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The history of Cold Pressed Safflower Oil
The history of Cold Pressed Safflower Oil

The history, importance and the areas of use of the Safflower plant in the world

It is suggested that the plant safflower, which is also known as the false saffron, American saffron or shoeshine saffron, which is an annual plant with wide leafs, yellow, red, orange, white and cream colored flowers, which has thorny and non thorny variants, which is resistant to the drought with an average oil ratio of %30-50, is originated from the Southern Asia as it was first cultivated in the southern parts of Asia, in the middle east and Mediterranean countries. It is also indicated that this plant spread from this geography to the rest of the world. It is even asserted that this plant was cultivated in Egypt around 3500 years ago and thus this plant originated from here onwards.

Today the Safflower has a total of 25 wild variant, spread across the world. It is known that its cultivation has been undertaken in China, Japan, India, Egypt and Iran almost since the prehistoric times. In the middle ages, its cultivation took part in Italy, France and Spain and after the continent of America was discovered by the Spanish, it was brought to Mexico then Venezuela and Colombia from therein.  Its introduction to USA occurred in 1925 by sea.

The Safflower was cultivated in those aforementioned countries for medical purposes and due to the dye in its flower, for food and fabric dyeing first, then it was cultivated for the oil within its seed.

The oil, extracted from its seeds, is used for cooking purposes and has high quality. The ratio of the unsaturated fat acids, which is very important for human health within Safflower oil is also quite high and is between %90 - 93. This ratio is %86 in sunflower. In recent years, studies on the variants with high oleic acid yield (Omega - 9) gathered speed. Today, species with an oleic acid ratio up to %85 is available. Given that the oleic acid ratio of the olive oil is between %56 - %83; it is clear that the oleic type Cold Pressed Safflower Oil is at least equal to the olive oil in terms of the nutrient value. Just like the other plants containing oil; the oil that is extracted from the Safflower (especially the oleic variants) can be used for producing bio-diesel fuel.

In China, the Safflower plant was cultivated almost solely for its flowers because its flowers were consumed as a herbal tea as they could be utilized for the treatment of various illnesses. The main reason for its consumption in the form of tea is that the flower part contained amino acids, mineral substances and several vitamins such as B1, B12, C and E. The Safflower has been successfully used for medical purposes during the menstruation periods of women, for cardiovascular diseases and for relieving the inflammations and pain that may occur due to trauma. The accuracy of such use were supported by the clinical and laboratory studies as well. The clinical studies indicated that the Safflower decreases the high blood pressure and allows the tissues to absorb more oxygen by increasing the blood flow rate within the veins.

In Afghanistan and India, the tea, made from the leaves of Safflower has been used to prevent miscarriages. The studies, conducted in recent years, reveal the existence of antioxidant substances within Safflower plants. It was further indicated that the yellow colored flowers contain much more antioxidant substances compared to its flowers of other colors and the use of yellow flowers for brewing tea would be much beneficial. 

It is reported that in India and Pakistan, almost all parts of the Safflower herb is sold in Herbalists and the Safflower in those regions of the world, is used for the treatment of various illnesses and is further used as an aphrodisiac.

In Middle Eastern countries, India and Africa, the Safflower plant has been used as an antipyretic, as antidote against poisons due to the fact that it induces vomiting and as a lapactic agent against constipation.

In Bangladesh, grinded Safflower seeds are mixed with the mustard oil and the mixture is used as an ointment against the rheumatism. 

In addition, the Ethiopia and Sudan, dried Safflower seeds are mixed with chickpea, wheat and barley and are consumed as an appetizer.

In Egypt; the grinded Safflower seeds are consumed by mixing them with sesame.