Functions and clinical use of safflower.
- Botanical Basic Data of Safflower:Carthamus tinctorius L.
- What it is Safflower?Property,Effects and constitution of Safflower.
- Functions and clinical use of safflower.
- Ethnobotany:Worlwide use of safflower.
- Safflower:Administration and Guide.
- What is Saffron:Stigma Croci,Crocus sativus L?
- Health benefit and application of Saffron.
- Cosmetic Use of Saffron:
- Safflower:Research Update.
Functions and clinical use of safflower.
Safflower has been known since ancient times as a source of orange and yellow dyes and food colourings, and more recently has been grown for the seeds, which yield an edible oil: some areas have been grown for this purpose in Southern Europe. Present interest centres on types with different fatty acid profiles in the seed oil, which are suitable for industrial use in products such as paints and varnishes.
1.Invigorates the Blood and promotes menstruation:used for Congealed Blood patterns, with amenorrhea, abdominal pain, postpartum dizziness, lochioschesis, and abdominal masses. Dispels Congealed Blood and alleviates pain: used for Congealed Blood wounds and pain, nonsuppurative sores, carbuncles, and dark, purplish erythema. Also used for incomplete expression of the rash of measles or chest Painful Obstruction from Congealed Blood.
Invigorates circulation, breaks up blood stasis condition, and promotes menstruation: rheumatoid arthritis, injuries from impact, swollen boils, irregular menses, pain in stopping of menses, pain from blood stasis after birth. Small amount can invigorate circulation and large amount can get rid of blood clots. It is an important herb in blood stasis therapy and often is prescribed with tao ren. To invigorate circulation, it is often used with dang gui, chuan xiong, shao yao. to rid of blood stasis, it is used with san leng, wo zhu, and da huang.
2. Amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea dueto blood stasis andpostpartum abdominalpain due to retentionof blood stasis:It is often used with peach kernel, Chineseangelica root and chuanxiong rhizome, as in Decoction of Four Ingredients Including Peach Kernel and Safflower(Taohong Siwu Tang).For masses in the abdomen, it can be used with burreed tuber, zedoary and red sage root.
To treat amenorrhea (abnormal absence or suppression of menses) and dysmenorrhea (difficult and painful menstruation) due to blood stasis and postpartum abdominal pain due to blood stasis and qi stagnation:
Dispersing in its pungent taste and clearing in its warm nature, and specially entering the blood system, this herb can promote blood circulation by removing blood stasis and remove obstruction from and regulate the flow in the channels.
a)Amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea due to blood stasis and postpartum abdominal pain due to blood stasis and qi stagnation:
This herb is often used in combination and mutual reinforcement with peach kernels, Chinese angelica, chuanxiong (Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong), etc.
It is used in combination with Chinese angelica, zedoary turmeric rhizome (Rhizoma Zedoariae), cassia bark, etc., e.g., Gexia Zhuyu Tang.
This herb can be used in combination with herbaceous peony unpeeled root (Radix Paeoniae Rubra), yanhusuo (Rhizoma Corydalis), nutgrass flatsedge rhizome (Rhizoma Cyperi), etc., in order to regulate the flow of qi to alleviate pain.
It can also be used alone, e.g., Hong Lan Hua Jiu in the book 'Synopsis of Recipes of the Golden Chamber', i.e., this herb is decocted with the addition of wine in order to treat stabbing pain in the abdomen due to blood stasis and qi stagnation.
3. Various kindsof pain due to bloodstasis:For chest pain due to obstruc-tion of qi in the chest, it is often prescribed with red sage root, red peony root and chuanxiong rhizome; for pains in the hypochondriumdue to blood stasis,it can be used withfrankincense, myrrhand peach kernel; for pain of traumaticinjuries, it can be used with sappan wood,dragon's blood (Resina Draconis) and musk; for external diseaseslike sores, carbunclesand other pyogenic skin infections, it can be given with dandelion, forsythiafruit and red peonyroot.
4. To treat masses in the abdomen, blood stasis with pain in the chest and abdomen, traumatic injuries, purple swelling with pain due to obstruction of blood vessels, etc.:
This herb can promote blood circulation by removing blood stasis, eliminate masses, clear obstructions from blood vessels, subdue swelling and alleviate pain.
a).Masses in the abdomen:
It is used in combination with burreed (Rhizoma Sparganii), zedoary turmeric rhizome (Rhizoma Zedoariae), etc.
b).Traumatic injuries and swelling and pain due to blood stasis and qi stagnation:
This herb is used in combination with sappan caesalpinia (Lignum Sappan), olibanum, myrrh, etc., or safflower tincture or safflower oil can be rubbed and applied onto the affected part.
c).Syndromes of obstruction of heart vessels by blood stasis and epigastric pain due to obstruction of qi in the chest:
This herb is used in combination with cassia twig, Mongolian snakegourd (Fructus Trichosanthis), red-rooted salvia root (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae), etc.
In modern times, this herb has been used alone as tablets or injection for the treatment of coronary disease and certain effects have been obtained in the moderation of angina pectoris (a paroxysmal thoracic pain, with a failing of suffocation and impending death) and the improvement of electrocardiograms (a recording of the electrical activity of the heart on a moving strip of paper).
e).Cerebral thrombosis and thromboangiitis obliterans (a progressive occlusive disease of the blood vessels in the lower extremities):
Safflower injection has been used for intravenous dripping in the treatment of cerebral thrombosis and thromboangiitis obliterans. For the treatment of thromboangiitis obliterans, this herb can also be used in combination with Chinese angelica, red-rooted salvia root (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae), olibanum, myrrh, etc.
5. To treat dark skin eruption, maculae (a stain, spot or thickening) and papulae due to heat stagnation and blood stasis:
As this herb can remove heat from the blood and clear away toxic substances with its cool nature, it can promote blood circulation and relieve skin eruption, maculae and papulae. In this respect, foreign safflower (saffron crocus stigma) is better.
a).Dark skin eruption, maculae and papulae due to heat stagnation and blood stasis:
It is often used in combination with Chinese angelica, Asian poccoon root (Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi), Dyer's woad leaf (Folium Isatidis), etc., in order to promote blood circulation, remove heat from the blood, purge heat and clear away toxic substances, e.g., Danggui Honghua Yin in the book 'The Complete Works on Treatment of Measles'.
b).Erythema multiforme (a rash that results from an allergic response, most often secondary to a drug):
In modern times, safflower injection has been used for intramuscular injection in the treatment of Erythema multiforme
5.Angina of coronary diseases:use hong hua, dan shen, chuan xiong, chi shao.
6.Thromboangitis obliterans:use hong hua, dang gui , tao ren , chi shao, ru xiang
7.For treatment of enlargement of the liver and spleen.
8.For physical injuries with blood stasis and pain:broken bones, dislocated joints, sprains, and impact.
a)Cardio-vascular system:It can mildly stimulate the heart, lowers the resistance of coronary arteries, improves circulation and provides the amount of blood flow to the heart muscle and provides nutrition to the heart muscles. Large amount has an inhibitory effect.
b)Effect on platelets:It can prevent the coagulation of the platelets thus inhibits the formation of thrombosis.
c)Effect on uterus:Small amount can increase the rhythmic contraction of the pregnant uterus. Large amount can cause constriction and spasm.
d)Provides protection for the brain:in case of oxygen deprivation. Studies show that it can increase the treshold of rat in oxygen deprivation.
e)Other Functions:Lower lipids,anti-bacterial,anti-fungal,analgesic,diuretic,immune stimulant,anti-inflammatory,anti-spasmodic,emmenagogue (induce menses flow),diaphoretic (induce perspiration),induce interferon
Safflower is cultivated for the edible oil obtained from the seed. It contains a higher percentage of essential unsaturated fatty acids and a lower percentage of saturated fatty acids than other edible vegetable seed oils. The oil, light colored and easily clarified, is used in salad and cooking oils, margarines, liqueurs, candles, and as a drying oil in paints, linoleum, varnishes, and wax cloths. Tender shoots eaten as a salad and potherb. Seeds, both edible and nutritious, are eaten roasted or fried and used in chutney. Safflower oil lowers blood cholesterol levels and is used to treat heart diseases. The flowers have been the source of yellow and red dyes, largely replaced by synthetics, but still used in rouge.
