Cartamine is a red pigment extracted from safflower flowers (Carthamus tinctorius); it is a crystalline dark red powder with metallic reflections, once used to dye cotton and silk, today only for coloring cosmetics.
The name of the cartamine in the official IUPAC nomenclature is: (2Z, 6S) -6-β-D-Glucopiranosil -2- [[(3S) -3-β-D-glucopiranosil-2,3,4-trihydroxy -5 – [(2E) -3- (4- hydroxyphenyl) -1-oxo-2-propenyl] -6-oxo-1,4-cyclohexadien-1-yl] methylene] -5,6-dihydroxy -4 – [(2E ) -3- (4-hydroxyphenyl) – 1-oxo-2-propenyl] -4-cyclohexene-1,3-dione.
It has a brute molecular formula: C43H42O22.
Cartamine is a natural red pigment that is used as a textile and food coloring agent. A dye for food with an aroma and a flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of saffron.
It is a pigment known since ancient times and linked to the cultivation of safflower.

The safflower has in fact been cultivated since ancient times and cartamina was used as a colorant in ancient Egypt.
Cartamine was widely used for the coloring of wool, in the carpet industry in European countries, while it was used as a base for cosmetics for artists in theatrical performances of kabuki and used by geishas in Japan.
Cartamine has long been used as an alternative to synthetic fuchsin or rosaniline hydrochloride dye, an organic coloring substance for dyeing magenta and fuchsia fabrics and yarns or for coloring silk.
Cartamine is obtained from biosynthesis starting from chalcone (2,4,6,4′-tetrahydroxycyclone) and from 2 molecules of glucose to give the yellow safflower pigment A and, with an additional glucose molecule, the yellow safflower B. The next step is the formation of the precartamin from which the cartamine molecule is finally obtained by decarboxylation.

Warning: The information given is not medical advice and may not be accurate. The contents are for illustrative purposes only and do not replace medical advice.

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