This safflower is not saffron, so don’t buy fake “gold” at a high price

Science guide : Zhang Lifen, Department of Pharmacy, Shenzhen Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Today’s Popular Science
Start with a true story

One morning in 2022, Shenzhen Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine A young man showed up at the pharmacy. He showed the pharmacist on duty a few bunches of fresh “saffron” that he had just bought at a nearby street vendor for 3,000 yuan. He asked anxiously: “Doctor, is my safflower worth three thousand yuan? Is it genuine?”

The pharmacist relied on After many years of work experience, I immediately noticed that something was wrong. I took a closer look at the original plant of “saffron”, and found that it was not “saffron”, but a safflower of the Compositae family. The pharmacist briefly explained to the young man the difference between the two types of safflower and the key points of identification. The young man realized that he had been cheated, and he said dejectedly that his colleague also spent seven thousand yuan to buy this kind of safflower, and now he really regrets it…

In order to prevent someone from being deceived in the future
First of all, you must know that there are
Saffron and saffron
their characteristics are very different
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Safflower and saffron in “Chinese Pharmacopoeia”


【Source】Dried flowers of Carthamus tinstorius. L. in Compositae.

[Harvesting] In summer, when the flowers turn from yellow to red, pick them on a sunny day in the morning when the dew is not dry, and dry them in the shade or in the sun.

【Origin】Mainly produced in Henan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang and other places.

【Sex, flavor and meridian distribution】Pungent, warm. GUIXIN, Liver Channel.

Used for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, lochia, mass in the abdomen, chest pain and heartache, abdominal pain due to stasis, stabbing pain in the chest and hypochondrium, injury from falls, swelling and pain in sores.

【Usage and Dosage】3~10g.

【Caution】 Pregnant women should use with caution.

【Storage】Keep in a cool and dry place, away from moisture and moth.

Asteraceae Features of safflower plants:

There are many flower heads, which are arranged in corymbs at the top of the stems. Bracts elliptic or ovate-lanceolate, with needles on the margin. Involucre 4 layers. Small flowers red, orange, all hermaphrodite, corolla lobes almost reaching the base of the eaves.

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【Source】The stigma of Crocus sativus L., a plant of the family Iridaceae.

【Origin】Mainly produced in southern Europe to Iran. Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Beijing, and Shanghai have a small amount of cultivation.
Saffron, also known as saffron or saffron, is not actually produced in Tibet. Tibet is the import place of saffron. It originated in Iran. It was imported from India, Nepal was introduced into Tibet with the eastward spread of Buddhism, and imported into the mainland of China, so it is called saffron.
The sources of saffron are foreign and domestic. The foreign production areas are represented by Iran. Most of the saffron on the market are Iranian products. The regions are represented by Zhejiang and Shanghai.
【Sex, Flavor and Meridian Return】Sweet, flat. GUIXIN, Liver Channel.
[Functions and Indications] Promote blood circulation and remove blood stasis, cool blood and detoxify, relieve stagnation and calm the nerves. For amenorrhea lumps in the abdomen, postpartum stasis, hot toxin hair spots, melancholy, ruffian, palpitation and madness.
【Usage and Dosage】1~3g, decocted or soaked in boiling water.
【Note】Pregnant women should use with caution.
【Storage】Store in a cool, dry place with ventilation, away from light, and tightly closed.

Saffron Plant Features:

Perennial herb. The bulb is oblate and spherical, about 3 cm in diameter, with a yellowish-brown membranous coating outside. The flower stem is very short and does not protrude from the ground; the leaves are basal, 9-15 pieces, strip-shaped, gray-green, and the capsule is oval.

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[Properties] This product is a tubular flower without ovary, the surface is reddish yellow or red, the corolla tube is slender, the apex is 5-lobed, the lobes are narrow strips, the anthers are aggregated into a tube, yellow-white ;The stigma is long and cylindrical, and the top is slightly forked. The texture is soft, the smell is slightly fragrant, and the taste is slightly bitter.

【Quality】The flower color is red and yellow, bright, Dry and soft ones are preferred.


[Properties] This product is linear, three-branched, dark red about 3cm long, wide and slightly flat at the top, and The edge is irregularly toothed, with a short crack inside, and sometimes a small piece of yellow style remains at the lower end. Light body, soft texture. No oily luster, brittle and easy to break after drying. Specific odor, slightly irritating, slightly bitter taste 。

【Quality】Long body, purplish red, moist and shiny, less yellow style, pungent and cool.

There is only one word difference between safflower and saffron, and the price difference is hundreds of times. Saffron is generally tens of yuan per gram, that is, tens of thousands of yuan per kilogram, and safflower is generally tens of yuan per kilogram.

Saffron is cheap and easy to get, and safflower is basically used in pharmacies;

Saffron is less in quantity Rare and expensive, it is known as “plant gold” and is a valuable Chinese herbal medicine.

< strong>Doctor

Master the above red The key points for distinguishing flowers and saffron, remember! Never spend a high price to buy the wrong “safflower” again!

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