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Tamil Lexicon, University of Madras (p. 1589)
centurukkam: Safflower, s. sh. Carthamus tinctorius
Dymock, Warden, Hooper: Pharmacographia Indica (vol. II, pp. 308-309)
Carthamus tinctorius, Compositae
Fig.- Safflower, Parrot seed (Eng.); C. oxycantha is perhaps the wild form of this plant.
This plant is the Kusumbha of Sanskrit writers, who describe the seeds as purgative, and mention a medicated oil which is prepared from the plant for external application in rheumatism and paralysis. It is the -*- of the Greeks (Theopr. H. P. vi., 1; Arist. H. A. v., 19; Dios. iv., 182), who used the leaves like rennet to curdle milk in making cheese. Pliny (21, 53), calls it Cnecos. Mahometan writers enumerate a great many diseases in which the seeds may be used as a laxative; they consider them to have the power of removing phlegmatic and adust humours from the system.
The author of the Makhzan states that Kurtum, Hab-el-asfar, and Bazr-el-ahris are the Arabic names for the seeds, and Khasakdanah and Tukm-i-kafshah the Persian. He also says that in Ghilan they are called Tukm-i-kajrah or Tukm-i-kazirah, in Syria KÄshni, and in Turkey Kantawaras, and that the Greeks call them Atraktus (-*-), and Dioscrorides Knikus (-*-). Ainslie has the following notice of the plant: -"A fixed oil is prepared from it which the Vytians use as an external application in rheumatic pains and paralytic affections also for bad ulcers; the small seeds are reckoned amongst their laxative medicines, for which purpose I see they are also used in Jamaica (the kernels beat into an emulsion with honeyed water). Barham tells us that a drachm of the dried flowers taken cures the jaundice." (Mat. Ind. ii., 364.)
The seeds are known in England as Parrot seed. Under the name of safflower the flowers form an important export article to Europe; they contain two colouring matters, yellow and red, the latter is the most valuable. In silk dyeing it affords various shades of pink, rose, crimson and scarlet. Rouge is also made from it. According to Calvert (Dyeing and Calico printing, Ed. 1878), though the safflower has lost much of its value as a dye since the discovery of the aniline colours, it is still used extensivelly in Lancashire for the production of peculiar shades of pink of the Eastern markets. It is also used for dying red tape, and there is no more striking instance of "red-tapeism," than the love which is shown for this particular colour by the users of that article. Much cheaper pinks can be produced from aniline, but notwithstanding the attempts which have many times been made to inrtroduce them, they have failed in every instance, because the exact shade has not been obtained.