Safflower is actually thistle-like (a group of flowering plants having sharp leaves) and herbaceous plant. The oil from this plant is generally obtained for making vegetable oil. The general length of the plant is 35 to 155 cm. The color of these flowers can either be red, orange or yellow. There are approximately two to five flower heads on a branch, and each flower head has in turn about 20 seeds. Safflower is widely cultivated in areas where it rains less. Also, it can be cultivated in areas with seasonal rains. A deeper taproot is grown on safflower, due to which it can survive in harsh climates.
According to the scientists, safflower is one of the oldest crops. A detailed analysis of safflower oil showed that it was used by people for making dyes, during the twelfth dynasty. Also, on the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, garlands were present, which were made from safflower oil. The Greek name for safflower is karthamos.
There are further two divisions of safflower oil. One of them is the weighed safflower, also known as the red safflower; the other one is the measured safflower, also known as the white safflower. In general, the red florets and the pale seeds are the two parts of the plant, which can be utilized. In the nineteen century, safflower was also popular by another name, carthamine.
In today’s world, safflower can be classified as a minor crop, meaning that, although it is expensive in cost, it isn’t cultivated widely. In more than 60 countries around the world, approximately 600,000 tons of the crop are cultivated. India, Mexico and the United States are among the major producers of this crop. On the other hand, the minor producers are the Arabs, Australia, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia. Safflower is known by many other names. Some other names of safflower include Beni, Chimichanga and Sallflower. Kareza is the name of this crop in the Pushto language.
Safflower was originally grown for its seeds. It was generally used for coloring and flavoring foods. Also in medicines, safflower was widely used. It was also widely used for making dyes too. However, recently aniline dyes became available and now they are used because they are a bit cheaper. From the seeds of safflower, vegetable oil is extracted. This is one of the main reasons for the cultivation of this crop.
The two qualities of safflower oil are that it is flavorless and colorless. In appearance and other features, it is a bit similar to sunflower oil. It is generally used as a cooking oil and in cosmetics. Also, safflower seed oil is widely used for the production of margarine and in salad dressing. Safflower oil is also, sometimes, taken as a nutritional supplement. The INCI nomenclature of safflower seed oil is Carthamus tinctorius. Sometimes, birdfeeders, use safflower oil, instead of sunflower oil.The reason for this is that some animals, like squirrels, don’t like the taste of sunflower oil.
Different types of oil are generally formed by two types of safflower. One of them is high in polyunsaturated fatty acid and the other one is high in monounsaturated fatty acid. Now-a-days, the former one is being used in the market. In comparison to olive oil, it is lower in saturates. In painting, the high monounsaturated fatty acid is used in place of linseed oil. In particular, this oil is used for white paints. The reason behind this is that it doesn’t contain the yellowish texture present in linseed oil.
Safflower oil is also used in diet. It increases the production of adiponectin in the body- a protein responsible for regulating the production of fatty acid and the blood glucose. Recently in The Ohio State University, a study was done for 16 weeks. In the study, the comparison of conjugated linolenic acid and high-linolenic safflower oil was done. Also, in the study, the researchers studied the women who wanted to lose weight and also the women with high blood pressure and post-menopausal symptoms. When the participants of the study were given safflower oil, their belly fat reduced. Also, the production of adiponectin (the belly fat hormone) increased by 20 percent.
Another study related to safflower oil was done by Hornstra and his colleagues. In the study, the people who previously had suffered a heart attack, were given safflower oil instead of animal fats. The study showed that when the group was given more safflower oil in place of animal fats, the risk of death from coronary diseases and cardiovascular diseases decreased. In the Sydney Diet Heart Study, a person is likely to have less cholesterol in his blood if he consumes more omega-6 fatty acids coming from safflower oil.
Safflower is also used in cooking. It is used as a substitute of safflower. The safflower flowers are also used as a natural textile dye. The classification of the pigment in safflower is Quinone-type dye. Another name for it is CI Natural Red 26. It is a direct dye. In textiles, the most common colors are yellow, olive and mustard. The colors can further be changed into red and purple, when alkaline processing is used. Matural fibers such as wool and cotton, can be dyed with the plant.
Benefits of safflower oil
Now that you have a brief overview of the benefits of safflower oil, let us look at the benefits in more detail.
