If you go around Southeast Asia enough and visit local cafes and restaurants, you will soon notice a type of drink popular only in the area. With its bright blue and purple colors, it will surely catch your attention.
Perhaps it’s a blueberry syrup or some artificial food coloring? Is it a trend like the infamous unicorn drink sold ubiquitously by a big name cafe? But then the bright blue color isn’t only seen in beverages. There’s blue rice, blue cakes, and even a blue latte!
Well, friends, it’s not some artificial store-bought phenomenon. All over equatorial Asia, it’s yet another flower that has a noteworthy role in their cuisine. While most cultures within the continent use this flower to add color to their food, it is consumed primarily for its benefits.
In This Article
The Butterfly Pea Flower
The Butterfly Pea Flower goes by many names, although contemporary patrons prefer this name. It’s called Asian pigeonwings, blue ternate tea, blue bellvine, cordofan pea, and Darwin pea. The scientific name, perhaps more memorable than the list above, is Clitoria Ternatea.
In Ayurveda, the blue butterfly pea vine is considered medicine. Practitioners believe it can enhance memory, heighten intelligence, lower stress, and fight depression.
Many older people consume the butterfly pea flower as a tea because of its calming and sedative properties.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that the plant can help increase female libido because of its similar shape to the female reproductive organ.
The flower is credited to have chock-full of health benefits that health and wellness companies have turned this into powder to be consumed as a supplement beverage.
When you add to your regular diet this beautiful blue flower, you will soon experience the health benefits that it is known for.
If you are experiencing high fever, the anti-pyretic quality of the blue ternate dilates the blood vessels below your skin. This helps increase blood flow in your skin.
The proanthocyanidin anti-oxidant increases the blood flow in the capillaries of your eyes. That means it improves eyesight, corrects blurred vision, and soothes inflamed eyes, reverses retinal damage, prevents cataracts, and more!
Collagen and Elastin Synthesis
For those conscious of their age-ing and visible wrinkles, collagen is a familiar protein. The anti-oxidants in the blue butterfly pea flower stimulates collagen and elastin synthesis. This helps rejuvenate the skin, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and (one of our favorite skincare term) slows down the effects of age-ing.
Struggling with thin hair and rapid hair loss? The blue butterfly pea flower is rich in bioflavonoids. In fact, it’s a not-so-secret secret among Asian beauty influencers. If you want hair that’s strong and shiny, you can soak your hair in the pea flower-infused water.
Another recipe to try is this hair mist for thicker hair:
Add 1 cup of water and about 2 tablespoons of butterfly pea flowers into a saucepan. It’s okay to use dried flowers for this one. Simmer for 10 minutes and then let it cool off.
Place the tea in a spray bottle and add 10 drops of rosemary oil. Shake well. You can use this concoction as a hair mist before or after shampooing. You can spritz this on your hair and scalp.
If you are planning on water fasting or taking a detox weekend, adding the butterfly pea flower can maximize your fast. It has diuretic properties and promotes water excretion. This helps lower blood pressure and counters bloating.
Some traditions use the flower as an anesthetic. They wash the infected, swollen, or painful area with the flower’s tea.
Another traditional practice is grounding the flowers and combining them with salt. Traditional doctors rub this mixture on the affected area.
All throughout the region, the flower is taken as a tea. Younger tea drinkers enjoy this with their morning lemon water mixture. So if you wake up in the morning and drink lemon water first thing, you can maximize the health benefits of your super drink with the butterfly pea flower. It also turns into a beautiful purple color, which is a fun way to start the day.
Burmese and Thai Cuisines dip the flower in batter and deep fry it. Rice-eating parts of Asia also use this to add color to the glutinous rice. It makes for a healthy and vibrant food presentation.
Looking to add a unique color to your meals and drinks? Try these fun ways to infuse the blue butterfly pea flower.
1. Magical Lemonade
Here’s a drink that is also refreshing to the eyes. Your family and friends will enjoy the magical changing colors of the juice.
Here’s another party trick that kids and adults alike will love. Freeze the steeped butterfly pea flower into ice cubes. When serving cocktails or juices at a party or a cookout, your guests will enjoy watching the ice melt and change the color of your drinks.
3. Swirl Bread
This butterfly pea flower swirl bread recipe by @breadbyelise is an original and delightful idea.