Safflower or Carthamus tinctorius is a highly branched thistle like annual plant.
Its is an excellent dried flower as it is durable and has a bright orange blossom.
Safflower is one of humanity's oldest crops. Chemical analysis of ancient Egyptian textiles dated to the twelfth dynasty identified dyes made from safflower, and garlands made from safflowers were found in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Safflower flowers are occasionally used in cooking as a cheaper substitute for saffron, sometimes referred to as "bastard saffron".
Traditionally, the crop was grown for its seeds, and used for coloring and flavoring foods, in medicines, and making red and yellow dyes.
For the last fifty years or so, the plant has been cultivated mainly for the vegetable oil extracted from its seeds.
In traditional Chinese Medicine dried petals of safflower are used as a warm herbal medicine related to the Heart and Liver. The major characteristic of safflower is to improve blood circulation. Safflower is used in remedies for menstrual cramps, amenorrhea and poor blood circulation.