Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) is a plant known already in the ancient times, but nowadays rarely used in cosmetics. Safflower’s oil is still used in Asiatic countries but a natural dye, cartamin, has been replaced by cheaper synthetic dyes. In recent years studies have been conducted confirming safflower properties used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. Those studies confirmed anti-radical efficiency of alcohol extract of safflower flowers. Also pain relief properties of oil applied locally, used for years in pharmacopuncuture in Korea, were confirmed. Safflower extracts and oil are promising ingredients of skin whitening cosmetics due to the content of strong inhibitors of melanin synthesis.
Dried safflower flowers are used in the traditional Chinese medicine as an agent improving blood circulation. They contain flavones, polyacetylenes, serotonin derivatives, steroids, alkandiols and glycosides. They have tonic action on liver, as well as diuretic and expectorant properties. In Indian medicine they are used in treatment of boils, dermatitis, mycosis and haemorrhoids. Safflower petals are, first of all, a source of dyes that were already used in the ancient times to dye food and fabrics. Depending on a region in which the plant is cultivated, its petals contain up to 2 % of protein, 4-6 % of oil and 0.7-1% of cartamin (a dye soluble in alkaline solutions). That dye was supplanted, when much cheaper synthetic dyes were developed.
Source: research gate