Research Reports and Articles
The Healing Powers of Saffron Tea
by Robert O. Clapp, M.A.
If one were to use as a guide the number of times an item is mentioned in the Edgar Cayce readings, it would be safe to say that every avid devotee of the readings should drink Saffron Tea! Of the 250 times the herb Saffron is called for, approximately 200 refer to its use as a tea – more than any other tea mentioned in the readings – ranking fifth among the herbs named. Teas which appear often in the readings are Watermelon Seed, Mullein, Camomile and Ragweed in that order, but Saffron leads the list by a wide margin.
Knowing why Saffron was recommended, for what ailments and for what purposes, leads us to conclude that it can be useful to many of us. Were one interested in specific health advice, the place to look would be complete readings on a particular malady (psoriasis or diabetes, for instance) or collections of readings (Circulating Files) rather than extracts taken out of context. For our purposes here, though, we will consider broadly the part Saffron plays as a healing agent not necessarily the complete regime to be followed in curing specific ailments. That is to say, these extracts should stimulate a concerned person to look further.
One other remarkable aspects of the readings is the way the Cayce source prescribes an herb or an herbal remedy and then goes on to explain in detail what the item does to bring about healing.
The activity of this [Saffron Tea] upon the gastric flow of the stomach and duodenum and through the alimentary canal will read to allay, and to work wine the activities that supply the mucous membrane flow along the canal itself, thus aiding the body. [Psoriasis] (3112-1)
Also during the period when the colonic irrigations and the osteopathic treatments are being given, we would take a great deal of the Saffron Tea (made from American Saffron), that it may aid in creating better activity through the peristaltic movement of the eliminating system. [Poor Eliminations] (1930-1)
And about twice a day (this between the meals) have half an ounce of Yellow Saffron Tea; not too strong. This as we find will prevent the accumulations of gas and the inflammation to be absorbed by the activities of these properties through the system. [Intestines: Gas] (428-11)
The Saffron Tea is very well as an intestinal antiseptic … [Measles] (487-26)
The extracts quoted above enlarge on why Saffron was recommended – “creating better activity through the peristaltic movement of the eliminating system,” “prevent the accumulations of gas and the inflammation to be absorbed,” “an intestinal antiseptic” – rather than just because the tea was recommended in connection with a particular ailment.
The major topics under which Saffron Tea is indexed are psoriasis (14 references), lacerations (19), eliminations (13), assimilations and eliminations: incoordination (14), toxemia (14) and ulcers (21). From this list we can see that Saffron works on the stomach and intestines and is an aid to those skin ailments the cause of which is a malfunction in the alimentary canal.
What is this marvelous herb and how readily available is it? The readings were not specific, but apparently the herb referred to was Carthamus tinctorius, which is also known as Saffron, Bastard Saffron, Safflower and American Saffron. The other Saffron, the true Saffron was Saffron, is Crocus sativus. It is grown in western Asia, Spain, France and Austria. When compacted it is also called hay saffron.
Of Carthamus tinctorius Myers tells us it “is cultivated in England and America and the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The orange-red florets are the official parts.”1 Culbreath indicates that Carthamus tinctorius is cultivated in India and America.2 Kloss, likewise, refers to Carthamus tinctorius as American Saffron, false saffron, Bastard Saffron, and Safflower, but does not state where it grows, and does not mention Crocus sativus at all.3 Harris calls Carthamus tinctorius American or Dyer’s Saffron and says that it is often substituted for the expensive saffron (by which we assume he means Crocus sativus), which he calls true or Spanish Saffron.4 Another distinction made by Culpepper is Meadow Saffron or Colchicum autumnale, but in describing Saffron (Crocus sativus) he says, “it grows in various parts of the world but it is no better than that which grows in England.”5
Probably the definitive treatise on herbs is A Modern Herbal, Vols. I and II by Mrs. M. Grieve.6 In describing safflower, Carthamus tinctorius, she says, “This plant is not in any way related to Saffron, though the flowers are used similarly. (It largely replaces the use of Saffron owing to the large price of the latter.) … Another common use of Safflower is in adulterating Saffron.” Like Saffron, Mrs. Grieve says, Carthmus tinctorius is used in children’s and infants’ complaints, fevers and skin disorders. The best Saffron comes from Spain. Approximately 4,320 flowers are required for an ounce and medicinally it is carminative (aids in expelling gas), diapretic (promotes perspiration), and emmenagogue (stimulates menstruation).
It may be that the two herbs, Carthamus tinctorius and Crocus sativus are interchangeable, but on the basis of what we can glean from the readings Carthamus tinctorius appears to be what is recommended.
Regarding whether Spanish, Mexican or American Saffron is the best, the Cayce source responded: “The American Saffron will be found to be most helpful. This is really preferable to the Spanish Saffron which is much more expensive.” (428 -12)
An ounce box of Saffron (Carthamus tinctorius) used regularly should last a couple of months and is as inexpensive as drinking coffee. As for manner of preparation this extract is typical.
Hence, we would begin taking internally once each day, preferably just before retiring, a cup of Saffron Tea. Put a pinch of the American Saffron in a cup of boiling water, or put it in the cup and pour boiling water over it and allow to stand for thirty minutes (covered during that period, of course). Then strain, cool, and drink. Use a good pinch of Saffron, you see, between the thumb and the forefinger, to the cup of boiling water. Make this fresh each time. (3112-1)
Probably the strongest endorsement for saffron is to be found in the psoriasis readings. It is often used in conjunction with elm water. In his first reading, Mr.  asked about this ailment:
Q-4. Please give me the cause and cure of the so-called psoriasis with which I am troubled.
A-4. The cause is the thinning of the walls of the intestinal system, which allows the escaping of poisons – or the absorption of same by the mucous membranes which surround same, and becomes effective in the irritation through the lymph and circulatory reactions in the body.
An effective cure for same is first being mindful of the diet, during the periods when these necessary elements would be given for creating those activities within the system to close such conditions:
In the system we would use elm water and saffron water. These would be taken in the ordinary drinking water, during periods of one, two to three weeks at a time. All the drinking water carrying, then, either a small quantity of elm or the Saffron.
For this adds to the assimilating system those properties that become effective to the aiding of building within the system itself those conditions that will overcome such activities in the system. (289-1)
Repeating the reference to the thinned conditions of the intestinal system, reading 641-7 (for psoriasis) adds a third remedy often found with saffron and elm – camomile tea.
We would keep to the taking, more often, the Saffron Tea as indicated; and we would change or alternate this at times with Camomile Tea. For these tend to form, in the regular activities of the body, the best in the gastric flows for the intestinal disorder. (641-7)
Both the Saffron and the Camomile assist the gastric flow and aid digestion, as stated in other readings.
Miss  was 10 years old when she received her first reading; she was afflicted with abrasions and poor blood coagulation. In the next two years she had two more readings. Although psoriasis wasn’t mentioned in the course of the readings, the symptoms were:
These conditions, as we find, exist:
There has for so long a time remained that condition wherein the mucous membranes of the digestive system, and of the intestinal tract even proper – or the walls, are thinned by this impoverishment. Hence a tendency for the lymph and the mucous membranes to pick up, through these small orifices – and through the improper eliminations of the poisons, and create in the lymph and emunctory circulation those as of the rash, or abrasions, as occur on portions of the system; the body attempting to eliminate poisons, yet when the body is impoverished, so that these would not occur, the whole general system suffers under same, and – as the condition is seen – the system has just been a little too much overloaded, so that the digestive and assimilating juices, or assimilating system, are not able to take care of the conditions in a way and manner. (2884-3)
A portion of the treatment included the following:
We would also prepare to be taken of mornings, that of Yellow Saffron Tea. This should he steeped, not too strong, but about a teaspoonful to the pint of water and allowed to brew or steep as tea – see? This may be kept or set aside, strained and set aside in a cool place, and should last for 2 to 3 days, taking a tablespoonful of same in a glass, or half a glass, of water – of mornings, see? after the cereal or fruit has been taken.
We also will find that occasionally Camomile Tea, made in the same way and manner – this used instead of the Saffron, will enable the system – with these being kept in the line as has been outlined to create more of a mucous membrane in the stomach and intestinal system, see? and keep up those rubs as given for the limbs, and we will find changes coining about, betterments for the body. (2884-3)
In 745-1 there is again the reference to the healing of the skin being brought about by dealing with the source of the distress, the intestinal tract. This time the Yellow Saffron and the elm bark are taken in conjunction with olive oil, which is highly recommended as food for the intestines in many other readings.
There are other factors, such as diet, spinal manipulation, and the improvement of the eliminating system, that assist in controlling and overcoming psoriasis. The Circulating File, with its excellent commentary by an M.D., should be consulted for the complete treatment.
