Saffron, saffron history

History of saffron in Iran

Human history begins with spices!


You may have been surprised or even laughed at reading the previous sentence! But I have to tell you, it really was. Spices have played a very important role in the formation of various civilizations. Because, like today, spices were not just greedy for food, in fact, they may not have been. In ancient times, spices had a medicinal role, and due to climatic conditions, each had its origin in its homeland. Spices have historically been used in ways such as the Silk Road, plundered, and caused the death or resurrection of living things.Civilized man has lived through agriculture, trade, and animal husbandry.
Now do you understand why I said:

human history begins with spices.


In the formation of history and cultures, spices have been with humans and their antiquity can be considered the same as the antiquity of human civilizations. Saffron, this valuable spice, has been associated with humans in making different histories and cultures since about 3000 years ago. Follow us to tell you about the history of saffron production in Iran and the world.

Iran, the origin of saffron in the world

The origin of all kinds of spices in the world ‌ Middle East and East Asia. Several thousand years ago, the Silk Road was one of the main spice trade routes in ancient history, and after the discovery of the sea route, spices from the Middle East and East Asia also entered Europe and the United States.

Iran, India and China were the main centers of spice production in the ancient world. One of the most popular spices in Iran, which has been traded for thousands of years, is called saffron. Consumption of saffron has been common in all parts of the world for a long time and the benefits of saffron have not been hidden from anyone.

In ancient Iran, saffron flowers were grown wild. The age of saffron in Iran can be traced back to the Achaemenid period. The ancient Iranians at that time used saffron to flavor their food. Even the biography of Darius the Achaemenid mentions saffron, which the Persian king used saffron with milk to perfume his body.


The first saffron exports in Iran can be attributed to the Parthian period. Probably the first saffron among the Parthians was taken to China, Greece and Rome. In the past, physicians used the properties of saffron for healing. Saffron dye was also used as an ink to write commands and dye fabrics.

In general, the date and history of saffron production in Iran can be considered about 3 thousand years. The first saffron cultivation in the Sassanid period and from the city of Qom has become popular.

Of course, some historical sources mention the 5,000-year-old saffron in Iran. Because in a botanical book belonging to the Assyrian era, saffron flowers are written. It is also found in one of the ancient paintings in northwestern Iran that they used saffron dye for coloring. It is even said that the Sumerians used saffron for medicine and treatment. It is not possible to name an exact date for the age of saffron in Iran. But certainly, Iran has been one of the primary origins of saffron in the world.

What did the Iranians do with saffron?

During the Achaemenid period, saffron production in Iran had a high statistic and it is interesting to know that this statistic was so high that in the royal court, saffron consumption was one kilogram per day !!!

In that historical period, the method of using saffron was very different from the present time, and we will mention some of them as examples:

  • Saffron has been used to perfume the courtyards of their palaces or celebrations. Therefore, if you are careful, in front of Darius in Persepolis, 2 eaters have been carved, which is for this purpose (to perfume the air with saffron).
  • Saffron cooking, meaning that it was considered a food coloring and flavoring and was consumed for this purpose.
  • Decorating and beautifying foods such as sweets, breads and cookies and….
  • This trend of saffron consumption continued until the Qajar era and they, like the Achaemenids, in addition to food uses, also had non-food uses.

But the oral consumption of Qajar people is saffron:

  • Saffron syrup, yellow flakes, Muscats, ice cream and all kinds of soups, halva and….

In addition, it is good to point out here that saffron has had significant medicinal uses in the past, and prominent thinkers such as Abu Ali Sina, Bukhara, Baghdadi and… use saffron to create oil, masks to enhance beauty and cosmetics.

Hamedan, the first saffron farm in Iran

The main origin of saffron in Iran is Hamedan and even one of the cities of Tuyserkan called Rudavar is considered to be the main source for saffron cultivation and in this city there were bazaars to offer saffron which later became villages. In other words, the philosophy of existence of these villages has been saffron, which in itself indicates the effect of saffron in this region.

Also, in the city of Bahar, there is a city called Robat Saffron, and the reason for this type of naming is the high cultivation of saffron in that city, although now this city has become a village.

Production of saffron in the present and its producing countries

Saffron flowers will need special conditions to grow and will not grow in every region. Saffron can be produced in areas with hot and dry climates.

This flower does not need much irrigation and grows in low water areas. For this reason, many countries are currently producing saffron. Iran, Afghanistan, Spain, India, Greece and Italy are the main centers of saffron production in the world.
About 90 to 93% of saffron production in the world is allocated to Iran and Iran has the largest volume of saffron production in the world. However, many people consider Spain to be the first saffron production center in the world.

Because most of the saffron produced in Iran is exported to Spain and this country packages and exports them under its own name and brand. For this reason, many countries when buying saffron from Spain think that they have bought saffron from this country.

Currently, Afghanistan, Greece, Morocco, Turkey and India are also producing and cultivating saffron in the world. China also produces saffron using the greenhouse method. For example, in the last eight years, Afghanistan has been able to become the highest quality saffron producer in the world.

However, Iran can still be considered the first producer of saffron in the world. Iran ranks first in the world in terms of saffron production, second in India and third in Afghanistan.

Contact us to buy high quality Iranian saffron. We offer you the best saffron available in the Iranian market. For more security, you can check our saffron test sheet.

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