Latin name: Clitoria ternatea
The blue butterfly pea is a plant species belonging to the Fabaceae family. The flower of this plant is thought to resemble the shape of human female genitals. It grows as a vine or creeper, thriving in moist, neutral soil. Its flowers are a vivid deep blue colour; solitary, with light yellow markings. Their size is around 4 cm long by 3 cm wide. Some varieties yield white flowers. The fruits are 5–7 cm long, flat pods with six to ten seeds in each pod. They are edible when tender. They are full of health promoting antioxidants, flavonoids and peptides.
When can I pick it?
Pick the flowers in the morning when fully open.
Pick the seed pods when 90% of the seed is hard and black
How do I eat it?
Open the pods, collect the peas from within and boil them in water.
The flower can be eaten fresh from the plant. It can be used to make blue tea, blue rice, added to salads and fruit salad, and added in ricepaper rolls
- Improve eyesight
- Increases blood flow to the capillaries of the eyes
- Improve hair growth
- And reduce greying of hair
- Improve skin
- Rejuvenate skin and lessen wrinkles
- Treats menstruation problems or white vaginal discharge
- Decrease oxidative stress
- Enhancing cognitive functions
- Promotes normal urination
- Calming effect
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Benefit the immune system
- Anti-cancer and anti-tumor
- Causes cancer cell death
Butterfly pea as a food
The flowers are used across all Southeast Asia. They can be used as a natural food colouring. Flowers can be squeezed for their extract to then be mixed with coconut milk or other base ingredients. Examples of other uses include: A typical Thai drink called ‘nam dok anchan’ which uses butterfly pea flowers, honey and sugar syrup. A coloured glutinous rice in Malay cuisine called ‘kuih ketan’ can be made by using these flowers. Moreover, a common and simple way of using these flowers are to make butterfly pea tea.
How to prepare butterfly pea tea?
- Steep 10 flowers, fresh or dried, in a cup of hot water, let sit 15 minutes.
- When there is no color left in the petal, strain the liquid and discard the flowers. You will be left with an amazing indigo coloured broth.
- Butterfly-pea flower tea commonly contains dried lemongrass, which can be added during steeping to improve flavor.
- The tea can also be consumed with some drops of lime juice to create a sweet ‘n’ sour flavor and turn the luminous indigo tea a deeper purple color.