The Safflower plant is extensively cultivated in India, China and other parts of Asia, also in Egypt and Southern Europe; but its native country is unknown.
It grows about 2 to 3 feet high, with a stiff, upright whitish stem, branching near the top. Safflower has a strong taproot which enables it to thrive in dry climates, but the plant is very susceptible to frost injury from stem elongation to maturity. This herb is highly branched where each branch have from one to five flower heads containing 15 to 20 seeds per head.
They have oval, spiny, sharp-pointed leaves, their bases half-clasping the stem. There are long sharp spines on the leaves. Plants are 30 to 150 cm tall with globular flower heads and commonly, brilliant yellow, orange or red flowers which bloom in July. Its fruits are about the size of barleycorns, somewhat four-sided, white and shining, like little shells.
At In-Cosmetics in Milan, Jan Dekker introduced a safflower bud extract compound with anti-aging benefits for skin care. GemmaNova (INCI: Water (aqua) (and) Butylene Glycol (and) Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Bud Extract) was obtained using the company's Bud Nest cultivation method.
Soil contaminants were found by the company not only to negatively affect the ecosystem and human health, but also to alter plant metabolism and reduce crop yields. Therefore, its Bud Nest method controls the environment (light, air, temperature, water nutrients, etc.); uses LED technology; eliminates all pesticides, diseases and insects from the plants; and maintains similar compound content from crop to crop.
According to the company, recent studies have demonstrated that safflower buds are richer in phenolic compound, amino acids and -tocopherol than safflower seeds. Within the safflower buds 8'-hydroxyarctigenin reportedly possesses cell proliferative and differentiation activities as well as antioxidant properties. In addition, proline is a precursor of pro-collagen synthesis and -tocopherol is a known antioxidant.
To confirm its anti-aging activity, the company tested the compound's ability to induce collagen type I synthesis. With increasing concentration of the safflower bud extract compound, the company noted an increase in collagen type I synthesis. In an antioxidant test, the company found the compound to have a dose dependent increase of 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging activity. Finally, the safflower bud extract compound was found to have an anti-allergic effect by inhibiting the release of beta-hexosaminidase in a dose dependent manner.
The product is recommended at 1-3% in anti-aging products. In addition to its antioxidant and anti-wrinkle claims, the product was found to protect sensitive, fragile skin and reinforce the skin barrier.