Bill Harvey: Appetite for construction
Author: Bill Harvey
Now, I don’t wish to go all hippy on you, but I have been thinking about the long history of many foodstuffs with medical benefits that are only now being adopted in western medical trials with impressive effects. Turmeric as an anti-carcinogen, ginger as an anti-emetic and so on. But, as a fully paid-up Brummie curryholic, I couldn’t help but notice the increasing number of reports in high status referred journals concerning the benefits of saffron for eye health.
The brightly coloured powder, farmed from the crimson stigma and styles of a crocus, was first used in Persia millennia ago and felt to have healing qualities. Recently, studies have found saffron supplementation to improved retinal flicker sensitivity in humans with early age-related macular degeneration, others show evidence of its sustained benefits to central retinal function.
Last month, a major paper reported trials on mice in whom the IOP had been artificially raised. After treatment with an oral saffron preparation, the number of living retinal ganglion cells was significantly higher in comparison to the non-treated group, and they maintained healthy eye levels by the end of the intervention. Saffron contains carotenoids, specifically crocins and crocetins, which boast a full spectrum of anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and neuroprotective properties. As human trials are being mooted, perhaps its time to revisit the Balti houses of Ladypool Road.
On a more flippant note; quote of the week came from the satirical publication The Onion. Launching a new broadcast, they announced, ‘Whether you now choose to have your eyeballs surgically detached, dash your eyeballs out upon a stone, or shove your eyeballs down into the sockets of your skull using the firmly applied pressure of both thumbs is up to you, sources said. Leading media experts agree our subservience to the written word has ended, and all future generations will passively absorb information from The Onion’s podcast each day.’