Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) is an uncommon however pretty addition to any backyard. It produces sensible crimson, yellow or orange flowers atop stems (as much as three toes tall) lined with spiny thistle-like foliage. It has the excellence as being one of many oldest crops identified to mankind and is believed to have been grown in Egypt over four,000 years in the past, and probably within the Euphrates earlier than that. As you possibly can think about, a plant that has withstood the take a look at of time for thus lengthy has been utilized in many various methods by totally different cultures since its beginnings within the Fertile Crescent area. Learn on to find some safflower historical past highlights and the makes use of of safflower crops in gardens over time.
Historical past of Safflowers
In Historic Egypt, safflower brightly dyed bindings used to wrap mummies in addition to supplied an orange tint to ceremonial ointments utilized in non secular rituals. Garlands of safflower blossoms had been positioned in tombs (such because the pharaoh Tutankhamun), with the intent of offering consolation to the deceased in afterlife. Charred safflower crops had been used to make Egyptian Kohl (beauty eyeliner). Safflower oil was additionally used to mild the lamps of the pharaohs.
Within the 2nd century BC, safflower was launched to China by the Chinese language diplomat Zhang Qian (Han Dynasty) upon his return from expeditions to the west. Dried flowers and flower extracts are a typical part of many Chinese language medicines. Safflower petals, specifically, in accordance with conventional Chinese language drugs, promoted blood circulation and facilitated the therapeutic of fractures, contusions and strains. Safflower was additionally utilized in historical Chinese language cosmetics (blush – beginning in 1760 BCE) and as a clothes dye. Chinese language girls massaged their scalps with safflower oil to take care of lustrous and wholesome hair.
Safflower made its approach into Europe from Egypt in 1551. In the event you’ve ever used the phrase “crimson tape” to explain authorities perform (wouldn’t that be all of us?) then you definitely’d have an interest to know that safflower performs a job in that. In 16th century England, authorized paperwork had been tied along with crimson tape to discourage and present proof of tampering and safflower was used to dye these bindings crimson. Within the 18th century, safflower was used to reinforce meals as Italy, France and Britain used safflower dye to paint cheese and taste sausage.
What concerning the historical past of safflowers in the USA? A College of California analysis station report from 1901 is the primary file of a safflower planting within the U.S. Quick ahead to 1925 when safflower seed was obtained from Russia and India by the USA Division of Agriculture (USDA) for analysis and evaluation. It was decided that safflower had potential as an oilseed crop, however on the time its oil content material was deemed too low to be worthwhile. Analysis continued and extra illness resistant varieties had been developed with much less hull and better oil content material. Within the 1950’s, business manufacturing of safflower started in earnest to course of safflower as an oil base for paints (it’s nonetheless utilized in paints and varnishes at the moment). Because the 1960’s approached, the market demand for safflower was on the rise resulting from safflower’s rising reputation as an edible vegetable oil.
To recap, over the lengthy course of safflower historical past, this plant has been used as a dye, in cosmetics, medicines, meals and as a byproduct in paints – simply to call just a few. However – is safflower nonetheless related at the moment? It positive is. Safflower remains to be used at the moment and offers three principal merchandise: oil (for margarine and salad oils), meal for livestock and birdseed. It’s grown in about 60 nations with world seed manufacturing reaching round 800,000 tons per 12 months. India accounts for half of the world’s manufacturing adopted by the USA.