USES.—This plant must not be confounded with Curcuma longa, L., whose tuber is also frequently called saffron (azafrán), and is used to color food.
The flower is the part employed as a condiment coloring the food yellow. Some use them internally in doses of 4 grams to cure icterus. The leaves coagulate milk. The seeds are purgative in dose of 8–16 grams, bruised and taken in emulsion, or 15–30 grams in decoction.
The following is the chemical analysis of the plant: Yellow coloring matter, soluble 26.1– 36.0 Carthamic acid 0.3– 0.6 Extractive matter 3.6– 6.5 Albumin 1.5– 8.0 Wax 0.6– 1.5 Cellulose, pectin 38.4– 56.0 Silica 1.0– 8.4 Oxide of iron, aluminum, oxide of manganese 0.4– 4.6 (Salvetat.) BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A plant 3° high, root gray and spindle-shaped. Stem straight, few branches. Leaves scattered, sessile, partially embracing the stem, lanceolate, serrate with hooked teeth. Flowers yellow, terminal in a sort of corymb. Common calyx semiglobose, with imbricated scales, the border often bearing thorns; numerous hermaphrodite disk flowers, with corolla very long, funnel-form, 5-toothed. Style longer than the stamens. Stigma bifid. Seed large, lacking pappus.
HABITAT.—Cultivated in the gardens.
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