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Asian Journal of Plant Sciences
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 9  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 299 - 306

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) the Underutilized and Neglected Crop: A Review

V. Emongor    

Abstract: Safflower (Carthamus tintorius L.) belongs to the family Compositae or Asteracea. It’s a multipurpose oilseed crop grown mainly for its high quality edible oil and bird seed. Initially safflower oil was used as a source of oil for the paint industry, now its edible oil is used for cooking, making margarine and salad oil. Safflower is also grown for its flowers which are used as cut flowers, colouring and flavouring foods, making dyes for the textile industry, livestock forage, vegetable, making herbal teas and medicinal purposes. In China safflower is grown as a medicinal plant for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, male and female sterility, lowering blood cholesterol, release of retained placenta and still birth, induction of labour in expectant women, delayed, heavy and painful menstrual periods, various types of rheumatism (sciatica, thorax, arthritis), respiratory diseases (whooping cough, chronic bronchitis), gastritis, etc. Despite the many uses of safflower, it has remained a minor crop. Therefore, it is essential for the scientific community to carry out research on this crop and popularize it as a commercial crop for development of pharmaceuticals, edible oil, paint and varnishes industry, dye extraction (carthamin), source of α-tocopherol, livestock feed, vegetable and cut flower.

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