Updated: Jan 4, 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen, here's everything you want to know about Clitoria Ternatea, commonly known as the Blue Butterfly Pea Flower.
The plant is native to equatorial Asia. The flower is commonly used in cooking, baking and drinks and as a natural food colouring. The Clitoria Ternatea is also used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
What emerges in your mind is an image of a fragrant dark coloured drink that gives a bit of oomph to start your day or wakes you up in the middle of the afternoon. Best served with some pretty biscuits.
There is another type of tea that has an electric blue colour, that can magically change colour depending on acidity, and it has zero caffeine. That's My Blue Tea of course, and those who have been with us since the very beginning have already been enjoying this quaint and delightful drink. Those who are new to us, get ready to be bowled over by what this pretty drink can actually do. It can be used for cooking too and Butterfly Pea Flower is the only natural, organic blue colouring on earth. Sit tight.
The founder of My Blue Tea grew up with Bunga Telang in Malaysia, and it is still very much used in her heritage:
The Peranakans (of Melaka and Kelantan) for a long time used Bunga Telang / blue tea plant to make their popular dish, Nasi Kerabu, It is served with blue anti-oxidants, and blue coloured rice which is eaten with fried fish or chicken, salad, pickles, and crackers. Now available in Nan Yang Tea Club Haymarket Sydney and Nanyang Malaya Café Marrickville, Sydney; if you wish to savour them.
The Peranakans also use Bunga Telang / butterfly pea flowers (and pandan plant) for preparing their traditional desserts – kuih or kueh. One of the most popular being Pulut Tai Tai for weddings and Serimuka with Pandan. Read all about it on our blog, Down Memory with the Little Nyonya - a TV drama in Singapore 2008 (shown on SBS) and China CCTV 2020.
Collage of photos showing: Harvesting Butterfly Pea, Pulut Tai-Tai, The Little Nyonya CCTV series, Nasi Kerabu at Nan Yang Tea Club and Pandan Butterfly Pea Serimuka, a heritage food in Malaysia
What is Blue Tea?
Originating from South East Asia, blue tea has been around for centuries. It is derived from the Clitoria Ternatea plant, also called the butterfly-blue pea, blue-pea, or Asian pigeonwings. It’s recently gained popularity due to its many health benefits. This caffeine-free, herbal blue tea is actually a tisane or herbal tea.
Let's look at a bit of history about this Butterfly Pea Flower.
“Clitoria Ternatea” is the Latin name for the beautiful blue pea flower aka Butterfly Pea. "Clitoria" comes from "Clitoris" because the flower looks like the vulva of a woman.
And "Ternate” is an island in Indonesia, where the flower was first discovered. This generic name was given by the botanist Breyne in 1678 to describe an exotic plant found growing as a vine on the island of Ternate.
Blue tea has become a popular food trend in recent times, due to its wonderful benefits such as promoting weight loss, detoxifying the body, pacifying the mind, enriching skin texture and improving hair growth.
Collage of photos showing: blue tea, blue bread, colour changing cocktails, blue bathbombs (that won't stain your bathtub or yourself), Butterfly Pea facial mask, blue gelato, blue noodles/ pasta and of course, the colour changing drink that would impress your kids and guests.
Blue Tea's Chameleon Nature
What sets this electric blue beverage apart is its mesmerizing colour and its extraordinary ability to change colour, like a mood ring, with a change in PH. It's reported that Clitoria Ternate / Blue Tea has a pH of around 8.4 that makes it your natural alkaline water.
Just adding a few drops of lemon juice transforms the electric blue tea into the most magnificent pink or purple (it all depends on the type of water used, concentration of Blue Tea etc).
Mix in some Roselle Hibiscus powder and you end up with a gorgeous magenta tea. In fact, you can create a rainbow of colours by simply adding bicarbonate soda or spinach juice. You will either get a green or yellow drink.
This is like art class made really delicious and healthy!
In the Blue of Health
Blue tea has numerous health benefits, so it is not just a pretty drink.