After mentioning diet in 840-1, Cayce again affirms the efficacy of Saffron and elm bark, adds lithia in this case, and summarizes the reaction of all three:
To the normal water that may be had in the surroundings, we would add to each gallon (to be kept for drinking water, you see) a five-grain lithia tablet. Dissolve this and it would make about the proper proportion, and it would be added and dissolved in same preferably after the ordinary water had been boiled – or had come to a boil and strained or filtered off before used. Then when this is to be taken, once or twice a day we would have just a pinch of the elm bark (between the thumb and forefinger) in a glass of water the ground elm bark. If it is more preferable, it may be used with a small piece of ice in same; this would be all the better, but stir same and let it stand for a minute or two before it is taken. We would also, from the same type of water, have the Yellow Saffron – the American Saffron is correct, or may be used if so desired. This would be the proportions of about a heaping teaspoonful to a gallon of water. This preferably we would make in an enamel container or in a glass container, preferable to the aluminum. This would be allowed to steep as would tea. Then it may be drawn off and kept as a portion of the drinking water to be taken at the regular intervals when the body desires water. Not that there would never he any of the regular routine or drinking of water outside, but let the most – and as much as possible all – that is taken either carry one or the other of those properties as indicated. This would be the first precaution, for – while it is, of course, slow acting-it will make for a cleansing of the kidneys, a better activity through the alimentary canal, clear those tendencies for the poisons to accumulate through the lymph and emunctory circulation and overcome these tendencies for toxic forces to arise in the body that affects the body throughout. (840-1)
Lacerations are another problem for which Saffron Tea was part of the healing regimen. Mr. ’s condition was diagnosed by his doctor as an ulcer of the duodenal area and on the underside of the stomach. Asked if the diagnosis were correct, the Cayce source replied:
No. These, as we find, have been lacerations and the better the condition will be if there is the following of those suggestions that have been made, making more milk in the diet where it is practical. Keep away from fats and oils, and it will be better. Do use occasionally the Charcoal Tablets prepared by Kellogg’s. These are the better absorbents and will protect the area. Use the Saffron Tea also….. once a day, preferably in the evening when ready to retire. This will be well for the condition. (270-49)
As is the case with psoriasis, the treatment for stomach lacerations often calls for both elm in water, Saffron Tea and the intake of olive oil. The series of readings for  calls for this combination repeatedly, with several glasses of Saffron Tea every few days. For  the prescription was Saffron Tea two to three times a day – a good big swallow or a jigger of the solution each time. The strength of the tea was one teaspoonful to a pint of water. Also called for is olive oil two to three times a day in doses of one quarter of a teaspoonful. Another variation given for , likewise suffering from stomach lacerations, was two to four glasses of Saffron Tea per day for five to six days at a time, then leave off three to four days and begin again, the pattern to be repeated for four to five weeks. For his lacerated stomach Mr.  was told to avoid highly seasoned food and alcohol (with the exception of red wine and brown bread in the afternoon). He was to:
Take mornings and evenings small quantities – half to a teaspoonful – of Pure Olive Oil.
In the mid-morning and before the afternoon drink (of the red wine), take a teaspoonful of Yellow Saffron Tea. Use the American Saffron and brew it just as tea. These properties act upon the gastric flow of the digestive forces, not only with the salivary glands (in the mouth) but the upper portion or cardiac portion of the stomach itself. This mixing with the gastric flow (that is started by the activity of the Olive Oil – not at the same period, but taken as has been indicated) will reduce the acidity, will prevent or allay the plethora or swelling as produced in the pylorus and through the duodenum; and thus aid the body in better assimilations. [1481-1]
Miss ’s letter wired “Please give reading … having trouble with stomach and digestive tract …” The reading stated:
As we find, there are some acute conditions arising from a cold and congestion in the liver and in the digestive system itself; with acute conditions through the lower portion of duodenum and the gall duct area; with pains – by lack of digestion – through the alimentary canal.
First, we would apply the Castor Oil Packs. Before these are begun, however – about three hours before – take a good dose of Yellow Saffron Tea, about two and one-half ounces. Put about two pinches of the Yellow Saffron in a crock and pour the boiling water over same, allowing it to stand for about ten minutes. Strain and drink. This may be cooled, of course, to make it more palatable.
Then in about three hours after taking the Saffron Tea, apply the Castor Oil Pack for about an hour. The next day apply again, and then the next.
Then take at least half a teacup of Olive Oil. (852-18)
In this case the Saffron was paired with both the olive oil and the Castor Oil Packs.
In a case of over stimulating of kidneys and congestion in the intestinal tract, sage was given along with Saffron.
