Safflower oil


Generic Name
Safflower oil
DrugBank Accession Number

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L) is a herbaceous plant in the Asteraceae family. Extracted from the seeds of safflowers, safflower oil is a rich source of various saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) or essential n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) linoleic acid 1,3, depending on the flower type. Safflower oil with a higher content of polyunsaturated fatty acids is more commonly used as an edible oil. The constituents of safflower oil also include alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, and mixed Tocopherol 4. Safflower oil is approved for use as an indirect additive in food contact substances and is readily available as a food ingredient. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) safflower oil is marketed as an over-the-counter dietary supplement.

Approved, Investigational
  • Carthamus tinctorius seed oil
  • Safflower oil



No approved therapeutic indications.

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Contraindications & Blackbox Warnings
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Safflower oil contains n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which may have lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory actions, as well as tocopherols. In a study of post-menopausal, obese women with type 2 diabetes, safflower oil supplementation was associated with improved metabolic endpoints including HbA1c, fasting glucose, insulin sensitivity estimated by QUICKI, HDL cholesterol, CRP, and adiponectin 1.

Mechanism of action

Linoleic acid in safflower oil may decrease serum cholesterol levels by activating hepatic uptake and biliary excretion of serum cholesterol 2. Tocopherol in safflower oil is a radical scavenger with antioxidant properties.


Fatty acids and tocopherol from safflower oil are expected to undergo absorption within the digestive tract.

Volume of distribution

No pharmacokinetic data available.

Protein binding

No pharmacokinetic data available.


No pharmacokinetic data available.

Route of elimination

No pharmacokinetic data available.


No pharmacokinetic data available.


No pharmacokinetic data available.

Adverse Effects
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The LD50 in rats is >5.0 g/kg following oral administration and >50 g/kg following intraperitoneal administration 5.

Not Available
Pharmacogenomic Effects/ADRs
Not Available


Drug Interactions
This information should not be interpreted without the help of a healthcare provider. If you believe you are experiencing an interaction, contact a healthcare provider immediately. The absence of an interaction does not necessarily mean no interactions exist.
Not Available
Food Interactions
No interactions found.


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Mixture Products
NameIngredientsDosageRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
Carthaphy CapSafflower oil (912 mg / cap) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (.5 mg / cap)CapsuleOralPhyto Health Corporation1973-12-312003-11-27Canada flag
Liposyn IISafflower oil (10 g/100mL) + Egg phospholipids (1.2 g/100mL) + Soybean oil (10 g/100mL)Injection, emulsionIntravenousHospira, Inc.1984-08-272011-02-01US flag
Liposyn IISafflower oil (5 g/100mL) + Egg phospholipids (1.2 g/100mL) + Soybean oil (5 g/100mL)Injection, emulsionIntravenousHospira, Inc.1984-08-272011-02-01US flag
Liposyn II 10%Safflower oil (5 %) + Egg phospholipids (0.9 %) + Soybean oil (5 %)EmulsionIntravenousHospira Healthcare Ulc1987-12-312014-08-01Canada flag
Liposyn II 20%Safflower oil (10 %) + Egg phospholipids (1.2 %) + Soybean oil (10 %)EmulsionIntravenousHospira Healthcare Ulc1987-12-312014-08-01Canada flag


Drug Categories
Not classified
Affected organisms
Not Available

Chemical Identifiers

CAS number


General References
  1. Asp ML, Collene AL, Norris LE, Cole RM, Stout MB, Tang SY, Hsu JC, Belury MA: Time-dependent effects of safflower oil to improve glycemia, inflammation and blood lipids in obese, post-menopausal women with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-masked, crossover study. Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;30(4):443-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2011.01.001. Epub 2011 Feb 3. [Article]
  2. Sato M, Yoshida S, Nagao K, Imaizumi K: Superiority of dietary safflower oil over olive oil in lowering serum cholesterol and increasing hepatic mRnas for the LDL receptor and cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase in exogenously hypercholesterolemic (exHC) rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2000 Jun;64(6):1111-7. doi: 10.1271/bbb.64.1111. [Article]
  3. Cox C, Mann J, Sutherland W, Chisholm A, Skeaff M: Effects of coconut oil, butter, and safflower oil on lipids and lipoproteins in persons with moderately elevated cholesterol levels. J Lipid Res. 1995 Aug;36(8):1787-95. [Article]
  4. Masterjohn C: The anti-inflammatory properties of safflower oil and coconut oil may be mediated by their respective concentrations of vitamin E. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007 May 1;49(17):1825-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2007.04.001. Epub 2007 Apr 16. [Article]
  5. SAFFLOWER OIL - National Library of Medicine HSDB Database - Toxnet - NIH [Link]
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Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials
2CompletedTreatmentAsthma, Allergic1
2RecruitingTreatmentAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)1
2RecruitingTreatmentProgressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)1


Not Available
Not Available
Dosage Forms
Injection, emulsionIntravenous
Capsule, gelatin coatedOral
Not Available
Not Available


Experimental Properties
boiling point (°C)338-366National Library of Medicine HSDB Database
water solubilityInsolubleNational Library of Medicine HSDB Database

Drug created at November 30, 2015 19:10 / Updated at May 21, 2021 10:21