The impressive nutritional profile of blue tea makes it a wonderful weight loss beverage, as well as a refreshing drink to cool the body when served chilled.
Being naturally caffeine-free and a completely herbal concoction, blue tea is also a powerhouse of antioxidants. It contains significant amounts of the catechin EGCG - epigallocatechin gallate, as well as a host of anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting components such as flavonoids, tannins and polyphenols.
One version of blue tea is made from a combination of dried butterfly pea flowers and the added fragrance of lemongrass. The earthy flavoured blue tea is then mixed with lemon and honey and is now quite common. Blue Herbal tea is another popular blue tea blend with Butterfly Pea, ginger, lemongrass and pandan (The New Black – move over Matcha!!)
This drink, known as the ‘Ayurvedic’ tea benefit is often flavoured with cardamon, cinnamon, ginger and a range of Indian herbs and enjoyed both hot and cold for ayurvedic purposes.
Not surprisingly, blue tea is now very much sought after, for its tremendous potential to augment physical and mental wellbeing. Today we want to highlight just the most important health benefits of blue tea, and that has turned into a mammoth task. It is so power packed with benefits we had a really hard time trimming things down!
Blue tea is set to take the health world by storm. A quick list of benefits include:
Nootropic – brain food – overall brain health
Anti-inflammatory – the deep blue flowers contain flavonoid pigments similar to blue berries, acai berry, mangosteen rind etc. that protect the plant. When you inject the flower the effect is remarkably similar to the anti-inflammatory effect of the plant in nature.
Aids diabetic activity by inhibiting glucose intake from the diet.
Noted anti-cancer and anti-tumour abilities resulting from cyclotides that cause cell death by disrupting cell membrane integrity.
Anti-pyretic –reduces fever by dilating the blood vessels just beneath the skin which increases blood flow near the surface of the skin where it can be more easily cooled by the air.
Loaded with antioxidants – that helps boost circulation and collagen production and prevent premature ageing.
It’s been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a memory enhancer, a stress alleviator, to lift the mood, and it is believed to balance blood sugar levels.
Strengthens the hair for healthy hair growth/prevent hair loss and greying.
Possesses anti cancer properties. *Keeps skin glowing & healthy *Treats urinary problems. *Improves eyesight & night vision *Treats eye infections.
Detoxifies the whole body.
Enhances immune system.
And now we'll get into the details of some of the most important health benefits of blue tea. Maybe you could get a pot of blue tea brewing, because you will be wanting to have quite a few cups even before you are halfway through our list!
Butterfly Pea health benefits at a glance.
1) Blue Tea Is Effective for Weight Loss
With increasing awareness regarding the health risks associated with obesity, more and more people are looking for ways to lose weight and stay fit.
Drinking teas for weight loss have become quite a trend and it seems like blue tea might just be the new weight loss tea.
According to one study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, blue tea helps with weight loss by preventing and fighting against fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver disease is responsible for causing weight gain, especially in the belly area. Blue tea helps burn belly fat by protecting against fatty liver disease.
The hero compound in blue tea is the catechin EGCG, epigallocatechin gallate, which speeds up the calorie-burning process by boosting the metabolism a boost. Studies have found blue tea to contain higher levels of the compound EGCG in comparison to other teas, making it a potent weight loss drink.
Antioxidants found in blue tea have shown anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties which helps to detoxify the body and shed water weight accumulated due to water retention.
Enjoy a cup of this gorgeous colored drink after meals to detoxify and boost your metabolism.
2) Blue Tea Is an All-Natural Paracetamol
If you are down with a fever with nothing but blue tea in your pantry, fret not because you have an all-natural paracetamol.
Findings from the journal Phytomedicine revealed that blue tea was shown to have antipyretic properties and mimic effects similar to that of paracetamol, a pain reliever, and a fever reducer.
According to one investigation, blue tea extract, when given in doses ranging from 200- 400 milligrams, was shown to significantly reduce the body temperature for up to five hours of ingesting the extract. Blue tea helps reduce fever by causing blood vessels underneath the skin to expand; this cools the blood by increasing the blood flow and reducing the temperature.
