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Hong hua is aslo known as Safflower. The acrid and warm herb has been used in TCM as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, analgesic, diuretic, immune stimulant, anti-inflammatory agent and
to enhance the blood circulation and uterus constraction, prevent the coagulation, etc., as it moves Blood, reduces Blood stasis, etc., by enhancing the functions of liver and heart channels.
7. Palmitic acid
8. Myristic acid
9. Lauric acid
10. Stearic acid
11. Cinnamic acid
12. Arachidic acid
1. Cardioprotective effects
In the investigation of the effect of Flos Carthami (FC(EtOH)) ethanolic extract on LPS-induced apoptosis in H9c2 cardiomyoblast cells, showed that Carthamus tinctorius L. possesses the ability to suppress JNK activity and inhibit LPS-induced TNFalpha activation and apoptosis in H9c2 cardiomyoblast cells. Carthamus tinctorius L could potentially serve as a cardio-protective agent against LPS-induced apoptosis, according to “Carthamus tinctorius L. prevents LPS-induced TNFalpha signaling activation and cell apoptosis through JNK1/2-NFkappaB pathway inhibition in H9c2 cardiomyoblast cells” by Tien YC, Lin JY, Lai CH, Kuo CH, Lin WY, Tsai CH, Tsai FJ, Cheng YC, Peng WH, Huang CY.(1).
In the evaluation for the development of a new skin whitening agent of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) seeds for melanogenesis inhibitory activity and its active principles, found that the 80% aqueous methanol extract and ethyl acetate fraction from safflower seeds showed a significant inhibition for mushroom tyrosinase. Three active compounds, N-feruloylserotonin, N-(p-coumaroyl)serotonin, and acacetin, were isolated from the ethyl acetate fraction as the active principles. Compared with arbutin (IC50=0.223 mM), the IC50 values of these compounds were 0.023, 0.074, and 0.779 mM for N-feruloylserotonin, N-(p-coumaroyl)serotonin, and acacetin, respectively. It was also found that N-feruloylserotonin and N-(p-coumaroyl)serotonin strongly inhibited the melanin production of Streptomyces bikiniensis and B16 melanoma cells in comparison with a known melanogenesis inhibitor, arbutin, according to “Inhibitory effects of active compounds isolated from safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) seeds for melanogenesis” by Roh JS, Han JY, Kim JH, Hwang JK.(2).
3. α-Glucosidase Inhibition
In the evaluation of the active chemical components (serotonin derivatives (e.g. N-p-coumaroyl serotonin (1) and N-feruloyl serotonin (2)) isolated from safflower seed (Carthamus tinctorius L.) for the development of naturally derived α-glucosidase inhibitors, indicated that the existence of the hydroxyl group at 5-position in the serotonin moiety and the linkage of cinnamic acid and serotonin are essential for α-glucosidase inhibitory activities, according to “Potent α-Glucosidase Inhibitors from Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) Seed” by Takahashi T, Miyazawa M.(3).
4. Chronic liver fibrosis
In the evaluation of the effects of hydroxysafflor yellow A (HSYA) on HSYA in rats with carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver fibrosis., isolated from the dried flower of Carthamus tinctorius L. was extensively used in traditional Chinese medicine, found that CCl4 treatment induced micronodular liver fibrosis with a pronounced deposition of collagen fibers. HSYA significantly reduced liver fibrosis. HSYA down regulates α-smooth muscle actin (SMA), collagen α type I, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-9, and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1 gene expression. This was accompanied by a decreased expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and phosphorylation of Smad4, according to “Hydroxysafflor yellow A protects against chronic carbon tetrachloride-induced liver fibrosis” by Zhang Y, Guo J, Dong H, Zhao X, Zhou L, Li X, Liu J, Niu Y.(4).
5. Antioxidant activity
In the examination of the effect of extraction solvent system with varying polarities on polyphenol, flavonoid and proanthocyanidin contents and DPPH scavenging activity, found that the highest flower polyphenol content (15.09 mg GAE/g DW). Moreover, antiradical capacities against DPPH, chelating power and lipid peroxidation assay were maximal in acetone/water (2:8) of flower extract. Significant variation in antioxidant properties was observed between different development stages of Carthamus tinctorius flowers; the highest antioxidant activity was observed at stage III (full flowering) while phenolic composition reached its maximum at stage II (flower formation), according to “Variation in phenolic composition and antioxidant activity during flower development of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.)” by Salem N, Msaada K, Hamdaoui G, Limam F, Marzouk B.(5).
6. Anti inflammatory effect
In the investigation of the effects of dried safflower petals aqueous extracts (SFA) and CY on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation using RAW264.7 macrophages, found that SFA and CY provide an anti-inflammatory response through inhibiting the production of NO and PGE(2) by the downregulation of iNOS and COX-2 gene expression. Thus safflower petals have the potential to provide a therapeutic approach to inflammation-associated disorders, according to “Protective effect of dried safflower petal aqueous extract and its main constituent, carthamus yellow, against lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in RAW264.7 macrophages’ by Wang CC, Choy CS, Liu YH, Cheah KP, Li JS, Wang JT, Yu WY, Lin CW, Cheng HW, Hu CM.(6).
7. Neuroprotective effects
In the examination of the pharmacological properties of HSYA, a component of the flower Carthamus tinctorius L., on neurotoxicity of glutamate in primary cultured rat cortical neurons along with its possible mechanism of action, showed that HSYA protects cortical neurons, at least partially, from inhibiting the expression NR2B-containing NMDA receptors and by regulating Bcl-2 family, according to ‘Neuroprotective effects of hydroxysafflor yellow A against excitotoxic neuronal death partially through down-regulation of NR2B-containing NMDA receptors” by Yang Q, Yang ZF, Liu SB, Zhang XN, Hou Y, Li XQ, Wu YM, Wen AD, Zhao MG.(7).
1. Do not use the herb in newborn, children or if you are pregnant or breast feeding without consulting first with the related field specialist.
2. The herb can interact with blood thinning medicine, such as warfarin
3. Do not use in case of heavy bleeding, including excessive menstruation
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