Safflower tea is derived from safflower, an annual flowering plant in the aster or sunflower family. The plant is botanically known as carthamus tinctoris and is native to Africa and Asia.
[Note: The Right Flowers is not a medical site. Knowledge of and information about the therapeutic benefits and applications of flowers, while known through the ages, does not constitute medical advice. If you are having health issues, you should consult with a physician.]
Safflower produces yellow, red, white or orange blossoms. The blossoms are quite showy and are commonly used for ornamental purposes. Traditionally, these flowers were harvested to make a commercial dye which was important then for dying textiles, however, with time, the plant-based dye was replaced by synthetic dyes. The flowers were also used to extract a saffron-like food-grade color which was also used as a spice.
Safflower has been around for years. Ancient records show that safflower has been used by humans for almost 4,000 years. Historians even say that safflower was found in a 1600 BC tomb, belonging to Amenophis 1. The plant was also recorded by Ptolemy in 260 BC.
Safflower tea or infusion is less popular in western countries compared to Asian countries, however, this does not mean that it is inferior to other popular herbal tisanes. The infusion has a rich, floral aroma that some describe as a combination of tobacco and chocolate. It is used as a herbal remedy for treating a wide variety of health problems including cardiovascular conditions and enhancing the general wellbeing of a person.
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Safflower tisane is ideal for managing cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels. It is commonly used in traditional Chinese as well as Ayurvedic medicine. The infusion is normally prescribed for alleviating stress, depression, and anxiety. When ingested, the tea is known to release oils that soothe and relax nerves. Traditional Chinese Medicine also uses dried safflower petals to enhance blood circulation. This helps in managing menstrual cramps, healing bruises and resolving amenorrhea.
A recent study shows that safflower tea holds the potential of lowering the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women. The study involved 40 postmenopausal women who took the safflower tea or placebo for about 180 days.
After six months, researchers realized that the placebo group had significantly lower osteocalcin levels and bone density compared to the group taking safflower tisane which did not experience a reduction in osteocalcin levels or bone density. Therefore, researchers concluded that the safflower tisane prevents bone loss. However, the study did not get into what exactly prevents it and more research is needed to find out the compounds in safflower that promote bone health.
Basically, these flowers are known to contain many beneficial compounds including limonene, a strong antioxidant that assists in preventing cancer and managing cancer. Safflower also contains magnesium, iron, manganese and vitamin B-3. These compounds are probably the reason why safflower is considered such a highly beneficial herbal remedy.
Safflower is not popular both in the flower industry and in the herbal world. But this showy flower is worth a spot in your garden.