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Health Research

4 Health Benefits of Safflower [Infographic]

The orange-red safflower has a long history in herbal medicine. Modern research studies indicate the herb may improve memory and learning capacity due to its antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. It may also support weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, and stimulate immune function. Safflower can be steeped with other herbs in tea, giving off a slightly tangy taste.
Safflower Infographic
What is safflower?
Safflower is one of oldest crops used by humans, with traces of safflower dyes found in ancient Egyptian textiles. The plant was grown primarily for coloring and flavoring but it was also used in medicine. In North American herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, the flowers were used to relieve abdominal pain, heal wounds, and treat measles.
Safflower seed oil has been used for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, to promote hair growth, and to treat or prevent fever, coughs, heart conditions, and chest pain. Safflower is highly valued for dietary reasons because of its high proportion of polyunsaturated fats and is commonly used in cooking as a cheaper alternative for saffron, the most expensive spice in the world by weight.
Botanical name: Carthamus tinctorius
Other names: Hong hua, carthamine
Description: An annual plant that grows to 3 feet tall with globular, yellow flower heads and long, spiny leaves
Habitat: Native to Asia and Africa
Properties*: Antihypertensive, antioxidant, cardioprotective, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective
The health benefits of safflower according to research
1. Energy & Brain Support
The safflower has been used in traditional medicine to improve memory and learning capacity. Modern studies have found that safflower contains compounds that exhibit antioxidant and neuroprotective (protects brain function and structure) activities. According to one study published in the Neurochemical Research journal, safflower petals contain carthamin, the natural red pigment found in safflower, which appear to have antioxidant and neuroprotective properties.
2. Heart and Circulatory Health
According to the World Health Organization (a specialized international health agency under the United Nations), uses of safflower that have been described in pharmacopoeias include the prevention of atherosclerosis. This is a condition where arteries in the body harden and narrow and is the usual cause of heart attacks and strokes.
In addition, safflower oil has been found to reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Some evidence shows that substituting coconut oil or butter with safflower oil in the diet can lower levels of total and LDL cholesterol. Safflower flowers are also believed to help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and lower cholesterol levels.
3. Immunity and Overall Health
The safflower contains a complex mixture of red and yellow pigments and constituents that exhibit hypolipemic (i.e. lowers levels of fats in the blood) and hypotensive (i.e. lowers blood pressure) properties. In addition, the safflower contains a polysaccharide that has been shown to stimulate immune function in mice.
4. Weight Loss and Metabolism
Preliminary studies point to the potential of the safflower plant for supporting weight loss. One study found safflower oil had an effect on body composition by reducing the body weight of obese women diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Scientists believe that it may have benefits for weight loss and/or blood sugar levels. There is ongoing research to further investigate the effects of safflower on weight loss.


* These are some of the pharmacological actions that have been observed or are under study in various evidence-based research studies. Herb may have other properties not listed here.
The statements on this page are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare practitioner prior to the use of any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have allergies or medical conditions.
The information has been sourced and extracted from scientific papers, academic journals, research abstracts, and other sources. While Purify Tea makes every effort to present accurate and reliable information on this website, Purify Tea does not endorse, approve, or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficiency, timeliness, or correct sequencing of such information. Use of such information is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficiency, and timeliness. While many traditional or folkloric remedies have a long history of use, modern research has only begun to investigate and substantiate their effectiveness. Research is still ongoing in many areas therefore conclusions are subject to change.


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Duke J. A. Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Natural Agricultural Library. United States Department of Agriculture. Web. June 26, 2016.
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Midori Hiramatsu, Tomoko Takahashi, Makiko Komatsu, Toshitaka Kido, Yoshimasa Kasahara. “Antioxidant and neuroprotective activities of Mogami-benibana (safflower, Carthamus tinctorius Linne).” Neurochem Res. December 12, 2008.
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United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). November 28, 2015, Web. June 26, 2016.
World Health Organization. WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants – Volume 3. Geneva, 2007. Print.
Yoon, Hye-Ryeon; Han, Hyun-Gyu; Paik, Young-Sook. “Flavonoid Glycosides with Antioxidant Activity from the Petals of Carthamus tinctorius”. Journal of Applied Biological Chemistry. 2007;50(3):175-178.
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