Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) is a thistle-like flower in the sunflower family that is grown primarily for its seed and oil. It is one of the world’s oldest crops. The extract is produced from the brilliant red flowers, which are cleaned, extracted with ethanol, and freeze dried to a powder. The flowers contain components like carthamin, carthamidine, isocarthamidin, hydroxysafflor yellow-A, safflower yellow, safflamin C, and luteolin.1
Traditionally, Safflower has been used for both foods and herbal medicine.1 It is known to treat menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea), postpartum abdominal pain, joint pain, hemorrhage and osteoporosis.1,2 Flower extracts from Safflower may have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-tumor, and anti-inflammatory effects.3 It has been suggested in preclinical and lab studies that the flower extract of safflower rich in hydroxysafflor yellow-A may promote hair growth by promoting genes involved in hair growth and suppressing genes involved in hair loss as shown.4
Asgarpanah J, Kazemivash N. Phytochemistry, pharmacology and medicinal properties of Carthamus tinctorius L. Chin J Integr Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):153-9. doi: 10.1007/s11655-013-1354-5. Epub 2013 Jan 31. Review. PubMed PMID: 23371463.
Zhou X, Tang L, Xu Y, Zhou G, Wang Z. Towards a better understanding of medicinal uses of Carthamus tinctorius L. in traditional Chinese medicine: a phytochemical and pharmacological review. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):27-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.10.050. Epub 2013 Nov 7. PubMed PMID: 24212075.
Lee H, Cho H, Son M, Sung GH, Lee T, Lee SW, Jung YW, Shin YS, Kang H. Dysregulation of KSHV replication by extracts from Carthamus tinctorius L. J Microbiol. 2013 Aug;51(4):490-8. doi: 10.1007/s12275-013-3282-7. Epub 2013 Aug 30. PubMed PMID: 23990301.
Junlatat J, Sripanidkulchai B. Hair growth-promoting effect of Carthamus tinctorius floret extract. Phytother Res. 2014 Jul;28(7):1030-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5100. Epub 2013 Dec 11. PubMed PMID: 24338940.