The safflower plant is an unusual breed, with a ruggedly beautiful, thistle-reminiscent, sunset-colored one- to five-headed blossoms and its one deep, stubborn taproot that enables it to survive even in arid environments with seasonal rains. As one of humanity’s oldest crops, it has long been cherished for its kaleidoscope of uses: ancient Egyptians used it for dyes, Greeks grew it for medicinal purposes, and Asian producers used it to flavor foods and create red and yellow dyes. During the last half century, however, safflower oil has made its official debut as a commercial vegetable oil, extracted from the plant’s seeds.
Improve the Flavor and Your Immunity in One Go!
Safflower seed oil itself is flavorless, nutritionally similar to sunflower oil; it is popularly enjoyed as a salad dressing, margarine base, and as a cooking oil. The predominant edible oil market is for the type of safflower that produces oleic acid (rich in monounsaturated fats—and excellent for baking and cooking) rather than that which produces linoleic acid (richer in polyunsaturated fats—this type is better for raw recipes like salad dressings; it can go rancid more quickly, so definitely store it in a cool dark place). Open a cookbook and you’ll find it as a common ingredient for anything from desserts to breads. It has a relatively high smoke point, has a more neutral flavor than olive oil or canola oil, is often less expensive, and provides multiple benefits when enjoyed in moderation.
Some of our favorite recipes include:
- This adorable batch of flat-belly mini-muffins that you can indulge in, guilt-free! So easy to make, so good to eat, and so fun to share.
- This warm, mouthwatering spinach salad dressing, ideally prepared with a mixture of spinach, onions, mushrooms, bean sprouts, bacon, and hard-cooked eggs.
- Chicken marinade using high-heat safflower oil, combined with herbs and spices of your choosing (why not add some paprika, garlic, and cayenne pepper?) Let the flavors soak in overnight and enjoy your chicken for lunch the next day!
It doesn’t just help you prepare a scrumptious and healthy meal—though that’s pretty awesome in and of itself. Safflower oil has been shown to increase the “good” cholesterol (HDL), lower the “bad” kind (LDL)[i], and help prevent coronary heart disease[ii], high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and free radical damage.[iii]
Shed the Toxins and Let Yourself Glow.
Safflower’s lubricating, occlusive properties help to deeply nourish the skin, keeping it moisturized, soft, and supple by prompting it to retain water and moisture. This is largely thanks to the oil’s rich natural composition of linoleic acid, the omega-6 fatty acid that is packed with spectacular vitamins. It’s suitable for eliminating dryness, chafed skin, and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, blackheads, and acne; it can safely be used even to eliminate everyday dirt and oil that collects in your skin’s pores. In its wake, your skin will be left looking and feeling deliciously hydrated, clearly refreshed given its new healthy glow and improved elasticity that helps soften wrinkles and crinkles. The linoleic acid also stimulates the regeneration of skin cells, translating to cleared blemishes and scars that will leave you looking young and lovelier that ever.
Don’t forget that your scalp is a part of your skin, and it can considerably benefit from an application of safflower oil. Have you been trying to find an effective, simple, and healthy remedy to replace your dry, lusterless hair with healthy, luscious locks? The vitamins in safflower oil stimulate hair growth and follicle strength. Massage a bit of oil gently against your scalp to earn the added benefits of improved blood circulation and unclogged pores.
- Weekly safflower oil hair treatment: Rub 2-3 drops of safflower oil in your palms; apply to your hair from the roots to the ends; leave it for at least an hour and rinse thoroughly.
Don’t Let Mother Nature Get to You.
For many women throughout the world, PMS isn’t a joke. If you suffer from painful or uncomfortable menstruation cycles, say hello to your new best friend. Safflower oil has been proven to regulate the prostaglandins in the body—which are to blame for dramatic hormonal fluctuations and symptoms—thereby decreasing symptom severity and even helping you regulate your cycles naturally without the perilous side-effects of chemical supplements.[iv] By adjusting the prostaglandins, safflower oil further boosts your immune system and helps regulate the natural functions of your body.
Historically and to this day, a variety of remedies incorporate safflower oil to prevent stroke and atherosclerosis, treat tumors and fever, induce sweating and loosen phlegm during colds, maintain skin and eye health, lower inflammation and relieve constipation, eliminate whiteheads and blackheads, and ease join pain due to traumatic injuries or arthritis.[v]
The Essence of Balance…
Safflower oil is generally considered extremely safe. As always, however, take precautions to ensure that you don’t overdo it. You should avoid its consumption if you have a respective allergy (remember this plant belongs to the same family of flowers as daisies) or if you have got a bleeding disorder or are preparing to undergo surgery; safflower oil may affect the body’s capability to form necessary blood clots that would stem a wound. Ensure that you do not overdose, as large doses of safflower oil may cause gastrointestinal issues. There can always be too much of a good thing; used in moderation and under the right circumstances, however, safflower oil may serve as a tiny miracle worker inside your home and body.