So the next time you feel a headache coming on, you can try reaching for your kettle and some blue tea.
3) Blue Tea Is Beneficial for Eye Health
Blue tea is also referred to as “Bunga Telang”, which means “clear vision”, and it is highly beneficial for maintaining strong and healthy eyes.
The people of Bali use blue tea as a natural remedy to treat eye ailments. The beverage is also quite popular in Indonesia for the same reason.
The blue tea plant, Clitoria Ternatea, is packed with health-boosting antioxidants. One such antioxidant is proanthocyanidin, which is responsible for increasing blood flow to the capillaries of the eyes. This makes blue tea effective in treating retinal damage, glaucoma, or blurred vision.
Just remember the slogan, Blue Tea for Clarity when your eyes feel tired with too much screen time.
4) Blue Tea Is Effective Against Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
If a long day at work increases your stress and anxiety, blue tea is for you. Blue tea has been used as a stress reliever since ancient times and has an adaptogenic effect on your body in reducing stress.
Antioxidants found in blue tea have been shown to lift moods and relax the nerves, enabling a good night’s sleep. According to one study published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, blue tea has been shown to have a positive impact on the central nervous system (CNS) of mice.
The study also revealed that blue tea has been found effective against depression, stress, and anxiety.
So, if you are feeling blue, why not treat yourself to a cup of kindness and have some blue tea to calm your nerves.
5) Blue Tea May Be Effective for Diabetics
Diabetes has been directly responsible for 1.6 million deaths in 2016.
While we still don’t have a cure for it, research reveals that the color-changing blue tea is actually effective for diabetics in keeping their sugar levels in check and curing type II diabetes.
Taking a cup of blue tea between meals has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and lower blood glucose levels. Blue tea inhibits excess glucose absorption from food and therefore helps keep blood sugar levels in check.
According to a study conducted on diabetic rats, published in the Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, blue tea extract was found to considerably reduce their serum glucose levels and increase their body weight. The study concluded that blue tea extract showed anti-diabetic properties similar to that of glibenclamide, an anti-diabetic drug.
"My wife started consuming Blue Tea and within a week she had no more pains and was able to move easily, we believe it is the anti-inflammatory benefit of the Blue Tea. Her skin is glowing and hair is silky. My wife is 75 years old. We are very very happy with the quality of MY BLUE TEA's Butterfly Pea flower tea and have recommended MY BLUE TEA to our friends and family and now getting more." - Kevin (Google review)
6) Blue Tea Is Good for Heart Health
Blue tea is packed with antioxidants that not only protect you from infections but are also beneficial for keeping your heart in good shape.
Studies have found blue tea to be effective in lowering high cholesterol levels - a major risk factor for heart disease. Blue tea has been shown to protect against heart diseases by curbing Hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia refers to an abnormally high concentration of lipids or fats in the blood.
It is also responsible for a number of heart diseases including blockage, blood clotting, and heart attack. According to a 2010 Pharmaceutical Biology study, butterfly pea extract, when taken with the herb vigna mungo, lowered serum total cholesterol by a considerable amount. It also showed a significant reduction in triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.
Blue tea is definitely something close to our hearts here.
7) Blue Tea Is Packed with Antioxidants and Has No Caffeine
Why go for supplements when you can get all the antioxidants you need in blue tea?
Blue tea is packed with health-boosting antioxidants; in fact, it is the only tisane whose antioxidant levels are comparable to green tea. Free radicals are responsible for chronic inflammation, low immunity, and a few other diseases, including cancer.
An antioxidant called Proanthocyanidin found in blue tea provides protection against oxidative damage done to cells by free radicals. Cyclotides found in blue tea are free-radical fighting peptides.
Blue tea is also rich in flavonoids that boost the immune system and fight off diseases. Furthermore, blue tea has also been shown to behave as an expectorant and helps provide relief from cough and asthma.
A big advantage of blue tea is that you can get the calming benefits of tea without the jitters caused by caffeine. Since blue tea isn’t made from the Camilla Sinensis plant, it has no caffeine. This means you can enjoy another cup of blue tea without feeling guilty.
