What is Safflower Oil?
Botanical Name :: Carthamus tinctorius
Indian Name :: Kusum, Kusumbha, Karadai
Description of Safflower Seeds:
The safflower is an important oil-seed crop. It is a highlybranched, glabrous, annual plant, 0.5 to 1.5 m. tall. It has long and stout taper root and spirally arranged, dark green and glossy leaves. Florets are tubular and usually orange-yellow in color. Safflower seeds are bitter in taste and look more or less like the seeds of orange.
Origin and Distribution of Safflower Seeds:
Safflower is believed to have originated in an area bounded by the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian gulf. It has been identified,as growing in Egypt 4,000 years ago. Safflower has been cultivated in Egypt, the Middle East and India initially for the orange dye obtained from the florets.
It is still used as dye in India. It spread throughout the Mediterranean region and eastwards to China and Japan. Safflower was taken early by the Spaniards to Mexico. It was introduced experimentally as an oil crop in the United States in 1925, where it has been grown on a commercial scale since 1950, particularly in California.
In Sanskrit literature of ancient India, safflower has been described as kusumbha, from which the most common modern name of kusum is derived. Kusumbha oil was regarded as purgative and identical properties were assigned to it in Egypt, Africa and India. It is now cultivated for oil in parts of North Africa, India, China, the United States and Australia.
Food Value of Safflower Seeds:
The oil content of the seeds varies from 20 to 38 per cent. The thinner the hull the greater will be the oil content. The drying oil has a high linoleic acid content, about 75 per cent, and a very low linolenic acid content. The crude protein content of the expressed meal or cake varies from 20 to 55 per cent, depending on the amount of hull removed during processing.
Safflower oil is one of the most polyunsaturated. The medicinal value of linoleic acid came into prominence in the later 1960s following the publication of the findings of researchers in a series of medical and scientific journals.
These findings proved that this fatty acid was highly beneficial in lowering serum cholesterol levels in laboratory animals and humans. From virtual obscurity safflower oil became a bestseller within a few years. This is no wonder, with its very high linoleic acid content.
It has also been discovered that linoleic acid promotes and improves availability of calcium to the body's cells, thereby virtually acting as a vitamin. Some scientists refer to it as vitamin F
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties of Safflower Seeds:
Heart Disease :-
Safflower oil has proved beneficial in lowering blood cholesterol. Hence it can be used liberally by persons suffering from cardio vascular disorders. An emulsion by trade name Saffloxin-cipla is used routinely during myocardial infraction, cardiac ischaemia and hypertension.
One teaspoonful of kernel of the seeds, taken with six shelled almonds and honey has proved highly beneficial in the treatment of constipation. It has been found to be a safe laxative for the young, weak and pregnant women. A very popular Unani laxative medicine called Twarishe Qhurtum is prepared from safflower seeds.
Sexual Debility :-
Safflower seeds are highly beneficial in the treatment of sexual debility . For better results, powder of the dry seeds should be mixed with pistachio nuts, honey and almonds. It should be used with milk once before going to bed. It is a very effective aphrodisiac. It improves sexual vigor and thickens semen.
Safflower seeds are highly beneficial in the treatment bronchial asthma. Half a teaspoon of powder of the dry seeds, mixed in a tablespoonful of honey, can be taken once or twice with great benefit in this disease. It acts as an expectorant and reduces the spasms by liquefying the tenacious sputum. Infusion of the flowers mixed with honey is also useful in asthma.
Female Disorders :-
A decoction prepared by boiling two teaspoonfuls of powdered seeds in 120 ml. of water is given as a remedy -to cure painful menstruation. Dried flowers mixed with rose are also given as a medicine in this condition. A brew made from safflower foliage is said to prevent abortion and the female sterility.
Flavorless, colorless oil expressed from the seeds of the safflower, this oil contains more polyunsaturates than any other oil, has a high smoke point making it ideal for deep frying, and is favored for salad dressing because it does not solidify when chilled. However, safflower oil lacks vitamin E, making it less nutritional than other oils on the market. Since it is odorless, light, and quick to absorb, it is becoming more popular and favored in the skincare field.
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