Health Benefits of Butterfly Pea Flower
The Butterly Pea Flower (also scientifically referred to as Clitoria ternatea) often grown as an ornamental plant in Asia is noted for its bright blue edible flowers. Known for its luminous indigo colour, Butterfly Pea has traditionally been used as a vegetable in cooking, to colour deserts or to make a strikingly vibrant coloured tea.
Aside from its many culinary uses, the blue butterfly pea vine has been used in Ayurveda as well as traditional Asian and Middle Eastern medicine for centuries. Its health benefits (improved memory, balanced mood, and a healthy immune system) are increasingly supported by modern science.
The most common form of consumption of the blue butterfly pea is making a tea from ternatea flowers. Making the blue butterfly pea tea is quite simple and easy. Take about a dozen butterfly pea flowers and steep them in hot water until the color of the water changes to a vivid blue and the flowers turn pink. If you do not have fresh flowers, use dry flowers instead. Let the tea brew for about 10 minutes. Strain the liquid in a cup and add a dash of lemongrass, lemon drops, honey or ginger to enhance the taste. The color of the tea will change accordingly, like lemon may make it purplish. You can serve it warm or cold. The bright, blue beautiful flowers of the blue butterfly pea are often used in salads not just for the color, but also for the taste and health benefits.
Butterfly pea is one of the few plants that has cyclotides in it. These are peptides that have antitumor properties and cause cancer cell death because they can penetrate the cancer cell membrane. A recent study in China found butterfly pea to be very effective against certain lung cancer cell lines. Other studies have shown that a powder made from the ground-up leaves of the butterfly pea can enhance memory and brain power. The roots of the blue butterfly pea plant are used to cure many eye ailments, especially in Southeast Asia. The beautiful flowers of the blue butterfly pea are used to treat eye infections like ‘pink eye’ or conjunctivitis. Anti-oxidants in this flower are known to improve blood flow in the capillaries of the eyes, improving vision and reducing the progress of cataracts.
Patients who suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension can take the blue butterfly pea tea to control their blood pressure. Blue butterfly pea is full of antioxidants and has properties that reverse the damage caused to the skin by sugar molecules. Sugar molecules cause skin aging due to the process of Glycation, that causes damage to skin proteins. Blue butterfly pea tea has anti-Glycation and can prevent premature aging. If you know that your skin gets damaged with the slightest elements around, bruises can be avoided when you wipe the unsweetened tea on your skin before you go out. This would protect the skin also from radiation and the harmful UV rays of the skin; skin stays healthy and glowy for long.
The blue butterfly pea flower, rich in bioflavinoids, has been used traditionally to promote hair growth, thicken the hair and reduce greying of the hair. The plant comes as an ingredient in many shampoos and conditioners. It has properties that nourish hair follicles, promotes hair growth and reduces hair fall.
Though no side effects have come to the fore, yet it is recommended not to prolong the consumption of blue butterfly pea. If you are pregnant or are breastfeeding, it is advised to take your doctor’s opinion before you include blue butterfly pea tea in your diet.