Safflower -- herbal medicine

Author: Dr. Lee
Time: 2014/7/23 16:45:42

Basic introduction

Safflower, derived from composite family, has another scientific name--- Carthamus tinctorius. As a new kind of oil crops, it is relatively suitable to manage and cultivate. In China, it is mainly produced in Henan, Yunnan, Xinjiang, Sichuan, Zhejiang province, while Henan is the most well-known one for its rich production.

Natural characteristic:

The leaves, oval in formation, glabrous in front and back sides, about 4 millimeters, densely covered with pubescence surrounding by bract-like indefinite inflorescence. Two parts of the safflower are practically used: the flower itself and safflower seeds. The flower, arranged in corymbose cyme, top-first inflorescence gets terminal growth, is blooming in yellow color at first and then turning into orange color. The outer layer forms lanceolate in green with spikes on margin, while the inner layer appears in oval form. Each branch on the safflower plant can have up to 5 flowers on it, each containing up to 20 seeds. The flower seed is round as egg, with its stiff texture and 5 millimeters in length.


In China, according to its producing area, safflower can be divided as 6 different kinds.

Huai safflower(produced in Henan province), with longer, larger and dark red petals, has soft texture and thick fragrance.

Chuan safflower(produced in Sichuan province), its flower has yellow stamens, sometimes covered with sharp needle leaves.

Yun safflower(produced in Yunnan province), has slight color in yellow or red.

Du safflower(produced in Zhejiang and Jiangsu province) has good quality and the petal is a bit short.

Cao safflower(produced in Shandong and Shanxi province), usually with a lot of yellow stamens and white petals, has stiff texture and low production.

Xinjiang safflower(produced in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) has soft texture and rich production in recent years.

Herbal property:

Safflower, together with peach kernel, angelica sinensis, rhizoma ligustici wallichii, radix rehmanniae, radix paeoniae rubra, is known as "Four Soup" in TCM. Pungent in flavor, warm in nature, it is widely used to cure heart channel and liver channel. It is particularly effective in promoting blood circulation and relieving blood stasis, swelling and pain. Safflower contains chemicals that may widen blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and stimulate the heart. It is used in treatment of headache, thoracalgia, abdominal pain, dysmenorrhea, carbuncle, and traumatic ecchymosis. Chinese herbal medicine practitioners recommend the safflower flowers to be applied in menstruation and also treat abdominal pains. In addition, the safflower flowers are also said to be effective in cleaning and healing wounds and bruises. At the same time, the raw oil extracted from the safflower seeds is said to function as an excellent purgative. Other people use it for clearing heat; and as a laxative, stimulant, antiperspirant, and expectorant to eliminate phlegm.