Safflower oil for weight loss
If you need to change your diet plan for losing weight, all you need to do is to add safflower oil in your diet. Throughout the whole world, safflower oil has proved to be quite beneficial for people and has facilitated the weight loss process. People around the world have used safflower oil to become physically fit. According to different studies done so far, the serotonin levels in the body are increased by the consumption of safflower oil. The appetite of a person decreases greatly due to high serotonin levels in the body. Not only that but high serotonin levels improve your mood as well- so you don’t have to lose weight being depressed all the times! On the other hand, trying to lose weight through other methods can cause low serotonin in your body, which can manifest as overheating and depression. According to Dr. Oz, a well-known nutritionist, the consumption of safflower oil is very beneficial in losing weight .
If you’re consuming safflower oil, you’re more likely to shed off some kilos of your weight. Safflower oil does that by shedding off the ugly looking fat off your body. However, to lose weight, you should also reduce your caloric consumption, other than adding safflower oil to your diet. Research has shown that adding safflower oil to your diet can help you lose weight both through diet and indirect methods. A study relating to safflower oil was published in 2009 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”. According to that study, use of safflower oil caused reduction in fat of the body and increased the lean mass- which is an indicator of weight loss. However, another study was done to find the effect of safflower oil on weight loss. The study showed that safflower oil doesn’t reduce the weight, however, the use of linolenic acid reduces weight. The reason for these mixed results from different studies is that safflower oil is not a low-calorie food. About 120 calories are present in 1 tablespoon of safflower oil. This amount is more as compared to other weight loss foods. However, it is equal to the caloric content in other oils and fats. 16 calories are present in 1 cup of celery, and in a cup of spinach contains just 7 calories. The idea for weight loss is simple, you need to burn more calories than you consume. So, if you eat too much safflower oil, you’re going to put on weight and not lose it. The key, therefore, is moderation!
Safflower oil for lightening the skin
One of the main benefits of safflower oil is that it can be used for lightening the skin. As a skin lightening agent, safflower oil has been widely used and accepted. The skin of a person becomes soft, due to the use of safflower oil. Also, due to safflower oil, different impurities are removed from the skin.
To use safflower oil for skin, you can add a few drops of safflower oil in milk and then drink it daily before going to bed. Another way you can lighten you skin tone is by making safflower skin lotion. To make safflower lotion, add a few drops of safflower oil in a spoon of milk. Now take this lotion and massage it gently with water. After that, with the help of water, wash your skin. If you use it on regular basis, you will definitely see some changes in your skin. You can also put safflower oil in olive oil or coconut oil, and apply the mixture gently on your skin. You should remember one thing here that you will get the most benefits of safflower oil when you mix it with a liquid medium of some kind. A study was done in 2011 to find the effects of safflower oil on skin. The results of the study showed that safflower oil is quite beneficial for improving the tone, texture and appearance of the skin.
Safflower oil for fighting acne
Safflower oil is blessed with antibacterial properties too. Due to this, it is widely used for medicinal purposes. Use of safflower oil is very popular when it comes to acne. Acne is basically caused due to the growth of bacteria. Acne can cause a breakout if it isn’t handled properly. If you’re looking to reduce the growth of the bacteria and control the zits on your face, safflower oil can be your rescue. Safflower is full of antioxidant and due to these antioxidants, the skin is protected from harmful radicals and bacteria growth. All this adds up to give you a glowing and acne free skin.
To use safflower oil for fighting acne, you need to put some basil leaves in safflower oil and make a paste. Now apply the paste to your skin daily. This will reduce acne significantly. The anti-bacterial agents in both safflower oil and basil leaves will ward off the acne causing bacteria and will give you the youthful looking skin that you’ve always wanted.
Safflower oil for making skin flexible
Safflower oil can be added in bathing water for making the skin softer and over all lighter. Safflower is extremely efficient in rinsing off several impurities from different body parts, especially the skin. Also, the skin becomes fairer. For using safflower oil, add it in bathing water and bathe in that water for the next 25 minutes. This will soften your skin and will lighten up the tone of your skin as well.
Safflower oil reduces marks on skin
If you’re looking for ways to add to your beauty, safflower oil should make it your list as well. In fact, safflower oil is one of the main ingredient of several cosmetic products as well.
