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Safflower, Carthamus tinctoris for Skin and Health

 Safflower oil, Carthamus tinctoris

Family: Compositae

Name: comes from Arabic and Hebrew words meaning “to paint.”


Mechanical – Expeller, Cold pressed

Chemical – Solvent – NOT recommended as toxic solvent remains in the oil,    and it eliminates essential nutrients of the oil.  

Description: 3 foot tall thistly plant with branched stalks from a basal rosette. It is about 15 inches across. It blooms in June and July. Each branch bears more than 12 flower heads. In each head prickly bracts surround a tuft of golden orange florets.

An annual plant that has been cultivated since ancient times in Northern Africa and the Middle East as a dye plant and was used medicinally.

Its seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs that date back to 3500 BC, and mummy bandages were dyed with it.

Its original use was as a dye plant for its orange and red pigment characteristic of traditional rouge and face powders of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

Safflower was introduced to Europe from Egypt in 1551. It has been cultivated in China, Japan, India for dying silk and in Egypt for dying linen.

It is now cultivated in Europe and California for its seed oil.

In the Sacramento Valley of California, it is known as ’American saffron,’ bastard, false or poor man’s saffron as it is used to adulterate true saffron. However the flavor is bland compared to true saffron.

It has been grown for commercial use (oil, meal and bird seed) in the western Great Plains of the US since 1957.  The oil is used in the food industry.

Nutritional, Medicinal and Skin Benefits:

In the Middle East the flower and seed have been used for their enzymatic ability to ferment milk to make yogurt and other fermented milk products.

In the past a tea made of from the flowers was used to reduce fevers by sweating, especially for childhood measles. The seed juice mixed with chicken broth was used to relieve constipation and respiratory problems.  It has also been used to treat ear and menstrual disorders.

It is a good nutritional oil for lowering blood cholesterol and strengthening the immune system. And a good substitute for less healthy oils.

Safflower oil is high in omega-6 fatty acid, thereby being helpful to managing blood sugar and avoiding diabetes. It can also help to burn fat and manage weight in a healthy way.

It has been used topically to soothe bruises, wounds and painful, paralyzed joints.

Skin Care:

  Skin Care:

Safflower oil is rich in linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid which is beneficial for a variety of aspects of skin care.

It is especially beneficial for caring for acne. Safflower oil has the ability to combine with sebum in skin to remove dirt and oil, and thus unclog the skin of blackheads and reduce rashes and acne. It also assists the regeneration of new skin cells which helps to diminish scars.

It is a lubricant that prevents moisture from leaving the skin. It improves the texture and tone of the skin. It promotes elasticity and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and scars.

It also softens and smooths dry and flaky areas.

It is good for all skin types, and ideal for dry sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis and acne.

It is a good ingredient in facial cleansers, moisturizers and hair products.

Hair Care:

Promotes hair growth, protects, nourishes and hydrates hair.



Can slow down blood clotting, as it is a blood thinner.

Avoid if you have an allergy to ragweed and others in that family.


Author, Eve Stahl, is a Health Consultant, Herbalist and Skin Care expert. She specializes in using nature's plants to enhance the health of people and to protect the health of our planet. To achieve this purpose she has created Garden of Eve Skin Care products for sensitive skin and all skin types. You can visit her company at: www.gardenofeve.com Prospective Affiliates visit: www.gardenofeveskincare.com/affiliate-application. 

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