Origin: Annual flowering plant Safflower belongs to the Asteraceae family. Native to parts of Asia and Africa, from central India through the Middle East to the upper reaches of the Nile River and into Ethiopia, Safflower plants early mentions date back to almost 4,000 years.
The Safflower plants dried flower has been used to attain a red textile dye- carthamin. This dye was exported to France, Italy, and England to paint cheeses and sausages in the 18th century.
Since centuries, it has been used as a component of the condiment saffron. The early Spanish colonies along the Rio Grande River in New Mexico used Safflower as a substitute for Saffron in ancient recipes.
Carthamus Tinctorius have been found in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. It was discovered in the tomb of Amenophis I, which dates back to 1600 BC. It has also been mentioned copious times in ancient Greek manuscripts. Carthamus was also referred to as carthamine within the 1800s. Manuscripts of Ptolemy II from 260 BC mention this flower.
The cultivation of Safflower is believed to have started in the Fertile Crescent. It is relatively a minor crop in the modern world. The herb also exists as a significant crop in India and was originally used as an oil for addition to paints or steeping the leaves to be used as a dye.
It is still used for a multitude of uses including food-grade oils that are excellent for high-heat cooking and non-food additives in items like paint.
Scientifically: Safflower oil is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are needed by the body to function properly. Also, eating a diet high in unsaturated fats can improve a person's blood glucose control. Unsaturated fats may lower LDL or "bad," cholesterol in the blood which can prevent many cardiovascular diseases.
Safflower oil has anti-inflammatory properties. Applying Safflower oil topically to dry or inflamed skin help soothe it and gives the skin a soft and smooth appearance. It is also rich in vitamin E thus can fight against heat strokes.
It is also good for people who want to lose weight as it is full of omega-6 fatty acids. Safflower oil is rich with linoleic acid that makes it great for your hair and scalp. The use of safflower oil can be effective in building the immune system as it has omega-6 fatty acids. Linolic acid present in safflower oil can help unclog skin as well as help generate new skin cells. Linolic acid also balances the sebum level in the skin.
Poor levels of linoleic acid can result in hyperkeratinization (a condition keratin level increase) causing dead skin cells to stick together. This, in turn, leads to clogged skin pores and pimples. According to a study, the topical application of linoleic acid for a month results in plugged skin pores smaller by about 25%.
Another research highlights that linoleic acid has skin-lightening properties. It suppresses melanin production and decreases hyperpigmentation caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. It speeds up the turnover of the outermost layer of skin.
The light, non-greasy Safflower oil is an excellent moisturizing facial oil suitable for all skin types. It is rich in Vitamin E, A, C and D thus it is recommended for treating acne. It is pregnant with antioxidants that help in generating new cells.
Usage: Conventionally, the crop was grown for its seeds, and used for coloring and flavoring foods, in medicines, and creating red and yellow dyes, particularly before cheaper aniline oil dyes became easily accessible. For the last fifty years or so, the plant has been cultivated primarily for the vegetable oil extracted from its seeds. The cosmetic industry is also agog with this oil.
Below are some DIYs for beautiful skin and hair:
- Take few drops of Safflower oil. Mix it with two spoons of lukewarm coconut oil. Massage it on your scalp. Leave it overnight. Wash in the morning.
- Take a teaspoon of Safflower oil with a teaspoon of honey. Mix a tablespoon of oats in this mixture. Apply this mixture on the face. This oil is helpful in treating pimples and acne scars.
- Take a few drops of Safflower oil and apply on the face, this helps in removing wrinkles and blemishes.
- Combine a few drops of Safflower oil with yogurt. Apply this on the face for 10 minutes and then rinse. This helps in moisturizing and plumping the skin.