LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,358 admin

The seed of safflower can be used for oil (30-50% content) and to curdle milk, the plant as forage, the flower as a saffron substitute (color, not so much for flavor) and as a yellow, red or orange clothing dye, and the meal as a high protien (up to 36%) supplement for poultry (side note, higher protien is good for times of molt & for game birds). Young shoots can be eaten.

Growing days to maturity are 110-130 days. It doesn't like frost and high temperatures at the wrong time can affect seed production. It likes loamy soil, not sand, not clay, and not wet conditions. It's tap root grows down to 10'. It can withstand drought. It does not compete well with perennial weeds such as Russian thistle.

Squirrels raccoons and deer do not like the seed.

The oil is used medicinally and has many benefits.

Perhaps @torey & @judsoncarroll4 could fill in the medicinal benefits of this useful plant.



  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,354 admin

    Sure, from Plants for A Future:

    Herb: Safflower

    Latin name: Carthamnus tinctorius

    Family: Compositae

    Medicinal use of Safflower: Safflower is commonly grown as a food plant, but also has a wide range of medicinal uses. Modern research has shown that the flowers contain a number of medically active constituents and can, for example, reduce coronary heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. Alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, antiphlogistic, haemopoietic. Treats tumours and stomatitis. The flowers are anticholesterolemic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, laxative, purgative, sedative and stimulant. They are used to treat menstrual pains and other complications by promoting a smooth menstrual flow and were ranked third in a survey of 250 potential anti-fertility plants. In domestic practice, the flowers are used as a substitute or adulterant for saffron in treating infants complaints such as measles, fevers and eruptive skin complaints. Externally, they are applied to bruising, sprains, skin inflammations, wounds etc. The flowers are harvested in the summer and can be used fresh or dried. They should not be stored for longer than 12 months. It is possible to carefully pick the florets and leave the ovaries behind so that seed can be produced, though this procedure is rather more time-consuming. The plant is febrifuge, sedative, sudorific and vermifuge. When combined with Ligusticum wallichii it is said to have a definite therapeutic effect upon coronary diseases. The seed is diuretic, purgative and tonic. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism and tumours, especially inflammatory tumours of the liver. The oil is charred and used to heal sores and treat rheumatism. In Iran, the oil is used as a salve for treating sprains and rheumatism.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,505 admin

    I have found a few studies on Safflower.

    The oil has been shown to have anti-atherogenic properties which can help reduce plaque build up in arteries. The oil is high in linolenic and oleic acids indicating beneficial cardiovascular effects. Also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and immunomodulatory properties.

    The flowers are emmenagogue, diaphoretic and laxative.

    I found one study indicating that a flower tincture inhibited the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Candida albicans and Bacillus subtilis but had little to no effect on E. coli.

    Another study showed an improvement in insulin levels with a flower tincture but needs more research.

    Contraindications: Definitely not for use during pregnancy or when attempting to become pregnant. 

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,505 admin

    I found another article in the International Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine that lists the medicinal properties and uses of Safflower. From the abstract: "The whole plant of C. tinctorius possesses many pharmacological activities like antifibrosis, antidiabetic, antitumour, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antihperlipidemic, anticoagulant, and antioxidant activities."

    The whole article can be read at: