Good news for Briyani lovers the world over it seems!!
Saffron curry spice 'stops people going blind', Australian study claims
Saffron, the herb used in many curries and Mediterranean dishes, could help stop people going blind in old age, claim Australian scientists.
In a trials, volunteers given pills containing the spice, which gives curry its yellow colour, for three months showed "significant improvements" in their vision, the study found.
The experts in Australia and Italy claim the aromatic herb "may hold the key to preventing the loss of sight in the elderly"
It also acts as "Nature sunglasses" by protecting the eyes from damage caused by bright sunlight, they found.
"Patients' vision improved after taking the saffron pill," said Prof Silvia Bisti, of the University of Sydney, who lead the research.
"When they were tested with traditional eye charts, a number of them could read one or two lines smaller than before, while others reported they could read newspapers and books again."
Tests carried out in Italy involved giving one group of people a saffron pill for three months followed by a placebo for another three months.
A second group took the pills in the reverse order.
"All patients experienced improvements in their vision while taking the saffron pill," Prof Bisti said.
"But when they stopped taking it, the effect quickly disappeared."
She first studied the effects of saffron at L'Aquila, in Italy's mountainous Abruzzi region, where it is a widely-grown local crop.
As well as being a prized ingredient for cooking risotto, it is also used in traditional medicine for conditions including cancerous tumours and depression.
"The chemistry of saffron is quite complex. It is well-known as an antioxidant but no one has explored its effects on eyesight before," Prof Bisti said.
She believes saffron may affect genes which regulate the fatty acid content of the cell membrane, making the vision cells "tougher and more resilient".
The herb has properties which encourage oxygen flow and prevents cell death.
Earlier trials using animals have found that a saffron diet will protect the eye from the damaging effects of bright light.
Researchers are now conducting a twelvemonth trial to discover more about how saffron works and what the idea doses would be.
They will be investigating saffron's ability to treat genetic diseases of the eye, such as retinitis pigmentosa, which can cause lifelong blindness in young people.
Professor Jonathon Stone of The Vision Centre, an Australian research organisation, said: "The outcome of this experiment was remarkable – significant improvement in vision after several weeks of taking saffron in pill form, which reversed when the patients were taken off it.
"This is very encouraging for a non-invasive way to treat certain important eye diseases."http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7170223/Saffron-curry-spice-stops-people-going-blind-Australian-study-claims.html