Dosage and administration:3- 10g, decocted in water for an oral dose.
Safflower, also known as American saffron, dyer's saffron, and false saffron, is an annual plant native to the Mediterranean countries and cultivated in Europe and the U.S. Its glabrous, branching stem grows from 1 to 3 feet high and bears alternate, sessile, oblong, or ovate-lanceolate leaves armed with small, spiny teeth. The orange-yellow flowers grow in flower heads about 1 to 10 inches across.
This herb is used traditionally in China to treat coronary disease, thrombotic disorders, and menstrual problems. Alcoholic extracts of the plant are used topically for direct application to ulcers and wounds. Safflower has been used effectively as a diaphoretic and a diuretic. Taken hot, safflower tea produces strong perspiration and has thus been used for colds and related ailments. It has also been used at times for its soothing effect in cases of hysteria, such as that associated with chlorosis.
The plant has a strong taproot which enables it to thrive in dry climates. In India the crop has traditionally been grown in the 'rabi' or winter dry season in mixtures with other 'rabi' crops, such as wheat and sorghum. After emergence, the crop maintains a rosette form for some weeks before rapid elongation to mature height. The florets are self-pollinating but seedset can be increased by bees or other insects.
Safflower is one of humanity's oldest crops, but generally it has been grown on small plots for the grower's personal use and it remains a minor crop with world seed production around 800 000 t per year (Gyulai 1996). Oil has been produced commercially and for export for about 50 years, first as an oil source for the paint industry, now for its edible oil for cooking, margarine and salad oil. Over 60 countries grow safflower, but over half is produced in India (mainly for the domestic vegetable oil market). Production in the USA, Mexico, Ethiopia, Argentina and Australia comprises most of the remainder. China has a significant area planted to safflower, but the florets are harvested for use in traditional medicines and the crop is not reported internationally.
Uses of Safflower:
Carthamus:Safflower.American saffron.The florets of Cartha'mus tincto'rius Willdenow. (Official, 1820-1880.) Habitat: India, Levant, and Egypt; cultivated. Orange-red; tube long, slender, cylindrical with the two-cleft yellowish style protruding; strap divided into five narrow, lanceolate lobes; odor peculiar, aromatic; taste bitter. It contains two coloring principles, safflower-yellow, C24H30O15 (24 to 30 per cent.), and a red principle, carthamin, C14H16O7, or carthamic acid, to the latter of which its value as a dyestuff is due, and which, mixed with talc, forms rouge. Cathartic and diaphoretic in large doses of the warm infusion; in domestic practice used as a substitute for saffron to promote eruption in measles, scarlatina, etc. Dose: 8 to 15 gr. (0.5 to 1 Gm.).
Safflower was originally grown for the flowers that were used in making red and yellow dyes for clothing and food preparation. Today this crop supplies oil, meal, birdseed, and foots (residue from oil processing) for the food and industrial products markets, although this crop is now primarily grown for the oil.
Safflower flower has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is used to treat menstrual disorders. Safflower flower is an emmenagogue, meaning that it is given to bring on menstruation. Safflower is also used to treat menstrual pain, to firm up the uterus after childbirth, to ease stiffness and pain in the joints, and sometimes also to treat trauma to the abdomen. According to traditional Chinese usage, safflower flower is a blood regulator; that is, it invigorates and harmonizes the blood and dissolves blood clots. Safflower is said to have a warm nature and a pungent taste. Chinese practitioners use safflower oil in tui na massage.
The oil in linoleic safflower contains nearly 75% linoleic acid, which is considerably higher than corn, soybean, cottonseed, peanut or olive oils. This type of safflower is used primarily for edible oil products such as salad oils and soft margarines. Researchers disagree on whether oils high in polyunsaturated acids, like linoleic acid, help decrease blood cholesterol and the related heart and circulatory problems. Nonetheless, it is considered a "high quality" edible oil and public concern about this topic made safflower an important crop for vegetable oil.
