Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Carthamus tinctorius
Common: N.O. Compositae

Synonyms: Dyer's Saffron. American Saffron. Fake Saffron. Flores Carthami. Bastard Saffron.
Part Used: Flowers.

This plant is not in any way related to Saffron, though the flowers are used similarly. (It largely replaces the use of Saffron owing to the large price of the latter. - EDITOR).

The Safflower plant, known in India as Koosumbha and in China as Hoang-tchi, is extensively cultivated in India, China and other parts of Asia, also in Egypt and Southern Europe; but its native country is unknown. It grows about 2 to 3 feet high, with a stiff, upright whitish stem, branching near the top; and has oval, spiny, sharp-pointed leaves, their bases half-clasping the stem. Its fruits are about the size of barleycorns, somewhat four-sided, white and shining, like little shells.

Safflower contains two colouring matters, yellow and red, the latter being most valued. It is chiefly used for dyeing silk, affording various shades of rose and scarlet. Mixed with finely-powdered talc it forms the wellknown substance called 'rouge.' Another common use of Safflower is in adulterating Saffron. The seeds yield an oil much used in India for burning and for culinary purposes.

Medicinal Action and Uses: The flowers are the part used, their action is laxative and diaphoretic. In domestic practice these flowers are used in children's and infants' complaints - measles, fevers, and eruptive skin eomplaints. An infusion is made of 1/2 OZ. of the flowers to a pint of boiling water taken warm to produce diaphorasis.