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English Name: safflower, carthamus
Literal Translation: “red flower”
Pharmaceutical Name: Flos Carthami
Medica Category: Blood-Invigorating and Stasis-Removing Herbs
Properties: Hong Hua enters the Heart and Liver channels; it is acrid in nature and warm in temperature.
The Chinese Herb Hong Hua is dried safflower petals (from Carthamus tinctorius L.). In China, safflowers are grown in the Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces. The flowers are picked from the plant in the summer, after the petals turn bright red, and are dried in the shade for herbal medicine.
Hong Hua invigorates the blood and eliminates/breaks blood stasis and is very commonly used for various obstetric/gynecological applications in clinics and hospitals across China (such as amenorrhea, menstrual pain, and postpartum pain). It is also used clinically to dispel abdominal masses and accumulations (i.e. enlarged spleen/liver) in chronic cases.
Used in small doses, Hong Hua activates and nourishes blood, and in large doses it has the function of breaking blood stasis.
Hong Hua invigorates blood circulation in the channels and collaterals to relieve joint pain and pain from traumatic/sports injuries.
Hong Hua enters the Lung channel to activate qi and blood circulation and relieve chest pain.
Contraindicated during pregnancy
Exceeding recommended dosage can result in incessant, non-stop bleeding.
Use with caution for patients taking anticoagulants such as heparin, warfarin (Coumadin) and enoxaparin (Lovenox) or antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin, dipyridamole (Persantine) and clopidogrel (Plavix) as concurrent use may have an additive or synergistic effect.
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