countries and depend on some things. Chinese government include saffron in the medicinal herbs category and get high customs tariff from saffron importers. On the other hand, some countries such as Turkey, want to support from domestic production of saffron in Turkey and get high customs tariffs too. (About 40%)

These rules are part of politics and haven’t any relation to that saffron is herb or spice. if you want to know these rules in your country, go to your city customs office.


herb or spice

How do people look at saffron?

Based on our field research in some countries, saffron is known as a medicinal herb in the mind of people and they usually buy saffron for its medical benefits. we have lots of saffron processed products that are developed for the profit of saffron benefits.

For the start of my research, I went to a drugstore and look at a medicinal herb shelf. there was a drug for weight loss and one of its compositions was saffron. we know saffron is useful for weight loss and a company use this and make new products. in my opinion, this is a start for the herbal drugs age.


Based on our research and observation, saffron can be a medicinal plant and a spice at the same time and this ultimately goes back to your goal of consuming saffron.

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