Wild Folk Flower Library - Safflower
Wanting a little challenge, I decided to feature a flower that I've rarely used for this week's entry to the #WildFolkFlowerLibrary - Safflower! If you're anything like me, you associate safflower with cooking oil, which in fact, most of the safflower grown today is done so mainly for its seed oil. Or perhaps you think of their really bright, reddish-orange petals sometimes found in tea blends. Additionally, maybe you've seen them used in growingly popular dried bouquets! But let's take a look at safflower and it's history and folklore.
Safflower is one of humanity's oldest crops. It was discovered through a chemical analysis that textiles from ancient Egpyt were dyed from safflower which yields a yellow or red dye depending on the preparation, which give it the nickname "Dyer's Saffron". These textiles dated back to the Twelfth Dynasty, or approx 1991 BC – 1802 BC. Even garlands made from safflowers were found in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. The Native American Hopi peoples were known to color their bread with safflower. Safflower was even used as a substitute in traditional Spanish recipes for the much more expensive flower saffron in the early colonies of New Mexico.
As mentioned, most of safflower cultivated for its seed oil, which yields a high heat point vegetable oil used for cooking. Safflower oil is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids and has a neutral flavor that pairs well with many dishes and cuisines. Though we don't deep fry things very often, it's our choice for cooking anything at high heat, especially stir-fries!
Used topically, safflower as a carrier oil has a light consistency and non-greasy texture that is ideal for hydrating dry or acne-prone skin while soothing irritation, rashes, and inflammation. It is reputed to enhance the skin’s texture, appearance, and quality. It most commonly finds its way into clean skincare by way of oil cleansing by working to effectively eliminate whiteheads, blackheads and ultimately acne.
Safflower tea is helpful for those with anxiety or stress and it's been noted to be an abundant source of antioxidants and helpful with lowering cholesterol. Safflower petals make a delightful tea on their own but usually find themselves mixed in fancy tea blends for their vibrant color. Which in my case, you'll find a recipe for my house chai with safflower petals, coming later this week!
If you remember from my #wildfolkcocktail a few weeks back, I used safflower petals in a simple syrup that I created which won a contest! Oddly enough, safflowers symbolize “good luck and happiness”. Perhaps something you'd like to have at your aid all the time!
More to come this week on safflower! Be sure to follow along on the Instagram feed for more fun facts about safflower.