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Safflower closeupSafflower Petals
Carthamus tinctoria

This Sun herb has plenty of Mars in it as well, since it is armed with many spines and the flowers contain iron. Traditional Chinese Medicine connects the red color of the dried petals with blood, which suits Mars well; this herb is used to activate blood, such as in poor circulation and delayed menstruation (do not use while pregnant).  A medicinal tea of the petals is very warming (also Mars) and often taken to ward off colds.  The petals can be made into a poultice and applied to bruises and burns, and they are helpful to the heart, fitting their Sun influence. They also make a good dye for coloring besom straw gold and can be added to handmade paper (petals make a bright yellow halo).  Safflower petalsIn Japan, this dye on silk was reserved for women of high rank (Dyeing with safflower as in Dark Age Japan), and geishas made lipstick from crushed safflower petals mixed with water. In medieval Europe, the petals were used in place of saffron.  They can be added to soap to color it yellow to deep orange, and they are nice for coloring rice or bread.  They also make a nice tea when mixed with some cassia, citrus peel, and Chinese black tea.

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  2004, 2016 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission