Safflower seed compound as anti-estrogenic as Nolvadex The seeds of the safflower – scientific name Carthamus tinctorius – contain a lignan that blocks the effect of estradiol in cells as effectively as Nolvadex does, according to pharmacologists at Seoul National University. Long-term use of Nolvadex [used to treat breast cancer] increases the risk of ovarian cancer in women. The Koreans are looking for alternatives to Nolvadex in the plant world. In their article they describe how they bought safflower seed in a shop, and isolated various compounds that they then tested for anti-estrogenic effects. The figure below shows how the Koreans discovered that one of the safflower seed extracts wipes out the effect of estradiol. The compound that does this is tracheloside, a lignan. The substance itself does nothing to estradiol-sensitive cells. But if you add 2 nanomols estradiol to the cells, then tracheloside reduces the effect of the hormone. The more tracheloside, the less effect the estradiol has, as the figure above shows. The anti-estrogenic effect of tracheloside is comparable to that of Nolvadex. At a concentration of 0.31 microg/ml, half of the estradiol effect disappears. Nolvadex has the same effect at a concentration of 0.43 microg/ml. Whether the human body is capable of deactivating estradiol by taking tracheloside, the researchers are not prepared to say. Their doubts are based on what is known about arctiin, a compound related to tracheloside. Tracheloside is an ingredient in the bodybuilding supplement Arimedex HD. You’d be forgiven for thinking tracheloside is a difficult name. That’s why the manufacturers prefer to call it (3s, 4s)-4-[(3, 4- dimethoxyphenyl)methyl] -3-hydroxy-3-[[3-methoxy-4- [(2s,3r, 4s,5r,6r) -3,4,5-trihydroxy-6-(hydroxymethyl) oxan-2-yl]oxy-phenyl]methyl] oxolan-2-one. Plain old…, you understand. Source: Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2006 Nov; 70(11): 2783-5.