Introduction of Hong Hua:Safflower or Flos Carthami.
✵The article gives records of the herb Safflower, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Carthamus tinctorius L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Safflower, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.
Pin Yin Name: Hóng Huā.
English Name: Safflower.
Latin Name: Flos Carthami.
Property and flavor: warm, pungent.
Brief introduction: The herb Flos Carthami is the dried flower of Carthamus tinctorius L., used to activate blood flow, eliminate stasis and alleviate pain for the treatment of amenorrhea, chest pain, abdominal mass, and traumatic injuries. The herb is commonly known as Flos Carthami, Safflower, Hóng Huā, or Cǎo Hóng Huā.
Botanical source: Common herbal classics and other famous herbal classics defined the herb Flos Carthami (Safflower) as the dried flower of the plant species (1). Carthamus tinctorius L. It is a plant of the Carthamus genus, the Asteraceae family (Compositae, daisy family) of the Campanulales order. This commonly used species is introduced:
(1).Carthamus tinctorius L.
Botanical description: Carthamus tinctorius L., is commonly known as Hóng Huā, or Hóng Huā Cǎo (means red flower grass), Hóng Huā Cài (means red flower vegetable), a member of the Asteraceae family (Compositae, daisy family), which is a thistle-like plant with a strong central branch stem, a varying number of branches, and a tap-root system. The taproot of safflower can penetrate to depths of 8 to 10 feet (2.4~3.05 meters) if subsoil temperature and moisture permit. As a result, safflower is more tolerant of drought than small grains.
Carthamus tinctorius L., is a biennial herb, the plant grows up to 50~100 cm high. The stem is upright, the upper part is branched, white or whitish (pale white), smooth, and glabrous. Leaves are alternate, sessile; cauline leaves in the middle and lower part are lanceolate, ovate-lanceolate or oblong oval, 7~15 cm long, 2.5~6 cm wide, margin is large serrated, biserrate (double serrate), serrulate or entire, rarely pinnately parted, top of the teeth has acicula, acicula is 1~1.5 mm long, leaves at upper part are gradually smaller, lanceolate, margin is serrated, acicula on the teeth top is longer, up to 3 mm long; all leaves are firm and hard, coriaceous, both surfaces are glabrous, no glandular dots, shiny.
Many capitulum (flower heads), are arranged in the corymbals at the top of branches and stems, surrounded by phyllary (involucral bract), each branch usually has 1~5 capitulum (flower heads) and contains 15~20 seeds per capitulum; bracts are elliptic or ovate-lanceolate, its length with acicula on front end is 2.5~3 cm, with or without acicula on edge; general involucre is oval (egg-shaped), 2.5 cm in diameter; phyllary (involucral bract) are in 4 layers, the out layer is harp-shaped, the middle part or lower part is shrunk, leaves at upper part is green, edge has no acicula or has pectinate acicula, part below the shrunk part is yellowish white; the middle and inner layers are dural, oblanceolate-elliptic to long oblanceolate, up to 2.2 cm long, apex is acuminate; all bracts are glabrous, no glandular dots; flowerets (floscules) are red, orange-red (nacarat), all are hermaphroditic, corolla is 2.8 cm long, corolla tube is 2 cm long, corolla lobes nearly reach to the base of limb.
Achenes are obovate, 5.5 mm long, 5 mm wide, cream white, 4 ridges, and no pappus. Its flowering period and fruiting period are from May to August.
Ecological Environment: Carthamus tinctorius L., is cultivated in most areas of China and mainly grows and spread in China's northwest and northern areas, also widely cultivated. It is harvested when the flower turns from yellow to red in summer, the flower is dried in the air or sun for use.
Traditionally, the crop was grown for its flowers, used for coloring and flavoring foods and making dyes, especially before cheaper aniline dyes became available, and in herb medicines.
Growth characteristics: Carthamus tinctorius prefers a warm and dry climate, resistant to cold, drought, saline and alkaline, and barren. It is appropriate to choose a sunny field, high in altitude and dry, deep soil layers, medium fertility, and sandy loam with good drainage. Avoid continuous cropping, and avoid waterlogging in the flowering phase. Better choose Leguminosae or grass family crops as the previous crop, it could be intercropped with vegetables. The most suitable temperature for germination is 25 °C (Celsius, or 77 degrees Fahrenheit), seedlings can tolerate low temperature to - 5 °C (Celsius, or 23 degrees Fahrenheit).
Safflower has flowers that might be red, orange, yellow, or white. The flower color is usually yellow or orange, although some varieties have red or white flowers. The dried flowers could be used to obtain carthamin, a red textile dye that was commercially important in the past, later it was replaced by synthetic aniline dyes, except in local areas of southwestern Asia.
The oil obtained from the seed is the chief modern use of the plant. The seed oil content ranges are 30~45 percent. Safflower oil does not yellow with age, making it useful in preparing varnish and paint. Most of the oil, however, is consumed in the form of soft kinds of margarine, salad oil, and cooking oil. It is highly valued for dietary reasons because of its high proportion of polyunsaturated fats. The meal, or cake residue, is used as a protein supplement for livestock. Safflower is cultivated mainly in the western areas of China, it has been introduced as an oil crop in the USA (the United States of America), Australia, Canada, and other countries.
Characters of herbs: The herb is a discoid flower without an ovary, 1~2 cm long. The surface is reddish yellow (Titian) or red. The corolla tube is thin and long, the apex is 5-lobed, lobes are narrow strip-shaped, 5~8 mm long. 5 stamens, anthers are aggregated into a tubular shape, yellowish white. The stigma is long cylindrical, and slightly bifurcate at the top. The texture of the herb is soft. The herb has a slight fragrance, it tastes slightly bitter. The herb of a better grade has a red long corolla, bright, the texture is soft and without acicula.
Pharmacological actions: ①.exciting effect on the uterus; ②.slightly excite the heart, increase coronary blood flow and myocardial nutritional blood flow; ③.inhibit platelet aggregation; ④.enhance fibrinolytic enzyme activity.
Medicinal efficacy: Activate blood circulation and stimulate the menstrual flow, disperse blood stasis and relieve pain. It is indicated for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea (abdominal pain after menstruation), dystocia (difficult labour), stillbirth (stillborn foetus), apoplexy, dysfunction of the urinary bladder and cardiodynia, apoplexia and hemiplegia, lochiostasis, postpartum lochiostasis, abdominal mass, abdominal mass and a lump in the abdomen, pain of blood stasis, carbuncle and swelling, injury from falling down, arthralgia (pain of joints), pain of swelling and ulcer, macula.
Administration of Flos Carthami (Hóng Huā):
Administration Guide of Flos Carthami (Hóng Huā)
①.Internally:3~9 grams; Internally:water decoction,1~2 qian (about 3~6 grams), or prepare to powder or infusing in wine, extract juice from fresh herb. Externally:prepare to ground herb powder and sprinkle apply; ②.Internally:water decoction,3~10 grams, better use small dosage for nourish blood and harmonize the blood, better use big dosage for activating blood circulation and dissipate stasis.
Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions:the herb Flos Carthami should be used cautiously during pregnancy, or should forbidden using during pregnancy.
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1.Introduction of Hong Hua:Safflower or Flos Carthami.