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safflower, Eurasian thistlelike herb (Carthamus tinctorius) of the family Asteraceae (aster family). Safflower, or false saffron, has long been cultivated in S Asia and Egypt for food and medicine and as a costly but inferior substitute for the true saffron dye. In the United States, where it is sometimes called American saffron, it is more important as the source of safflower oil, which has recently come into wide use as a cooking oil. Safflower is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
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Dried flowers are used as a less expensive substitute for saffron. Safflower is extremely effective in lowering cholesterol levels. Laxative effect helps bowel movements. Encourages menstruation and treats abdominal pains. Helps skin heal open wounds and bruises. Used for all kinds of skin disorders like rashes, measles. Tea used for hysteria, panic attacks, fevers, mucus. Yellow, orange or red globular flowers, one to five per branch. Each flower contains 15-20 seeds, which are the source of the famous safflower oil (flavorless and colorless, like sunflower oil) Safflower seeds can be used in bird feeders instead of sunflower seeds because squirrels don’t like them. Safflower oil is also used as a medium for oil paints. If you want to use natural pigments and dyes, mix them with safflower oil to paint.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
Carthamus tinctorius. An annual thistlelike herb belonging to the composite family (Compositae); the leaves are edible, flowers yield dye, and seeds yield a cooking oil.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
a thistle-like Eurasian annual plant, Carthamus tinctorius, having large heads of orange-yellow flowers and yielding a dye and an oil used in paints, medicines, etc.: family Asteraceae (composites)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005