Master plant: Carthamus tinctorius L.
Asteraceae (Aster family)
Safflower oil (sometimes also named thistle oil) is a valuable edible oil, obtained by cold processing or extraction of safflower seeds. Out of 100 kg (220 lbs.) seeds only 25 kg (55 lbs.) of oil are derived. Safflower is a cultivated plant which is still occasionally grown in the Mediterranean region, but mostly in Asia and North America.
Characteristics and subtances:
Safflower oil is particularly rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleic acid (approx. 78%). It has the highest content of linoleic acid among plants and therefore is an excellent dietary edible oil.
It has a slight nutty flavour, similar to sunflower seed oil.
Primarily it is used with cold dishes like salads or as ingredients in diet-margarine or mayonnaise.
Due to its high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids it is also used to reduce the cholesterol level and for preventing arteriosclerosis.
Furthermore safflower oil finds use in the production of colours.