Butterfly pea flower has been used for centuries in China and Southeast Asia for medicinal purposes. Ayurvedic medicine uses the leaves, flowers, roots and seeds as a brain tonic to promote intelligence and improve memory. The juice of the root serves to eliminate phlegm and can help to alleviate conditions such as asthma, ulcers and tuberculosis.
There are many health benefits which you can get from the butterfly pea flower. It is rich in manganese, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, zinc and iron. Minerals and vitamins found in this plant help fight fatigue and strengthen the immune system. Butterfly pea has antidepressant, antistress and anxiolytic properties.
It is quite easy to grow butterfly pea in your garden, especially if you live in a tropical area since this plant is native to Southeast Asia. It is also possible to grow during the summer if you live in a colder climate. Clitoria ternatea is the scientific name for this beautiful plant that grows as a vine so it will need some support to grow, otherwise it will spread in the floor. As a legume, it will help with soil fertility so it can be used as a cover crop to provide nutrients to your soil. It can be incorporated in crop rotations.
How to drink Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
Butterfly pea flower is used in traditional medicine to make a tea which may very well be the most eye catching tea in existence! This tea can range in color from purple to blue because of an antioxidant called anthocyanin which also gives beets and blueberries their color. Some varieties of butterfly pea are white which will produce a different color of tea. This tea also can change color to pink if an acidic ingredient such as tonic water, lemon or orange is added, which has the ability to change the pH of the water almost making it look as magic!
Butterfly pea tea is consumed in Thailand by mixing it with lemongrass to improve the taste of this mild tea. Other ingredients such as milk, mint, ginger, hibiscus, lavender, cinnamon, pineapple or sweeteners can be added according to personal preferences. To make butterfly pea tea you need to boil water then pour it over fresh or dried flowers and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes as it steeps. Butterfly pea tea is sold in tea bags or loose flowers. This tea can be served hot or cold and it is free from caffeine.
This plant is also used as a natural dye, which is great since synthetic colorants are very harmful. Its taste is very mild, almost bland, so it culinary purposes are mostly because of its wild pigments.
Butterfly pea flower tea is safe and well tolerated in moderate amounts such as one to three cups of herbal tea per day. Do not supplement in extract form or high doses if you have serious medical conditions including diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Also consult your medical provider if you are taking medications or are pregnant.
Butterfly Pea Flower Health Benefits
Butterfly pea flower is rich in antioxidants which can help combat free radicals and oxidative stress that cause disease and aging. Antioxidants can protect organs, liver, brain, heart and blood vessels from damage. They also have the ability to prevent the growth of cancer cells. A catechin called epigallocatechin gallate is found in butterfly pea flower which acts as a potent antioxidant. Studies show that the delphinidin contained in this plant protects against lipid peroxidation which damages cell membranes, causes aging and may form a carcinogenic compound called malondialdehyde (MDA). Another study found that drinking butterfly pea flower tea after high fat meals helps overweight people keep high levels of glutathione peroxidase which helps reduce lipid peroxidation.
Antioxidants found in this plant can help protect the eyes from free radical damage, which can be caused by a poor diet, irritants and the sun. It can also increase blood flow to the eyes. Clitoria ternatea is used in extracts and creams to manage vision related problems such as tired or dry eyes, blurred vision, glaucoma, damaged retinas and poor night vision.
Collagen and Beauty
Anthocyanins found in butterfly pea help build and restore skin collagen. It can be used topically to prevent premature aging including fine lines, uneven texture or tone and loss of skin elasticity. Antioxidants such as polyphenols found in butterfly pea flower can help the skin defend itself from sun damage. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help treat skin allergies, dermatitis, itching, rashes and swelling.
Collagen degradation can cause arthritic pain and diabetes which can be prevented and treated with this plant. It also helps improve the health of nails, hair and skin. Drinking butterfly pea flower tea can increase blood flow in the scalp and strengthen hair follicles. Some shampoos, conditioners and hair products include this plant to reduce grey hairs and hair thinning. Quercetin is a flavonoid which helps the body in retaining hydration in skin cells, as well as making skin cells and hair stronger.
The ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, reasoned that this plant is good for women’s health because it looks like the female clitoris, which gives it the name of Clitoria Ternatea. It is considered a good treatment for menstruation problems or vaginal discharge. Butterfly pea can also act as an aphrodisiac and aid in improving sperm production. Women in Indian villages wear the roots of this plant on their arms or waist to help them deliver the baby safely.
Anti-Inflammatory and Immunity
Anthocyanins found in the plant possess anti-inflammatory properties because of compounds like p-coumarin acid and delphinidin glucoside. Butterfly pea can help improve respiratory health since it removes fluids and much from the lungs and airways. Thus reducing inflammation and irritation, so it can be used to treat colds, coughs and bronchitis. It is also useful for people who have allergies and asthma. Ayurvedic medicine uses this plant to treat many respiratory disorders.
This plant helps detoxify the body and shed water weight as it has diuretic properties. Butterfly pea is a mild laxative which helps the liver in removing harmful waste from the body. Anthelmintic properties found in the plant can help treat parasite infections. Butterfly pea flower tea can also help improve digestion and gut health, protecting the gastrointestinal tract from ulcers, heartburn, spasms and nausea. All of this helps improve the immunity of the body. It can also help the body fight infections and viruses.
Anti-Stress and Cognitive Health
This adaptogenic plant can potentially ease stress and reduce anxiety. Butterfly pea flower is very useful in fighting oxidative stress, so it can help to alleviate the negative effects of chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. It can also support general mental health. Research shows that this plant can boost levels of acetylcholine in the brain, which helps improve cognitive tasks, memory and focus. As well as slowing age-related memory loss.
Butterfly pea can help reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It can also help with weight loss and protect against obesity because it has metabolic benefits. Some studies show that it can protect from symptoms related to diabetes and insulin resistance because it can fight oxidative stress.
This plant can also stabilize blood sugar levels because it has the ability to inhibit enzymes which delay the digestion process and absorption of sugar which can reduce blood sugar and insulin levels. Lower blood insulin levels mean a lower risk of insulin resistance, obesity, metabolic syndrome and blood vessel dysfunction.