Spurious saffron is ‘manufactured’ on Chinese machines

China is not only ruining India’s electronic market but is also damaging the highly lucrative saffron market in the country. The Chinese are pushing specific machines and tools in India through which manufacturers with dubious credentials produce artificial saffron by cutting red paper in the shape of original saffron. And it doesn’t end here. Harmful lead-based chemicals are added to give glitter to the ‘paper saffron’, which helps deceive the naked eyes of gullible consumers who then consume these dangerously harmful saffron.

“This spurious paper saffron is much cheaper than the original saffron. Wholesalers and distributors make fat profits through their sale. But it’s the end consumer who ends up ingesting harmful lead contents through this paper saffron,” said Sachin Vashishth, director King Kesariya. Sachin Vashishth is one of the largest dealers of original saffron from North India.

Saffron is a popular spice in India and is especially consumed by growing children and pregnant women due its powerful immune boosting properties. The ‘king of spices’ saffron is also known as ‘Zafran’. It consists of more than one hundred fifty medicinal ingredients which are beneficial for our body and well-being. “Saffron is a bitter spice and its smell and taste last for a longer duration, despite not being as alluring as rose or jasmine,” explained Sachin Vashishth.

Research on saffron has proved that saffron contains homoslate, a compound that beautifies the skin by removing dead skin cells. A cup of tea with two to three saffron leaves helps prevent diseases like flu. Saffron helps build immunity and resist COVID-19 by boosting the immune system. Aromatherapy in combination with other uses of saffron can help in coping with obsessive compulsive disorder.

Saffron farming in the Kashmir Valley. (Representative photo)

Ayurvedic doctors prescribe saffron to control blood sugar. There are studies which say that saffron benefits students by controlling their stress levels in obsessive-compulsions. Saffron acts as a stress-buster and aids in better meditation as well.

Saffron has its own chemical benefits due to the presence of zinc, manganese and magnesium which are beneficial to human body.

It is for these benefits that saffron is in high demand across India and this is what the Chinese have taken advantage by helping in the production of spurious ‘paper saffron’. The highly dangerous paper saffron appears quite lucrative due to its shiny red colour and the end user is duped into buying this paper saffron due to huge price discounts.

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