The spice saffron crocus is obtained from the red stamens of the purple flowers of the plant Crocus sativus L. Since ancient times, saffron crocus has been used as a spice and a dye. It is considered to have emmenagogic, tonic and appetite stimulant effects. It is not much known that saffron crocus is also produced in Messinia. At the village of Elaiohori, also known as Yiannista, which is located east of central Taygetos and at a close proximity to Kalamata, there is the monastery of Dimiova. The name of the monastery is of Slavic origin and means ‘a place where saffron crocus blooms’ (krokotopi). There they used to produce the yellow dye ‘zafora’. Saffron crocus can still be found in spring in the forest surrounding the monastery.
Saffron crocus is a rich source of vitamin B2. It has been shown that the systematic use of saffron crocus can have a relaxant and antidepressant effect. It also helps digestion, lowers blood cholesterol levels, supports heart function and regulates women’s menstrual cycle.