A refill, anyone?
"Thank you My Blue Tea for your great products and your excellent service everytime. I've used pandan and blue butterfly pea powder for a couple of years now and they have made my kuih making a lot easier yet getting the authentic flavour and natural colour that I want. I'm looking forward to try the other products that you have to offer. Lee has always been available to communicate and very helpful. Thank you so much!" - by Kueh Company (Google review)
8) Blue Tea Promotes Anti-Ageing
Having clear, blemish-free, youthful-looking skin is everyone’s dream.
Blue tea is packed with antioxidants that are great for your hair and skin and prevent premature aging by fighting free radicals.
Blue tea contains the compound Anthocyanin which increases blood flow in the scalp and strengthens the hair follicles. The people of Thailand have been using the blue tea plant, Butterfly Pea herb, for centuries for treating hair problems.
9) Premature Greying and Male Pattern Baldness
The skin shows signs of aging because of a protein-damaging process called glycation.
Blue tea has anti-glycation properties, meaning it inhibits the process of glycation and keeps your skin looking youthful.
Elastin and collagen are important compounds that maintain youthful-looking skin by preventing wrinkles and maintaining skin elasticity. Flavonoids found in blue tea have been shown to increase collagen and skin elasticity. One such flavonoid found in blue tea is quercetin, which strengthens hair and skin cells, and retains hydration in skin cells.
One of the most hilarious testimonies that we have received is from Ken Ung, a Sydney Mortgage Broker, affectionately known as the Bald Broker and we love it. Thanks Ken.
"This blue tea is amazing. For years, perhaps due to lack of nutrition, my nails are a little soft and my hair thinning out (So I decided to go bald). After having blue tea on a regular basis, my nails seems to be stronger and harder, my skin seems to be better, and my hair seems to grow quicker and stronger so now I have to shave my head every 2 days instead of twice a week like before. Definitely give it a go for yourself and enjoy the benefits." - Ken Ung, the (no longer) Bald Broker
10) Blue Tea Is Good for Brain Health
Blue tea has also been linked with overall brain health.
A research concluded that the antioxidants found in blue tea boost brain power, increase cognitive skill and memory, and are good for the central Nervous system (CNS).
Animal studies have shown that blue tea extract enhances memory, cures depression, calms the nerves, and increases cognitive ability. However, much research is still needed on the subject.
One research found that blue tea extract, in a dosage of 50 to 100mg/ kg, increased memory in rats over the course of 30 days.
Another study found that the extract from the root of the blue tea plant was more potent than the leaves or stem extract. Acetylcholine is a compound responsible for effective communication between nerve cells. With age, acetylcholine levels decline, causing memory loss and other brain-related issues.
Blue tea contains acetylcholine and regular consumption of blue tea can prevent memory loss, increase memory and cognitive skills.
Grab a cup of blue tea now and give your brain a boost!
Butterfly Pea Flower has SIGNIFICANT amounts of ANTHOCYNANINS with potential benefits with supporting learning and memory.
11) Blue Tea Possesses Anti-Inflammatory Properties
According to a study published in the International Research Journal of Pharmacy, the antioxidant content in blue tea is high enough to fight against disease-causing inflammation.
The high amount of antioxidants present in blue tea is responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties, which not only help reduce inflammation but also protect against a number of chronic diseases.
Blue tea extracts also exhibit anaesthetic properties and as such has been used for ages to provide relief from pain and swelling. Blue tea has been shown to be equally effective in treating both external and internal inflammations.
Flavonoids found in blue tea boost the immune system, enabling it to fight against inflammation and infections. Indian studies revealed blue tea extract to exhibit considerable anti-microbial properties against Staphylococcus Aureus.
Have a business e.g. Cafes/Restaurant/Bakery/Kueh even skincare company - and would like WHOLESALE ACCOUNT?
Blue Tea Side Effects
There are no known side effects of blue tea. It is known to be extremely safe and super healthy to consume. However, over-consumption of blue tea may cause nausea and diarrhoea. Also, pregnant and lactating women are also advised to consult their doctor before drinking blue tea.
