Background: Carthamus tinctorius L., known as Kafesheh (Persian) and safflower (English) is vastly utilized in Traditional Medicine for various medical conditions, namely dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, postpartum abdominal pain and mass, trauma and pain of joints. It is largely used for flavoring and coloring purposes among the local population. Recent reviews have addressed the uses of the plant in various ethnomedical systems.
Objective: This review was an update to provide a summary on the botanical features, uses in Iranian folklore and modern medical applications of safflower. 
Methods: A main database containing important early published texts written in Persian, together with electronic papers was established on ethnopharmacology and modern pharmacology of C. tinctorius. Literature review was performed on the years from 1937 to 2016 in Web of Science, PubMed, Scientific Information Database, Google Scholar, and Scopus for the terms "Kafesheh", "safflower", "Carthamus tinctorius", and so forth. 
Results: Safflower is an indispensable element of Iranian folklore medicine, with a variety of applications due to laxative effects. Also, it was recommended as treatment for rheumatism and paralysis, vitiligo and black spots, psoriasis, mouth ulcers, phlegm humor, poisoning, numb limbs, melancholy humor, and the like. According to the modern pharmacological and clinical examinations, safflower provides promising opportunities for the amelioration of myocardial ischemia, coagulation, thrombosis, inflammation, toxicity, cancer, and so forth. However, there have been some reports on its undesirable effects on male and female fertility. Most of these beneficial therapeutic effects were correlated to hydroxysafflor yellow A. 
Conclusion: More attention should be drawn to the lack of a thorough phytochemical investigation. The potential implications of safflower based on Persian traditional medicine, such as the treatment of rheumatism and paralysis, vitiligo and black spots, psoriasis, mouth ulcers, phlegm humor, poisoning, numb limbs, and melancholy humor warrant further consideration.


Keywords: Carthamus tinctorius, Persian traditional medicine, Modern medicine


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