Varieties that are high in oleic acid may serve as a heat-stable, but expensive cooking oil used to fry potato chips and french fries. As an industrial oil, it is considered a drying or semidrying oil that is used in manufacturing paints and other surface coatings. The oil is light in color and will not yellow with aging, hence it is used in white and light-colored paints. This oil can also be used as a diesel fuel substitute, but like most vegetable oils, is currently too expensive for this use.
The meal that remains after oil extraction is used as a protein supplement for livestock. The meal usually contains about 24% protein and much fiber. Decorticated meal (most of hulls removed) has about 40% protein with a reduced fiber content. Foots are used to manufacture soap. The birdseed industry buys a small portion of the seed production. Sheep and cattle can graze succulent safflower and stubble fields after harvest.
Taken hot, safflower tea produces strong perspiration and has thus been used for colds and related ailments. It has also been used at times for its soothing effect in cases of hysteria, such as that associated with chlorosis.
Safflower flowers are also used to treat such childhood problems as measles, fevers, and skin rashes. Applied externally, safflower flower is used to cleanse wounds. Interestingly, on the other side of the world, North Americans used safflower flower in the nineteenth century in much the same way as the Chinese:to bring on menstruation and to treat measles. They also used it to induce sweating.
Safflower seeds can be pressed to produce an edible oil. The unpurified form of this oil is used as a laxative or purgative to cleanse the bowels. Processed safflower oil does not have laxative properties. The processed oil is used extensively in cooking and for making margarine and salad dressings. The oil is also used in paints and varnishes, and is burned for lighting where electricity is unavailable.
Powdered seeds made into a poultice used to ally inflammation of the womb after child birth.
Flowers of this herb is useful for jaundice.
Safflower has other nonmedicinal uses. Its flowers produce a dye that in times past was used for dyeing silk yellow or red. Today, chemical dyes have largely replaced safflower dye. The flowers were also dried and ground together with finely powdered talc to produce cosmetic rouge.
Modern scientific research shows that safflower oil lowers serum cholesterol levels, making it useful in preventing heart disease. The claim has also been made that safflower flowers prevent coronary artery disease because they are a digestive bitter and assist in the digestion of oils. Infusions of safflower flowers are used to lower the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles during athletic competition. In addition, a compound has been isolated from safflower that stimulates the immune system in mice. Additional studies are ongoing to confirm this effect.
Medicinal uses: It is a pretty strong cathartic and also clears the lungs and helps the phthisis. It is likewise serviceable against the jaundice.
Modern uses: The flowers are laxative and induce sweating. They are used as an infusion - 0.5 oz (14 g) to 1 Pt (568 ml) of boiling water - for children's complaints, particularly rneasles, scarlet fever and eruptive skin diseases. The infusion also stimulates the menstrual flow.
The seed is laxative. Safflower oil, obtained from the seeds, is used for culinary purposes. It is also obtainable in capsules. Like Sunflower oil, it is rich in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid.
Infusions of Safflower were used as a laxative.
The flowers are the part used medicinally, and their action is laxative and diaphoretic. Safflower blossoms are used in the tea form to treat hysteria, fevers, phlegm, and panic attacks. It is a pretty strong cathartic, and also clears the lungs and helps the phthisis. It is likewise beneficial against jaundice.
An infusion of this herb stimulates the menstrual flow. In domestic practice, the flowers are sometimes used in children's and infants' complaints,such as measles,fevers,and eruptive skin problems.
Safflower is also known to help to move stagnant blood and alleviate pain. As a blood purifier, Safflowers are helpful with removing toxins and waste,like lactic acid,from the system,cleaning the tissues and joints throughout the entire body.
Other benefits of Safflowers have been to relieve arthritis, treat skin rashes, and promote healthy liver functions.
Cautions on Use: This herb should be avoided by pregnant women and no excessive administration should be made to anyone with a tendency to bleed. Safflower should not be stored for longer than 12 months.
- 1.Safflower.Carthamus tinctorius L.,Flos Carthami.Safflower Extract.
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