Safflower seed oil is used for high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, to prevent scarring, and for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
In foods, safflower seed oil is used as a cooking oil.
In manufacturing, safflower flower is used to color cosmetics and dye fabrics. Safflower seed oil is used as a paint solvent.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- High cholesterol. Some research shows that taking safflower oil as a dietary supplement or substituting it for other oils in the diet helps lower total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol. However, it does not seem to lower other blood fats called triglycerides or raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Infants born weighing less than 2500 grams (5 pounds, 8 ounces). Some research suggests that adding a safflower oil product to infant formula or breast milk does not improve weight gain or skin thickness in low birth weight infants.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Chest pain (angina). Early research shows that giving safflower yellow, a component of safflower flower, by IV along with standard medicine for chest pain slightly improves symptoms in Chinese people with chest pain.
- Heart disease. Eating 1.5 tablespoons per day of a safflower oil that is high in oleic acid may help to prevent heart disease. But research is limited.
- Cystic fibrosis. Early research shows that taking safflower oil by mouth for one year does not improve test markers or severity of cystic fibrosis in children.
- Diabetes. Early research shows that taking safflower oil by mouth for 3 weeks can increase blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. But other research shows that taking safflower oil by mouth for 16 weeks decreases hemoglobin A1c without affecting fasting blood sugar levels in postmenopausal women with diabetes. Safflower oil does not seem to affect insulin levels or insulin sensitivity.
- Kidney damage in people with diabetes (diabetic nephropathy). Giving safflower yellow, a component of safflower flower, by IV along with standard medicines might improve kidney function in some people with this condition.
- Inherited tendency towards high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia). Evidence about the effects of safflower oil in treating high cholesterol that is passed down through families is conflicting. Some early research suggests that replacing dietary butter with safflower oil decreases "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in people with this condition. Other research shows no beneficial effects.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus (hepatitis C). Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing safflower, pumpkin seeds, plantain seeds, and Japanese honeysuckle (EH0202) by mouth for 3 months reduces general discomfort, bloating, nausea, and vomiting in people with hepatitis C. However, the amount of hepatitis C virus present in the body does not appear to be affected.
- High blood pressure. Evidence about the effects of safflower oil on blood pressure is conflicting. Some early research suggests that taking safflower oil by mouth for 6-8 weeks lowers blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, other evidence suggests safflower oil is not effective for lowering blood pressure.
- "Toad skin" (phrynoderma). Early research suggests that taking safflower oil containing vitamin E and linoleic acid by mouth for more than 8 weeks can improve skin dryness and roughness in people with phrynoderma.
- Scarring. Applying a mixture of safflower and other oils to the skin twice per day for 8 weeks might help to make scars and stretch marks less visible.
- Stroke. Early research shows that giving safflower yellow, a component of safflower flower, by IV within 72 hours of having a stroke and continuing once daily for 2 weeks increases the chance of improved brain function when used with standard medicine for stroke.
- Blood circulation disorders.
- Breathing problems (conditions that affect the breathing tubes called bronchial tubes).
- Menstrual disorders.
- Traumatic injuries.
- Other conditions.
When applied to the skin: Safflower oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin.
When given by IV: Safflower oil is POSSIBLY SAFE when a specific safflower oil emulsion (Liposyn) is administered by a healthcare professional. Safflower yellow, a component of safflower flower, is POSSIBLY SAFE when administered by a healthcare professional.
Special Precautions and Warnings
There isn't enough reliable information to know if safflower oil or flower is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Children: Safflower oil is POSSIBLY SAFE in children when a specific safflower oil emulsion (Liposyn) is administered IV (intravenously) by a healthcare professional. There isn't enough reliable information to know if safflower flower is safe for children or what the side effects might be.
Bleeding problems (hemorrhagic diseases, stomach or intestinal ulcers, or clotting disorders): Safflower can slow blood clotting and might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Safflower may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking safflower.
Diabetes: Safflower oil might increase blood sugar. There is concern that safflower oil might interfere with blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
Surgery: Since safflower might slow blood clotting, there is a concern that it could increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using safflower at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with SAFFLOWER
Large amounts of safflower might slow blood clotting. Taking safflower along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Be cautious with this combination
- For high cholesterol: Meals containing safflower oil in place of some saturated fats have been used for up to 6 weeks.
FDA completes review of qualified health claim petition for oleic acid and the risk of coronary heart disease. November 2018. Available at: www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm624758.htm. Accessed January 25, 2019.
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