The growing demand for vegetable fats as food purposes has entailed a considerable expansion of oilseed crops all over the world. Although safflower ranks last in oilseed crops, it includes some valuable characteristics that have made the species famous throughout the centuries, in particular as a multi-purpose oilseed, medicinal plant and a source of carthamin, a dye. For human nutrition, safflower oil has a nutritional value that similar to olive oil; moreover, the high oleic type is very suitable for hypo-cholesterol diets, for frying and in the preparation of frozen food. The high linoleic type may also used for industrial purposes such as preparation of varnishes, the production of biodiesel and alcohols to use in producing surfactants. Safflower is also a source of important chemicals like a-tocopherol and carthamin. In this review, after illustrating the uses of safflower as a oil and medicinal plant and the major characteristics of the oil, seed and flower, a brief analysis of world-wide current situation and future prospects of safflower utilization are presented.