For using safflower oil on the skin, take turmeric powder and add it into water. Now add a few drops of safflower oil in it. Now thoroughly mix the ingredients, till they turns into a paste. Now apply the paste onto your skin and let it remain there for about 10 minutes. After that, wash it off. Use of this facemask will give you added benefits because turmeric is also a skin lightener and, when added to safflower oil, gives maximum benefits. If you don’t have turmeric, you can also use sandalwood powder. Safflower oil can also be mixed with other ingredients like milk and honey. Regular use of this mixture will also give you a glowing skin.
Safflower oil for removing suntan
The skin can become tan due to exposure to the sun. Even if you use sunscreen, you will have some tanning. Excessive tanning can result in wrinkling of the skin and dullness of skin tone. You can use safflower oil to reduce tanning. To use safflower oil for removing suntans, take some milk cream in a spoon and add safflower oil in it. Mixture the ingredients together and leave them for a night. On the next day, apply safflower oil on the tanned skin of the body. The dark patches, which have occurred due to sun heat, will be significantly reduced.
Safflower oil for hair
If you’re suffering from hair loss then going for natural ways of treatment is better than those good for nothing, expensive medicines and topical lotions. If these are your thoughts too then safflower oil what you need. Due to safflower oil, the new hair lines are formed and the hair follicles are healed. This happens because safflower oil has many antioxidants in it. According to some researchers, the use safflower oil is beneficial for baldness.
To use safflower oil for hair loss, take some milk and add safflower oil and licorice powder to it. Now apply this paste on the areas where hair is lost. Hair growth is promoted by the regular use of this safflower oil paste. Another way you can promote the growth of healthier hair is by mixing safflower oil with some other oil, say mustard oil. Mix these oils and massage your scalp with the mixture.
Safflower oil for treating respiratory issues
Different respiratory issues are treated by the use safflower oil. These include asthma, cold cough, whooping cough etc. The phlegm (a thick substance secreted by the mucous membrane) is loosened with the help of safflower oil.
Safflower oil for sexual health
Menstrual cramps and post-menstrual syndrome are some discomforting sexual problems among women. These problems can be cured with the help of safflower oil. Similarly, a big sexual problem among men is premature ejaculation. This problem can be dealt with the help of safflower oil. Not only that, but safflower oil also helps to improve male and female fertility. Many sexual illnesses can also be treated with the help of safflower oil.
Safflower oil for mental health
Safflower oil is quite beneficial for mental health issues like depression, and stress. It increases the production of serotonin levels in the body and helps you enjoy a normal mental health. Also, problems like insomnia can be treated with safflower oil. According to some reports, Alzheimer’s disease can also be treated with safflower oil.
Safflower oil against diabetes
Safflower oil is quite beneficial for the sufferers of diabetes. Doctors and medical healthcare professionals approve the use of safflower oil against diabetes and for lowering the blood sugar levels of the body. This is perhaps one of the biggest health benefits of the use of safflower oil. A research was recently conducted to find the effect of safflower oil on women with type 2 diabetes. The results of the study showed that safflower oil is quite beneficial against diabetes and diabetes related complications.
Safflower oil for digestion
Safflower oil is quite beneficial for digestion as the digestive system is strengthened by the use of safflower oil. For strengthening the functioning of stomach, you should add one gram of safflower oil in one liter of water and drink this elixir daily. Safflower oil can be used when the liver or spleen becomes too large.
Safflower oil for pregnancy
If you’re a pregnant female, you can use safflower oil to improve your pelvic flow of blood. Also, the cramps which accompany pregnancy, are reduced. To use safflower oil for pregnancy, you should add safflower oil in milk. Mood swings, depression, stress and tension can also be reduced due to the use of safflower oil during pregnancy.
Safflower Oil : The Best Buy for Hair care
Hair plays an important role in the beauty concepts of both men and women. So its very important to take care of our hair. Often men are suffering from hair loss rather than women. The protein loss is considered as one of the main reasons behind hair loss and baldness.
Safflower oil can be used for hair growth as they prevents the loss of proteins to a large extend. The oil is also a rich source of Vitamin E which is an antioxidant and moisturizer. Vitamin E known as alpha-tocopherol helps in keeping the scalp hydrated and the antioxidant property prevents the hair from getting attacked by free radicals which may appear as a result of internal stress or UV rays.