To meet the needs of these would be to set up proper eliminations. Well that the body rest for two to three days, and well hat sweats be taken to start capillary elimination. Taking internally sage and Saffron Ten, hot – hot as can be taken – and sweat this through the body, see? These may be made in the ordinary way and manner as any tea – Saffron and sage – and may be taken separate or together, but at least half a pint of each would be taken each day, and a sweat taken, see? These will set up elimination, and these will start proper eliminations through the alimentary canal. (2597-1)
Later Mr.  reported, … “your tea fixed him  up and the (diagnosis was as perfect as could be.”
Mrs. 132871 acquired a strep infection after the birth of her child. The infection localized in the kneecap, which left it stiff. She had two operations but in neither case did the knee become moveable. The last doctor she consulted advised her to leave the knee alone, adding that it was better as is than it might be.
Cayce confirmed the strep infection in the blood supply. Saffron and Mullein tea were prescribed, along with other corrective measures.
Then begin taking (not before) the Saffron Tea, a cupful each day – or at least two ounces. Put a pinch of the American Saffron in a teacup and pour boiling water over it – allow to stand for twenty to thirty minutes – strain and drink. A pinch between the thumb) and forefinger, in the cup of boiling water. Drink two ounces of this, once each day.
Also at the same time begin taking Mullein Tea, prepared in the same manner – one dram to a cup of boiling water, allowed to steep – drinking only an ounce of this, once each day. (3287-1)
In answers to subsequent questions Mrs. 132871 was advised twice that her problem lay in:
Poisons in the system as has been indicated that must be eliminated by increasing the elminations. (3287-2)
The Saffron Tea was a contributing factor in eliminating these poisons.
Afflicted with epilepsy, 11 year-old  was told that there was a need for eliminations to be kept above normal.
These we would keep active with a mild form of stimuli to the respiratory system, especially from the digestive and lymph area, as a mild form of camomile tea, or saffron tea, that is palliative to the digestive system, and that will make for the proper eliminations, preventing the accumulations of drosses that would affect the system in any way by not being eliminated; keeping the intestinal tract rather active, keeping the body quiet, and the diet rather that of the liquid diet. Plenty of the juices of fruits; little or no nuts. Soups or mild broths, with little vegetable – no meats. (4798-1)
Assimilations and Eliminations: Incoordination
Advised about stomach pains and rectal bleeding, Mr.  in one reading asked:
Q. How, long should Saffron Tea be taken, and what does it do for body?
The reply was:
A. This should be kept up not in a haphazard manner until there is a better condition physically created throughout the alimentary canal. Take it for two, three, four, five days, a week, ten days – leave it off a few days, and then have it prepared again and take again. This is the best manner.
It stimulates better strength through the activities of the lymph and emunctory circulation in the alimentary canal.
Q. How long take elm bark, and what does it do for body?
A. As indicated, this would be taken when it desires water or if it sours in the stomach – or because of foods, or those conditions that arise from a condition in the system – leave off.
This again is to supply that coating along the walls of the intestines themselves, as to prevent the strains from which blood has appeared. (257-215)
Mr.  anticipated a popular question when he asked:
Q. How may he prevent food causing gas?
A. These as just indicated. The specific activity as we find of the Saffron as it will work with the gastric activity, especially of the duodenum from which source most of the gas emanates.
Then don’t eat too fast, and be careful that there are not the combinations where excess quantities of acid-producing or starchy foods are taken. (556-16)
In concluding we might observe that tea drinking need not be just a social habit. The right tea – or right combination may be the means to inducing healing. Because the readings were rather specific in telling us what Saffron Tea does for the body, it should be given consideration as a means of bringing balance to the stomach and intestines when they are not functioning properly. No rare herb, Saffron is within the means of almost everyone and easily available. Our slogan might well be, “Take herb tea and see the result!”
1. Joseph E. Myers, The Herbalist. Hackensack, N.J.: Wehman Bros., 1970. (6th printing)
2. David M. R. Culbreath, A Manual of Material Medica and Pharmacology. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger, 1927.
3. Jethro Kloss, Back to Eden. New York: Lancer Books, 1971.
4. Ben Charles Harris, The Complete Herbal. Barre, Maine: Barre Publisher, 1972.
5. Cullpepper’s Complete Herbal. London: W. Foulsham and Co., Ltd.
6. Mrs. M. Grieve, A Modern Herbal, Vols. I & II. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1971
Note: The preceding report was written by Robert O. Clapp, M.A., and is excerpted from The A.R.E. Journal, November, 1975, Volume 10, No. 6, page 210, Copyright © 1975 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.
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