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Since May 10th 2008

Initial C

Cassia senna

Centella asiatica
Chamomilla recutita
Cinnamomum verum
Coptis chinensis
Curcuma longa
Calendula officinalis
Cimicifuga racemosa
Crataegus monogyna
Carthamus tinctorius
Cephaelis ipecacuanha
Commiphora molmol
Commiphora mukul
Crocus sativus
Cordyceps sinensis
Cyperus rotundus



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Carthamus tinctorius L. (Asteraceae/Compositae)

Local names
American saffron, baharman, barre, bastard saffron, benibana, biri, centurakam, chôm pu, dok kham, dyer’s saffron, esfer, fake saffron, false saffron, hong hoa, hong hua, hong-hua, honghua, huang hua, hung hua, hung-hua, Hungarian saffron, ik-kot, Indian saffl ower, kafishah, kajirah, karizeh, kazirah, kanar, kasube, kasubha, kasumba, kembang pulu, kham, kham foi, kham yong, khoinbo, kouranka, kusum, kusuma, kusumba, kusumphul, lago, qurtum, rum, saff-fl ower, safflower, safl or, safran bâtard, sáfrányos szeklice, saffron, saffron thistle, Saflor, senturakam, shawrina, sufir, usfur, wild saffron, za’afran

An annual herb, 0.4–1.3 m high, much branched, glabrous, spiny. Branches stiff, cylindrical, whitish in colour. Leaves simple, spirally arranged, without petiole; oblong, ovate, lanceolate or elliptic; dark green, glossy, 3–15 cm long, 1.5 cm wide, spinous along the margin and at the tip. Flowers solitary, terminal, 2.5–4.0 cm in diameter with spreading outer leafy spiny bracts and inner triangular bracts, spine tipped, forming a conical involucre, with small opening at the tip. Florets, 30–90, tubular, hermaphrodite, usually orange-yellow in colour; corolla tubes 4 cm long, with fi ve pointed segments. Fruits white or grey, tetragonal achenes, about 8 mm long, without pappus

Plant material used
dried flowers

Chemical assays
To be established in accordance with national requirements. A highperformance liquid chromatography method for analysis of carthamin, saffl or yellow A and other related pigments is available

Major chemical constituents
The major constituent is the chalcone C-glucoside carthamin (up to 8.5%). Other signifi cant constituents include fatty acids, the chalcone hydroxysaffl or yellow A; the nitrogenous chalcone tinctormine; the quinoid C-glycosides saffl or yellow A and safflor yellow B; the flavonoids neocarthamin, quercetin, rutin, kaempferol and related hydroxy derivatives and glycosides; dotriacontane-6,8-diol, erythrohentriacontane-6,8-diol, heptacosane-8,10-diol, triacontane-6,8-diol and related alkanes

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
Treatment of amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea and wounds or sores with pain and swelling, and prevention of atherosclerosis.

Uses described in traditional medicine
As an antipyretic, antidiarrhoeal, contraceptive, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, laxative, sedative and stimulant. Treatment of bronchitis, boils, haemorrhoids, respiratory tract infections, ringworm and scabies

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Analgesic and antipyretic, Antihepatotoxic, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antihypertensive, Central nervous system depressant, Immunosupressant,Platelet aggregation inhibition, Uterine stimulant

Human studies
No information available.

Adverse reactions
Increased menstrual fl ow may occur. Dizziness, skin eruptions and transient urticaria have been reported

Owing to its traditional use as an emmenagogue and its stimulatory effects on the uterus, Flos Carthami should not be administered during pregnancy. Flos Carthami is also contraindicated in haemorrhagic diseases, peptic ulcers and excessive menstruation

No information available.

Drug interactions
Although no drug interactions have been reported, extracts of Flos Carthami inhibit platelet aggregation. The fl owers should therefore be used with caution in patients taking anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs.

Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
An aqueous or methanol extract of the fl owers was not mutagenic in concentrations up to 100.0 mg/ml in the Salmonella/microsome assay using S. typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100 with or without metabolic activation with liver microsomes. An aqueous or methanol extract of the fl owers, 100.0 mg/ml, was not mutagenic in the Bacillus subtilis recombination assay. However, other investigators have reported that aqueous extracts of the fl owers were mutagenic at concentrations of 50.0 µg/ml and 5.0 mg/plate in S. typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100. Intraperitoneal administration of 4.0 g/kg bw of an aqueous extract of the fl owers to mice was mutagenic. Intragastric administration of 240 mg of an aqueous extract of the fl owers to female rats had no effects on fetal implantation and no embryotoxic effects. Intragastric administration of 2.0 g/kg bw of an aqueous extract of the fl owers twice per day to female rats throughout pregnancy had no effect on implantation, gestation or duration of fetal expulsion, but did cause fetal loss by resorption

Pregnancy: teratogenic effects
Pregnant mice were treated with varying doses of an aqueous extract of the flowers during days 0–8 of gestation, and the embryos were isolated and evaluated on day 13 of the gestational period. The results showed that, at doses of 1.6 mg/kg bw and 2.0 mg/kg bw per day, the extract induced embryo absorption, while at 1.2 mg/kg bw per day, changes in the external, internal and longitudinal diameters, open neuropore, cellular orientation and cellular degeneration were observed

Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
See Contraindications.

Nursing mothers
No information available. However, owing to possible mutagenic effects, use of Flos Carthami during nursing should be only on the advice of a health-care professional.

Paediatric use
No information available. However, owing to possible mutagenic effects, use of Flos Carthami in children should be only on the advice of a healthcare professional.

Other precautions
No information available on general precautions or on precautions concerning drug and laboratory test interactions.

Dosage forms
Dried flowers for infusions and decoctions; extracts. Store in a cool dry place protected from moisture.

(Unless otherwise indicated)
Average daily dose: 3.0–9.0 g of Flos Carthami as an infusion or decoction; equivalent for other preparations


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