Safflower has been used for problems like baldness and hair loss. This versatile oil has very high amount of oleic acid which is light and has the ability to penetrate into the skin easily. Vasodilation is its major use. That is when applied to the scalp, it causes widening of smooth muscles leading to more nutrient supply to the hair follicles which results in hair regrowth.
Safflower oil not only promote your hair growth but also protect, nourish and hydrate your hair to a large extent. Also it contains linoleic acid (omega 6 fatty acids) which is a great source of polyunsaturated fatty acids and it prevents the deficiency of essential fatty acids from our body.
Moreover, it is an odorless oil. Therefore when compared to any other natural oil it is easy to use.
Now let us see the seven stage process to apply safflower oil in your hair.
How to apply?
First of all wet your hair and comb it well.
Squeeze a few drops of safflower oil into your palms and rub them together.
Gently apply them onto your scalp.
You can use a comb to disperse the oil.
Leave it untouched for 60-45 minutes.
Rinse thoroughly with a shampoo.
Continue this procedure every week to retain the level of moisture.
Now that we have discussed about the effects of safflower oil on hair, let us see how it helps in improving the quality of our skin.
Safflower oil for Skin care
Safflower oil act as a lubricant that prevents water from leaving your skin. Thus it locks the moisture for glowing the skin. The oil is capable of softening up dry areas, smooth rough patches, and even alleviate beauty woes, improving both the texture and tone of your skin. It’s mostly used alone or can be added to other oils for a beauty boost.
Safflower oil is less aggravating to skin and contains about 78% of linoleic acid, which is undoubtedly a secret weapon in fighting against acne problems. Linoleic acid, its principal fatty acid, is an essential fatty that cannot be synthesized by the human body. Safflower oil occupies a unique position in that it has the highest level of linoleic fatty acid available commercially.
It is required for ensuring the integrity of plasma membranes and for growth, reproduction, skin maintenance, and general body functioning. The health benefits of conjugated linoleic fatty acids are also attracting interest. The potential therapeutic properties are that it is anti carcinogenic, anti atheroscleratic, growth promoting, avoids appearance of wrinkles, promotes elasticity and lean body-mass enhancing.
How to apply safflower oil?
Follow these steps to enjoy the benefits of safflower oil for your skin.
Step 1: Mix 10-15 drops of oil along with an antioxidant carrier oil(preferably grape seed oil). Grape seed oil is capable of absorbing quickly onto the skin. Safflower oil tends to go rancid because of the presence of unsaturated fatty acids.
Step 2: Gently pour this mixture into a bottle. Keep this in a refrigerator so as to prevent it from turning rancid.
Step 3: Wash your face with lukewarm water and soap.
Step 4: Apply a few drops of safflower oil mixture on to your face after cleaning your face. Cover the entire surface of your face with this before going outside as this is a natural sunscreen, capable of blocking out harmful UV rays.
Step 5: Massage the oil gently into your skin. Avoid the entry of oil into your eyes. Target the spots on your face that are very dry, adding a couple extra drops of oil for moisturization. You can also massage any parts of your face that feel sore or swollen, as safflower oil function as an anti-inflammatory, which helps in reduce swelling in bruises, joints or sprains.
Following the above mentioned procedures on a routine basis will surely give you effective results.
Even Sunflower oil contains only 65% of omega 6 fatty acids. Improves Hair Growth : Safflower oil is rich in oleic acid which is capable of safeguarding both scalp and hair. It improves the circulation in scalp thereby stimulating hair growth and strength to hair follicles.Safflower oil is helpful for dry, perm or colored hair.
Safflower oil with oleic acid has a light texture and easily penetrates the skin. It nourishes, hydrates and protects the hair as well.
Safflower oil for hair growth
You can use safflower oil for hair growth as this oil prevents the loss of proteins. The protein loss is one of the main reasons of hair damages and its loss. The oil is a good source of vitamin E that is an antioxidant and moisturizer. Being a moisturizer, vitamin E aids in the scalp hydration and its antioxidant properties help prevent hair loss as it fights free radicals, appeared as a result of internal stress or UV exposure. Free radicals are dangerous for hair as they damage hair cells and suppress full-fledged hair growth.
Moreover, when safflower oil is applied, it may widen the blood vessels. As a result more nutrients enter follicles of hair through blood circulation and promote the hair growth.