Safflower Honey - The New Superpower Honey

Honey has been used as both food and medicine for centuries, and its spotless reputation is still going strong.

Despite being delicious, honey is known for having antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

These properties make it a universal medicinal choice when it comes to various acute conditions like sore throat, coughs, mouth sores, digestive issues, etc.

Some types of honey that come from particular floral sources, like the manuka honey, can have specific effects on the body.

One such type is safflower honey, and preliminary research has shown that it contains an abundance of beneficial bioactive compounds.

A study published in the journal Food has examined these properties of safflower honey, and we’ll give you the gist of it.

What’s Important

The antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects of honey are due to the rich content of phenolic acids and flavonoids.

Honey also contains trace amounts of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes, and darker honey is usually more abundant in these components than lighter types.

Safflower honey is extracted from the nectar of Carthamus tinctorius L. or the safflower plant.

The safflower plant is an annual thistle-like plant with yellow, orange, or red flowers.

Today it’s mostly cultivated for the oil extracted from the seeds, which is mostly used in cooking and cosmetics.

Its dried flowers are sometimes used for tea or as a substitute for saffron.

There is little information out there on the chemical composition and biological activities of safflower honey, and this study has examined them.

What Did They Discover?

The study found that safflower honey is rich in many biochemical compounds.

  • In total, 16 polyphenolic compounds were found, meaning that safflower honey has a high antioxidant content;
  • The extract from safflower honey proved to be able to successfully inhibit free radicals that cause oxidative damage;
  • It significantly promoted the expression of antioxidant genes;
  • The extract also seemed to obstruct inflammatory processes.

The Takeaway

It’s hard to imagine that there is a type of honey with no health benefits.

Even though this is a novel study, the results indicate that safflower honey is a good candidate for universal use, or according to the researchers, it “has great potential into developing as a high-quality agriproduct”.


Resource: Sun, L.-P.; Shi, F.-F.; Zhang, W.-W.; Zhang, Z.-H.; Wang, K. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) Honey Extract. Foods 2020, 9, 1039. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9081039 

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