Carthamus Tinctorius L. widely known as a “Safflower Petals” or “false saffron”.
This plant is cultivated in dried and semi dried climate like Iran.
In Iran it’s found as 2 shape:
1) wild variety which is grown in the mountain and arid lands. Its color is from white to yellow and its efficiency of seeds and flowers is very less.
2) Second one is modified seeds for plantation.
This plant needs 2-3 times watering per year. It’s very less in comparison of other plants in Iran.
The color of petals is orange to red. The efficiency of seeds are much better than wild one.
Iranian use different names for safflower like as: “Golrang”, “ Gol Kajire”, “Kafshe”, false saffron”.
This plant recently years was considered of the agriculture ministry and also farmers because of two purpose: 1) seeds. 2) Flowers or petals.
Seeds which is used for two aids: a) birds feed, b) oil extraction.
Safflower seeds are mainly consuming as a one of the main seeds for canary feed and ornamental birds. Especially after laying and during the feeding the chick birds is the main seeds for feeding.
safflower seeds are content of many unsaturated fatty acids and mostly used as a cooking oils, dressing salad and cosmetic consumption.
Flowers (Safflower Petals):
Petals is used for a few aids: 1) natural coloring agent, 2) Food spices, 3) folklore medicine
1- Natural coloring agent:
The main pigment of petals is Carthamin (red color). Its color is looks like saffron and because of that some people use it as a false saffron for food coloring, decorated colored for rice, chicken, ice cream and other foods. It’s cheaper substitute of saffron color. Recently some industries made safflower petal’s herbal tea bags alone or mix up with other herbs as a drinking herbal tea.
2- Folklore medicine:
Traditional medicine is mostly based on chines, Indian and Iranian medicinal and clinical purpose. Medicinal purpose is so vast that if I want to mention in briefly are: heart health, diabetic, obesity, hair growth, blood thinning, cholesterol control, bone health, blood circulation, anti-inflammatory, easing painful muscles and many other health benefits.
3- Industrial consumption:
It’s used as an industrial dying for textile and carpets. Many industries prefer to use natural color instead of synthetic color to increase the chemical & physical characteristics and make difference for more acceptability of their products by their customer.
There are two local methods for Carthamin color extraction with hot water and with vinegar.
In this article I would tried to tell a brief of advantages of safflower seed and petal.
In the future I will open more about folklore medicine and traditional medicine of safflower.