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   Jul 24

Safflower (Hong Hua) – A Wonder Herb

Safflower, also known as Hong Hua in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a herb used for both its medicinal properties, as well as in cooking. The use of the flower and the oil of the seed is wide spread and is especially popular in many Asian dishes. Safflower seed oil, in particular, is increasing in popularity, as its health benefits become more well known.

As a medicinal herb, the safflower flower has several benefits, namely for pain relief, a variety of gynaecological disorders, reduction of small abdominal masses, dermatological problems, and heart disease.


Safflower is one of the most commonly used herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine obstetrics and gynecology. In combination with other herbs, it is used to break up qi and blood stagnation in order to relieve menstrual pain and restore a regular menstrual cycle where the period is irregular or is absent for months at a time. Stagnation refers to a condition in which qi, blood or the fluids of the body do not move freely and smoothly.

It is additionally used to aid difficult labour.


Safflower (Hong Hua) is also a popular herb in herbal formulas for conditions characterised by impaired movement of the limbs. It is used for joint pain which is accompanied by swelling or difficulty moving the limbs, as it invigorates the circulation of blood in the channels to relieve pain, improve mobility and reduce swelling.


This warming herb may also be used to successfully shrink small abdominal masses, whether they are accompanied by pain or not. It does this by promoting the movement of stagnant qi in the abdomen. Abdominal masses occur when stagnation is significant enough to cause the formation of a nodule or mass, as circulation in the area is impaired.


It may be used to relieve skin eruptions which are dark purple or red and itchy in nature.


Safflower is used to move the qi and blood in the chest to relieve chest pain related to angina. In a study using 100 patients treated with a 50 per cent Safflower (Hong Hua) solution, chest-pain relief was noted in 80.8 per cent, marked ECG improvement in 26 per cent and moderate ECG improvement in 40 per cent of the patients.

Additionally, most patients in the study also reported a reduction in palpitations, dizziness and headaches.


You may take up to one gram of the flower daily as a tea.


As with any food or herb, caution may be necessary for people with certain conditions. Women who are pregnant and persons with bleeding disorders should avoid this herb.
Dr Tracey-Ann Brown is an oriental medicine practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine at Revamp Comprehensive, and adjunct lecturer at the University of Technology in Oriental/Chinese medicine; email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com.

Source: The Gleaner

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