Safflower more than coloring
Leaves slightly prickly serrated, yellow to orange-red colored spherical flower heads, this is what the safflower, Carthamus tinctorius looks like. Until recently a forgotten player in the great game of plant history.
Its scientific name comes from the Arabic kurthum. Dyeing is kartami in Hebrew. In India he is called kusumba, and under that name also the Indonesians know him (kesoemba). The plant originates from Egypt, where it has been highly regarded and cultivated for many centuries. At the beginning of our era, Hindu immigrants brought the plant to Java.
Dioscorides and Dodoens also mention his use ‘the Wilden Carthamus es drooch of nature and what dividing. They dab leaves and the saet of the thistle with pepper and wine mingles his good strokes on the bites of the scorpions. It is also said as Dioscoride’s script that those of the scorpions ghestig are not painful and gh feel as long as sy dese cruyden in their grip and that if sy let go that pain again. Maybe an idea to manufacture an anti-scorpion ointment. However, such an ointment will not become very commercial.
The esteemed pharmacy book Kings American Dispensatory from 1898 states’ Dyer’s saffron, when the warm infusion is used, is said to restore the menstrual discharge ‘
And in Eastern countries the young leaves are said to have been used as a salad and the juice to curdle the milk The tender leaves, shoots, and thinnings of safflower are used as pot herb and salad. They are rich in vitamin A, iron, phosphorus, and calcium. Bundles of young plants are commonly sold as a green vegetable in markets in India and some neighboring countries. (Nimbkar, 2002).
It was also known everywhere as Wild saffron, because the petals were used as a food coloring just like saffron, although it does not have the taste of the real saffron.
Dyestuff for clothing
For centuries and centuries he supplied dye to all peoples between the Mediterranean and China. Tinctorius (Lat.) Therefore means used by dyers. The paint was prepared from the dried flower heads. A yellow dye dissolves in water, which is the least valuable. A second dye, red, is not soluble in water but it is soluble in lye. The red dye is applied to the fabric in an acid bath (eg cotton); making it sour is best done with lemon juice or juice from Tamarind fruits. The red of safflower in particular is a beautiful, bright color, which unfortunately is not lightfast. When the chemical industry brought the Congo red, the first red aniline dye, onto the market in 1884, Carthamus’ career was over. Although it looks like these and other dyes have started a new career.
Safflower oil from the seeds
And not only as a coloring agent, but also as a food product in the form of fatty oil, which is pressed from the seeds. The seed contains triglycerides of doubly unsaturated linoleic acid (70%) and the polyunsaturated linolenic acid (10%); the latter, together with the relatively high vitamin E content (310 ppm), is responsible for the good reputation of safflower oil. The oil is somewhat similar in composition to olive oil, it is very stable even at lower temperatures.
Noteworthy are the more recent studies, which show that the seeds have an influence on the fibroblasts in the bone system, taking the possible estrogenic effect and then the conclusion could be that Carthamus as a nutritional supplement in the menopause can be useful. In any case, another plant that is worth investigating further.