Safflower is a showy grass belonging to the family Compositae tubulifloras. It usually reaches two feet tall and its stem is straight and erect, the leaves have formed between ovate and lanceolate. Have a large flower heads, enveloped by the upper leaves. The flowers are bright yellow and eventually turn orange. The fruits are prismatic, with a narrow base and a length less than 1 meter.
One grows crops in certain areas of Catalonia, Murcia, Valencia and Andalucia, also found growing wild everywhere.
Flowers in summer, all season. For medicinal purposes interested in flowers and fruits. The flowers of the flower heads are harvested just before they wilt and taken to dry as soon as possible, if there is no drying, drying in the shade will. As for the fruits are collected when the plant will dry out.
The fruits are abundant unsaturated fats. These fats are obtained by prensación of fruit, yielding up to 23% safflower oil. As for the flowers, the most characteristic of them are as dyestuffs: a red (called red safflower) and yellow, the latter has been widely used as a counterfeit saffron. Moreover, flowers also contain flavonoids and a bitter principle called Arctia, found throughout the plant.
Safflower oil has been widely used as a laxative or purgative, depending on the dose, but this oil contains a series of features that make it worthy of a cholesterol-lowering action. Indeed, for her dominance in unsaturated fatty acids, is used to reduce excess blood cholesterol. In general, the use of unsaturated fats is highly recommended for everyone, regardless of whether or not suffer some sort of hypercholesterolemia, ie to maintain abnormally high levels of blood cholesterol. These fats are found primarily in oily fish, vegetable oils, etc..
Other actions of this plant, less known, are due to compounds present in the flowers, these exert an antifungal activity and antinematodos. In India, this plant is used externally as an analgesic. In any case, the main virtue of safflower is to be a good laxative, but as always, is to be used sporadically and always under medical supervision, as when used to lower cholesterol.
Formerly the two dyes were removed before we mentioned: in yellow dyed wool, but the color varies with sunlight, so it is dispensed with its use.
Infusion. From the flowers add a teaspoon of flowers to one cup of boiling water. It can take up to 3 cups a day.
Emulsion. With the fruits, crushed and let them sit behind, you get a laxative or purgative emulsion, depending on the amount taken.
Oil. The oil is used in normal feeding, after receiving appropriate treatment.
FAMILY: Composite Tubulifloras
PART USED: Fruits and flowers
CASTILIAN: Azafranillo, cártamo
CATALAN: Alasflor, safranó
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