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Safflower is known to be one of the worlds oldest cultivated crops. Our ancestors throughout the ancient world found countless uses for the brightly coloured flower, its petals, stalk and seeds. Both the Egyptians and the Chinese were highly enamored with the plant. In ancient Egypt, Safflowers were considered precious enough to be made into dyes for the ornamental gowns of the Pharaohs. Their petals were also tied into celebratory garlands, some of which were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen, and are thought to have been used for cooking as well.
In ancient China, Safflowers held an important place in Chinese medicine. They were given to patients to ease sore joints, cleanse wounds and interestingly, treat the measles. Chinese Doctors also believed that Safflower tea could induce heavy sweating, and as such prescribed it as a remedy against the common cold. Which, interestingly, brings us very abruptly to 19th century North America. Anecdotal evidence in the new world suggests that, like the Chinese, early Americans believed Safflower could be used to treat measles and induce sweating to fight off a cold. Is there something to it? Who knows..?
Safflowers make a colourful addition to a custom tea blend.
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