Latin Name: Carthamus Tinctorius
Other Name: American Saffron, Honghua
Safflower is a flowering plant that is native to parts of Asia and Africa, and has flowers that may be red, orange, yellow or white.
Originally, this plant was grown for the flowers that were used in making the red and yellow dyes for food preparation and clothings. In recent years, safflower oil extracted from the seeds has gain popularity in providing some health benefits, and has become the chief modern use of the plant.
Safflower oil is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids called linoleic acids, that are known to promote cardiovascular health by lowering blood cholesterols and blood pressure due to its blood-thinning properties. Hence, it is used as a healthier option of cooking oil or salad dressings.
Safflower oil is also claimed might help with weight loss, as its linoleic acid helps body to burn fat, instead of storing it. Safflower oil can also be applied topically to dry or inflammed skin to soothe and moisturise the skin, giving it a smooth and soft appearance. Some women use safflower oil to relieve PMS, as linoleic acid is found to help regulating the production of prostaglandins that causes dramatic hormonal fluctuations and menstrual symptoms.