Medicinal plants

Safflower oil

Safflower plant: characteristics

Safflower, whose scientific name is Carthamus tinctorius, is also known as safflower as it is very similar to saffron due to its characteristics. It is a spontaneous plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. Safflower grows spontaneously in continental climates, and is an annual species that can reach up to one and a half meters in height. Its tap root is also very deep. The upper leaves are thorny and inflorescences develop from each branch of the plant, inside which there are about a hundred tubular flowers. Finally, each of these inflorescences is surrounded by thorny bracts. The flowers are very showy yellow, reddish or whitish. The harvest in the case of crops takes place in July and August.

Safflower oil: how is it obtained?

Safflower oil is obtained from the seeds of the plant. From a very small number of safflower seeds it is possible to obtain high quantities of oil, which can have numerous uses not only in the food industry, but also and above all in phytotherapy. One of the simplest ways to extract oil from seeds is mechanical. For this type of extraction, the seeds must first be carefully cleaned, and then cooked at high temperatures (120-150 degrees centigrade) for a few hours. Once cooked, the seeds must be pressed in order to extract the oil, or in any case finely chopped. At this point it is necessary to carefully filter the oil obtained before bottling it. The mechanical extraction process is the least harmful and can also be performed by non-professionals.

Safflower oil: properties

It seems that safflower oil is used as a dietary supplement to fight overweight. Several studies have shown the effectiveness of this extract on human metabolism, which is accelerated by the consumption of safflower oil. The function for which, however, this product is mostly contemplated in herbal medicine, is to fight bad cholesterol. In fact, it seems that the oil obtained from this plant contains important active ingredients, and is rich in omega 6 and vitamin k. The presence of linoleic acid would be the reason why safflower oil would help in the fight and prevention of harmful cholesterol. Among the other functions of safflower oil we remember the coagulant and anti-carcinogenic action, its soothing action against cough and asthma and its preventive action against osteoporosis.

Safflower oil: Safflower oil: cosmetics

Beyond its slimming function, safflower oil is also used in cosmetics for the production of products that treat other types of imperfections. In fact, safflower oil has great moisturizing, nourishing, emollient and restructuring properties. Thanks to these beneficial qualities it is used massively in the production of creams, shampoos, lotions, cocoa butters and many other products. It is therefore used in the treatment of dry, chapped skin prone to psoriasis. Since safflower oil, unlike other oils, has very little greasiness, it is particularly suitable for massages that want to combat skin asphyxiation, making it smooth and velvety. Finally, it is also recommended to use it in the treatment of dermatosis and couperose.

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