Latin name: Flos carthami tinctorii
Chinese name: hong hua
Other names: carthamus, red flower
What is Safflower?
Safflower is a plant that typically has brilliant yellow, orange, or red flowers that bloom in July. Safflower has strong roots that enable it to thrive in dry climates, though the plant is very susceptible to frost injury. Traditionally, the crop was grown for its flowers, used for coloring and flavoring foods, as well as in medicines. For the last fifty years or so, the plant has been cultivated mainly for the vegetable oil extracted from its seeds. Safflower flowers are occasionally used in cooking as a cheaper substitute for saffron, and as such are sometimes referred to as “poor man’s saffron.”
What are the health benefits of Safflower?
Safflower improves blood circulation and is therefore used in combination with other herbs to increase cardiovascular health and prevent atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Safflower is used orally to treat fever, tumors, coughs, bronchial conditions, painful menstruation, lack of menstruation, chest pain, traumatic injuries, sweating, and is alo used to evacuate the bowels. It is a stimulant that reduces perspiration and promotes the discharge of phlegm from the respiratory tract.
Are there any precautions for taking Safflower?
Pregnant women should not take safflower flowers and dosages for all should remain small—less than 9 grams per day.
Where can I find Safflower?
Safflower can be found in some grocery stores, health food or vitamin stores, online and at the offices of Chinese medical practitioners.
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