Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea)

Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea)

Clitoria ternatea (Shankapushpi)

The plant known as Clitoria ternatea is commonly found in tropical regions around the globe. This plant is native to South East Asia. This herb has been traditionally used for centuries to treat various health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and even infertility..

Corolla consists of 5 free petals, with 1 large and rounded banner, 2 wrinkle wings which are often half of the length of the banner, and 2 white keel which aids in protecting the floral organs.

They're rich in anthocyanin, which gives them their beautiful blue hue. They're used in teas, food, and beverages. Anthocyanins are the most important plant pigment responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables. With a lower pH, the anthocyanin becomes more of the flavylum form which gives a pinkish color. A combination of the two forms leads to a deeper purple color.

Butterflies feed on the nectar from these plants. Uses of shankapushpi include food, medicine, and environmental services.

Nitrogen fixation occurs naturally in the root nodules of Shankapushpi. Intercropping C. ternatea with legumes increases the nutrient content of the soil.

Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea)

Butterfly pea flower is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Shankapushpi flower contains alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponin, glycosides, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins. These compounds are responsible for its medicinal properties.

Blue butterfly peas grow well in moist soil in full sun. Pods should be allowed to dry and mature before harvesting seeds. Seeds can be stored dry until planting season.

There are several different uses for these flowers including making herbal tea, food coloring, and even dyes. Flowers may be picked to add colorful elements to salads or drinks. There are many ways to cook with butterfly pea flowers. The flowers are often eaten raw or cooked. Butterfly peas are used to produce food colours and flavours.

Butterfly pea flowers contain anthocyanin compounds that may reduce inflammation and prevent cancer cell growth. This plant contains many antioxidants, including ternatin, kaempferol, p coumaric acid, anddelphinidin- 3,5- glucoside. These compounds may help stimulate immune function, and cause cell death in colorectal cancer cells. These compounds may help stimulate immune function, and cause cell death in colorectal cancer cells.

Medicinal uses of Butterfly pea

  • Butterfly Pea improves eyesight, reduces wrinkles and stimulates hair growth.
  • Butterfly Pea promotes healthy skin, boosts memory and enhances cognition.
  • Butterfly pea is known as a ‘wonder herb’ due to its ability to promote healthy urinary flow, reduce inflammation, and improve mood.
  • Recent research indicates that the herb contains compounds that could help fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
  • Butterfly pea helps increase acetylcholine levels which is good for memory and concentration.
  • There is evidence that it can help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
  • It contains antioxidants that protect against free radicals.
  • Butterfly pea contains bioactive compounds called cyclotides, which exhibit antiviral activity against HIV.
  • Cyclotides are found in many plants including butterfly pea. They are peptides that act like hormones.
  • It is said to help prevent premature aging.
  • Butterfly Peas improve memory and mental clarity
  • Butterfly peas increase levels of Acetylcholine – an important neurotransmitter.
  • Benefits of Shankapushpi Flower- Improves digestion, Increases energy levels, Promotes weight loss, Treats constipation, Relieves stress.
  • Blue Tea made from Shankapushpi flower is very popular among women all over India. It is believed that drinking this tea during pregnancy improves health and gives strength to mother and child.
  • Blue tea is also used to treat various diseases like diabetes, hypertension etc.
  • Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea)

How to make Blue tea

You can use butterfly pea flowers to make herbal tea. Add 1 teaspoon. Let the tea steep for 10 – 15 minutes before straining out. You can add a bit of lemon or lime juice to increase the flavor. You can also make it from fresh blue flowers.

1. Collect Shankapushpi Flowers

2. Wash the flowers thoroughly

3. Boil the water

4. Steep the flowers for 5 minutes

5. Strain the liquid

6. Add a dash of lemon

6. Drink the tea

7. Enjoy the benefits!

Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea)

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Extra reading

12 months flowering plants in India

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Edible flowers


Happy Gardening!

Dr. Vandana K.

Get your Shankapushpi plant here