Many of us are already familiar with sunflower oil...but how much have you heard about lovely safflower?
An all-in-one miracle oil, it may sound similar to sunflower oil but it boasts quite different characteristics and benefits.
A member of the daisy, or Asteraceae family, safflower sits among the oldest of cultivated plants. The oil from the safflower plant’s seeds has been known for centuries as a 'folk' remedy for various conditions, from diabetes, heart disease, and fever, to breathing problems, chest pain, and much more. This impressive oil is also used in cooking and in skincare formulations, found to be useful in the treatment of acne, psoriasis, eczema, and more.
Perhaps you are wondering, how on earth could one plant do all of that? Before we dive into the abundance of advantages that safflower oil has on one’s health and skin, let’s take a look at where exactly this plant comes from...
If Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun wanted to spend the rest of eternity with safflowers in his tomb, they must be truly magical…
The use of safflowers, or Carthamus Tinctorius, dates back to the time of ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. It is thought that safflowers were originally cultivated in the Fertile Crescent nearly 4,000 years ago. In the 18th century, the dye from safflower was exported to France, Italy, and England to color cheeses and sausages. India is also known to have used the safflower as a dye in paints and is the largest leading commercial producer of safflower oil worldwide to this day.
The use of safflower for its oil emerged in the USA just recently, in 1925 in Nebraska and Colorado and wasn’t considered profitable until about 30 years later. Production of safflower oil eventually made its way to other parts of the U.S., including California, North Dakota, Montana, as well as South Dakota, Idaho, and Arizona.
Since the 1960s, safflower oil’s popularity has significantly increased. You can now find this oil in many grocery and health food stores.
Now that we've laid down some history of this ancient plant, you may be wondering what exactly is safflower?
Two particular variations of the safflower plant are the type with a lot of oleic acid and the type with high concentrations of linoleic acid.
The linoleic type of safflower oil has 75% more polyunsaturated fat than olives, soybeans, and peanut oils. This polyunsaturated profile is the backbone behind the oil’s beneficial results on the skin.
How is safflower oil made? There are two ways of extracting the oil from the plant’s seeds: chemical and mechanical.
In chemical extraction, the oil is refined through heating and by adding chemicals. The end product is a very pale~colored oil with a neutral taste. Unfortunately, chemical extraction reduces the nutritional value in the oil and can also be pretty harmful to the environment. If you want to reduce your environmental footprint while still enjoying the many benefits of this oil, you want to be using mechanically processed safflower oil.
Mechanical extraction, also known as “raw” extraction, uses no heat or chemicals and is the most nutrient-rich method in extracting the oil. When extracted mechanically, the oil boasts a deep yellow~orange color and a nutty flavor.
As previously stated, the remedial benefits of safflower date back to ancient times. But why are people still using this oil today?
Let's take a look at some of the benefits that have people, thousands of years later, still in love with safflower oil:
- Helps fight heart disease
- Reduces joint and muscle pain from injuries
- Alleviates discomfort from arthritis
- Helps with menstrual cramps
- Treats fever and coughs
- Helps with breathing problems and chest pain
Sounds too good to be true? The health advantages of using safflower oil can be credited to its fatty acid profile that works toward promoting circulation, lowering blood pressure, and stimulating the heart.
If a healthy heart isn’t convincing enough to start using safflower oil in your day~to~day life, perhaps its impressive advantages for skincare are...
This super moisturizing oil could be just the thing that your skin has been looking for.
The high linoleic variety is rich in omega 6 Linoleic acid, an EFA that we need to consume through diet and topical application, playing an important role in skin integrity. Applied topically through a good formula, safflower’s anti~inflammatory effects can help to unclog pores and promote healthy skin cell turnover. It can also help to alleviate eczema symptoms through both diet and topical application. The same composition that gives safflower oil the ability to penetrate the skin and perform these small miracles, its polyunsaturated nature, also make it best applied topically via a suitable formula that accounts for its sensitivity to oxidation and utilizes synergetic stabilizing ingredients and packaging.
Safflower oil is truly a multi~purpose natural ingredient that can bestow a host of benefits upon your health. From nurturing the heart to treating fevers and coughs, to achieving beautiful, moisturized skin.
We embrace the ancient oil that has survived the historical transition from Pharaohs and ancient civilization to modern~day health usage, by applying it across our well-considered formulas.
The Power of the Seed by Susan M Parker