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Safflower powder – a valuable oil and a vibrant dye

With its bright orange or red petals and thorny leaves to deter pests, the safflower is found today in all parts of the world. It is also known as dyer’s saffron or false saffron. The valuable safflower oil is obtained from the seeds of the plant. While it is not suitable for high-temperature cooking like frying or roasting, it is often used for braising and in dressings and dips. Both the oil and the processed petals of the safflower are used in skincare products.

About safflower

  • INCI name (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients name): Carthamus Tinctorius Flower (Safflower) Powder, Carthamus Tinctorius Flower Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil
  • Natural (safflower)
  • Uses: Lip care, creams, shower gels, bath oils
  • Special properties of safflower: Does not leave a greasy film, retains moisture and prevents dehydration, lipid-replenishing, a good dye

A skincare ingredient and a dye

Safflower is mainly valued for the oil that can be obtained from its seeds. Safflower oil has a high proportion of linoleic acid and it also contains vitamin E. It is often added to bath oils, shower gels and creams due to its lipid-replenishing properties. The oil is also used to make soft soaps.

In addition to the skin-nourishing oil derived from its seeds, the safflower is also used to produce a natural dye. The red pigment carthamin and the yellow pigment carthamidin are obtained from the flower’s petals. As long ago as 3500 B.C., the ancient Egyptians used safflower to dye their linen robes red. Today, the colour-giving properties of safflower are primarily used by the textile industry. It is also used in cosmetics and in food products when a particular colouring is required.

The reason for the name “false saffron”

Dried saffron strands and safflower look similar at first glance. On closer inspection, however, the subtle differences can be seen with the naked eye. Since safflower has a sweet aroma and a floral note, it is often used as a spice. It is also usually cheaper than saffron and somewhat milder in taste. Because of these qualities, it is often used as an alternative to saffron. It also gives dishes like soups, broths or rice a yellowy-orange colour due to its strong pigmentation.

The statements about properties, effects and effectiveness made here refer exclusively to the plant and its components/products.

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