Family: Asteraceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Kushum, Kajira.

English Name: Safflower.

Description of the Plant

A thisle-like annual herb, about 60 cm high. Leaves sessile, rigid, broad-lanceolate, spinosely serrate. Flowery orange-red in large terminal heads, 2.5-3.3 cm long.

Using Information

Young plants are efficacious in colds. Leaves are laxative, diuretic and appetizer; cure urinary discharges and good for the eyes. Flowers are hypnotic, diuretic, expectorant and tonic to the liver; cures inflammations, boils, ringworms, scabies, leucoderma, piles, bronchitis and jaundice; improve the complexion. Hot infusion of the dried flowers is diaphoretic; used in jaundice, nasal catarrh and muscular rheumatism.

Cold infusion of flowers is laxative and toinc; used in measles and scarlatina to favour efflorescence of eruptions. Seeds are purgative, carminative, bechic and aphrodisiac; cure scabies and catarrh. Seed oil has got the same properties as the seed; it is useful in paralysis and itch and as a liniment in rheumatism. Root is diuretic.

EtOH(50%) extract of seeds is spasmolytic. Mixture of oil with rice bran oil lowered blood cholesterol in human. Oil increased plasma insulin in human (Asolkar et al., 1992).


Chemical Constituents

Safflower contains carthamone, lignans and a polysaccharide. Aerial parts of the plant contain acetylenic compounds. Flowers contain eleven triterpene alcohols, helianol being the major one, a yellow pigment, safflomin A and the coloring matter, carthamin. Seed is rich in fixed oil, contains a bitter principle, matairesinol mono-glucosides. It also contains steroidal glycosides and sterioid di-glucosides, aellobioside, tracheloside; cathartic lignan glycoside, 2-OH-arctiin, luteolin 7-glucoside, kaempferol-3-rhamnoglucoside and phenolic constituents. Seeds also contain heptadecatetraene and polyacetylenes. Three novel antioxidative serotonin derivatives have been isolated from the oil cake. Fruit contains alkaloids (Ghani, 2003).


Cultivated as an oil crop.

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