As a herbalist and formulator, I’m always searching for plants, herbs, and spices that have interesting wellness applications. Studies proving their worth as modern day remedies, and traditional folklore showing their ability to heal. Every now and again I come across something special.
The Butterfly Pea is one of those unique little gems that ignites my passion. This beautiful flower is commonly found in Asia, has proven scientific benefits, as well as the most incredible Cerulean Blue petals. It is used throughout ancient Siam and in modern Thailand as an elixir to calm the mood.
In India, the Butterfly Pea is used as a cognitive enhancer known as Shanka Pushi. With all parts of this plant used over time, it has earnt its place in natural herbal medicine. The roots contribute therapeutic value and are often used to treat wounds and swollen joints. The seeds are used to treat asthma and are a strong purgative, killing parasites as they move through the body.
What makes the flowers so unique?
Few plants contain Cyclotides, which are small disulfide-rich peptides obtained from the Butterfly Pea flowers. They typically contain 28 – 37 amino acids that work well with our body. Their exciting biological activities affect us in many positive ways, leading us toward the opportunity for greater health. This plant peptide has been studied extensively in China and has been found to be very useful for boosting the brain and banishing the blues.
Blue butterfly pea flowers are high in bioflavonoids, which are added to many of today’s shampoos to stimulates hair growth. Powerful natural antioxidants like anthocyanin and blue proanthocyanidin can increase the collagen and elasticity in skin cells; antioxidants quickly dissolved into water, stopping the effects of free radicals, meaning this beverage is supercharged with health benefits.
Healing benefits of Butterfly Peas.
Infertility in Women & Aphrodisiac, Memory Enhancer & Stress Reliever, Digestive Health & Constipation, Anti-fungal & Antioxidant, Coughing & Asthma
How to use Butterfly Pea Flowers.
Add ten dried flower plumes to a jug of fresh water, leave the flowers to soak for 10 minutes, and watch your water change first to a Cerulean blue like the sky and then to an incredible Indigo, keeping you well hydrated all day. For a touch of the exotic, add three or four flowers to a glass of Prosecco for a beautiful red or purple dependent on the acidity of the drink. You can also use it in a warm beverage; add a slice of lemon or lime and a teaspoon of honey and watch it transform.
As the water and fat-soluble components of these flower petals are bioactive; you receive more benefits from drinking this beverage when taken alongside a meal.
I’m working on adding these flowers to our new herbal purification program, due for launch in 2017. The flowers will make a great addition to our cleansing teas.
The Scientific name for the Butterfly Pea plant is Clitoria ternatea. It is native to tropical areas of Asia and rather bluntly named after the clitoris, to which the flowers allegedly show some resemblance. Thanks, Mr. Darwin!