Benefits Of Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) For Health

Benefits Of Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) For Health

Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius)

Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) is known as other names: Alazor, American Saffron, Bastard Saffron, Azafran, Bastard Saffron, Benibana, Benibana Oil, Benibana Flower, Cártamo, Carthame, Carthame des Teinturiers, Carthamus tinctorius, Chardon PanachĂ©, Safflower, Dyer's Saffron, Fake Saffron, False Saffron, Hing Hua, Honghua, Huile de Cart...

Safflower is an annual oilseed crop that grows to a height of 30 to 150 cm. Safflower is cultivated in Iran, Northwest India, North Africa, Far East and North America. The plant blooms in mid summer and bears brilliant yellow, orange or red tubular flowers, along with long, spiny leaves. The seeds of safflower are rich in oleic acid and vitamin E and produce edible oil that is nutritionally known to be similar to olive oil.

Benefits Of Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) For Health
Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Picture 

Safflower was formerly valued more for the red and yellow dyes obtained from its flowers and not for the oil extracted from its seeds. Originally, for hundreds of years, the red dye material obtained from the safflower flowers was used as a reddish makeup for cheeks and also to tint silks. Safflower's use in textile dying dates back to ancient times and it has recently been discovered that the materials used to wrap the mummies in ancient times were also dyed with the safflower flower ingredients. It is also said that around the 1700s, the Portuguese added the yellow safflower flowers to their foods as a replacement for the saffron. Since the safflower does not possess the true essence of saffron, it has been often nicknamed as ‘false saffron' and ‘bastard saffron'.

The scientists' search for suitable vegetable oil to replace animal fats in human diets with a view to reduce the cholesterol levels in the system and hence minimize the hazards of heart diseases associated with animal fat, led them to examine the appropriateness of many vegetable oils. This was owing to the discovery by the scientists that the presence of polyunsaturated fats or plant oils in the diet helped in reducing the intensity of cholesterol in the system. During this research, scientists found that the oil extracted from safflower possessed maximum concentration of polyunsaturates and this has led to the intensive cultivation of the plant primarily for its oil content.

The remedial value of safflower is very restricted. While it is extremely effective in lowering the cholesterol levels in the system, the herb has also been found to be useful in treating fevers. In addition, extracts from the safflower are often used as a laxative and help in bowel movements.

Benefits Of Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) For Health

Chinese herbal medicine practitioners recommend the safflower flowers to encourage menstruation and also treat abdominal pains. In addition, the safflower flowers are also said to be effective in cleaning and healing open wounds and bruises. They are also used as a remedy for measles. On the other hand, Anglo-American herbalists use the flowers to treat fevers and different types of skin disorders, including rashes. At the same time, the raw oil extracted from the safflower seeds is said to function as an excellent purgative.

Safflower seed oil is used for preventing heart disease, including “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis) and stroke. It is also used to treat fever, tumors, coughs, breathing problems, clotting conditions, pain, heart disease, chest pain, and traumatic injuries. Some people use it for inducing sweating; and as a laxative, stimulant, antiperspirant, and expectorant to help loosen phlegm. Safflower oil is also considered to be a good remedy for acne prone skin, reducing dryness of the skin and nourishing skin with moisture.

Women sometimes use safflower oil for absent or painful menstrual periods; they use safflower flower to cause an abortion.

Benefits Of Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) For Health
Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Picture

Consumption of safflower helps in boosting immune system, thereby giving strength to fight against diseases and infection. Safflower paste is applied on the skin to provide relief from mild skin inflammations, rashes, and so on.

A teaspoon of safflower kernels, when mixed with six shelled almonds and honey is used for treating constipation. The same dose has also been beneficial for young, weak and pregnant women.

Safflower is a very effective aphrodisiac and hence, helps in the treatment of sexual debility. For this, powdered safflower seeds should be mixed with pistachio nuts, honey and almonds. This mixture when taken with milk, every day before going to bed, improves sexual vigor and thickens semen.

Infusion of the flowers when combined with honey and consumed helps in treating asthma. A mixture of ½ teaspoon of powdered safflower seeds and one tablespoon of honey helps in treating bronchial asthma. The mixture should be consumed once or twice a day.

Chemical analysis of the linoleic safflower oil has shown that it encloses nearly 75 per cent of linoleic acid. The concentration of linoleic acid in safflower oil is much higher than that compared to corn, soybean, and cottonseed, peanut or even olive oils. This variety of safflower is mainly used for producing edible oil products like salad oils and soft margarines. Significantly, researchers still argue over the issue that oils having high concentration of polyunsaturated acids such as linoleic acid aid in reducing high blood cholesterol and averting associated heart and circulatory disorders. All said and done, the oil extracted from the safflower seeds are still thought to be high value edible oil and, ironically enough, the public concern regarding this topic has made the safflower a vital vegetation for plant oil and the oil itself all the more acceptable.

Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) side effects and cautions

Safflower seed oil is possibly safe to take by mouth during pregnancy. But don’t take safflower flower during pregnancy. It is likely unsafe. It can bring on menstrual periods, make the uterus contract, and cause miscarriages.

Bleeding problems (hemorrhagic diseases, stomach or intestinal ulcers, or clotting disorders): Safflower can slow blood clotting. If you have any kind of bleeding problem, don’t use safflower.

Safflower oil might increase blood sugar. There is concern that safflower oil might interfere with blood sugar control in people with diabetes.