The Clitoria Ternatea

IF YOU need to quench your thirst but you are veering away from carbonated beverages or commercially prepared juices, a better and healthier alternative is to prepare your own refreshing drink by using the flowers of the butterfly pea.

The butterfly pea flower tea is made from ternatea flowers, which when prepared by using hot or cold water, its taste is usually described as “earthy” and similar to the flavor of an unsweetened green tea.

The Clitoria ternatea L. plant, which is commonly known as the butterfly pea, blue pea, or Asian pigeon wings, is a plant from the Fabaceae family.

The petals from the flowers of the butterfly pea, which is bright blue in color, have been used as an ingredient in the preparation of herbal tea drinks for so many years already.

When steeped in warm or hot water, the flower of the butterfly pea imparts its blue color, which is usually used as dye, as well as adding color to different food preparations like the rice dish which is called Nasi kerabu, a Malay rice dish where its blue color comes from the petals of the Clitori ternatea flowers that are used in cooking it.

Among those who promote the preparation of the butterfly pea flower tea is May Aileen S. Uy of May’s Organic Garden in Barangay Pahanocoy, Bacolod City.

After all, May Aileen and her husband Ramon Uy Sr. are both advocates of organic farming and the promotion of healthy living.

Compared with green tea, the butterfly pea flower tea is said to contain potent antioxidants, and has been found to help protect the skin against premature aging.

At the May’s Organic Garden, this famous creeper is usually cultivated naturally for its very attractive blue-colored flowers which can be eaten as part of a dish, or used for dyeing food items.

The butterfly pea plant can also thrive well in the wild because of its ability to grow even in poor soil.

Butterfly pea is also used in fences and in trellises as an ornamental plant for its showy flowers.

Its young pods, which are edible, are also used as an ingredient in the preparation of vegetable dishes.

Among the health benefits of the butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea L.) include improving hair growth, improving eyesight, improves the skin, antioxidant, and even analgesic.

The butterfly pea contains an antioxidant called proanthocyanidin, which increases blood flow to the capillaries of the eyes, useful in treatment of glaucoma, blurred vision, retinal damage or tired eyes.

While its antioxidants can stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis, which helps to rejuvenate the skin and lessen wrinkles, and other signs of ageing.

In traditional medicine, the plant has been found to have properties which could affect the female libido due to its similar appearance to the female reproductive organ.

During the earlier years, the flowers of the butterfly pea were imagined to have the shape of the human female genitals, hence, the Latin name of the genus “Clitoria,” from the word “clitoris.” ([email protected]/PN)

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