The book “Home Remedies,” does point out that herbal preparation from the powdered seeds and leaves of blue tea plant may cause severe nausea and diarrhoea.
If you happen to be taking any sort of medications, it is advisable to get your doctor’s approval before drinking blue tea.
With regards to the safety and toxicity of blue tea, a study evaluating the oral toxicity of blue tea extract with doses up to 3000 mg/kg bodyweight failed to notice any relevant toxicological signs.
Nevertheless, should any discomfort or other symptoms arise, consult your doctor immediately.
While we love our blue tea and are always on the lookout for recipes and creative, adventurous chefs to use our beautiful superfood, safety is also key to enjoying blue tea worry-free and guilt-free.
Share your happy blue tea stories and experiences with us! We are always ready to listen with our pot of blue tea brewing!
This product brief is solely intended as a source of information and does not prescribe or advise the use of any substance mentioned herein. The authors do not intend to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. The Food and Drug Administration Australia has not evaluated any statements made herein.
Consult with your doctor about all prescription and non-prescription medicines you take before you begin to use any herbal products and partner with your professional health care practitioner on determining your own health destiny.
If you are a pregnant, considering pregnancy or are a nursing mother you should consult your physician prior to using any health supplement product.
Scientific Support & Reference Citations
References http://examine.com/supplements/clitoria-ternatea/ lists 22 scientific refer-ences which provide support for the benefits of Clitoria principissae:
1. Rotblatt M, Ziment I 2002 – Evidence based Herbal Medicine. Hanley & Belfus, Philadephia.
2. Chang ST, Wu JH, Wang SY, Kang PL, Yang NS, Shyur LF 2001. Anti oxidants activity extracts from Acacia confusa bark and heartwood. J Agric Chem 3420-3424
3. Jain NN, et al Clitoria ternatea and the CNS. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. (2003)
4. Rai KS, et al Clitoria ternatea root extract enhances acetylcholine content in rat hip-pocampus. Fitoterapia. (2002)
5. Malik J, Karan M, Vasisht K Nootropic, anxiolytic and CNS-depressant studies on different plant sources of shankhpushpi .Pharm Biol. (2011)
6. Sethiya NK, et al An update on Shankhpushpi, a cognition-boosting Ayurvedic med-icine. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He
Xue Bao. (2009)
7..Aulakh GS, Narayanan S, Mahadevan G Phyto – chemistry and pharmacology of shankapushpi – four varieties. Anc Sci Life. (1988)
8. Swain SS, Rout KK, Chand PK Production of Triterpenoid Anti-cancer Compound Taraxerol in Agrobacterium- Transformed Root Cultures of Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ter-natea L.). Appl Biochem Biotechnol. (2012)
9. Kumar V, et al Validation of HPTLC method for the analysis of taraxerol in Clitoria ternatea. Phytochem Anal. (2008)
10. Terahara N, et al Eight new anthocyanins, ternatins C1-C5 and D3 and preternatins A3 and C4 from young
clitoria ternatea flowers. J Nat Prod. (1998)
11. Terahara N, et al Five new anthocyanins, ternatins A3, B4, B3, B2, and D2, from Cli-toria ternatea flowers. J Nat Prod. (1996)
12. Taur DJ, Patil RY Evaluation of antiasthmatic activity of Clitoria ternatea L. roots. J Ethnopharmacol. (2011)
13. Ripperger H Isolation of stigmast-4-ene-3,6-dione from Hamelia patens and Clitoria ternatea. Pharmazie. (1978)
14. Kazuma K, Noda N, Suzuki M Malonylated flavonol glycosides from the petals of Clitoria ternatea. Phytochemistry. (2003)
15. Revilleza MJ, Mendoza EM, Raymundo LC Oligosaccharides in several Philippine indigenous food legumes:
determination, localization and removal. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. (1990)
16. Kamkaen N, Wilkinson JM The antioxidant activity of Clitoria ternatea flower petal extracts and eye gel. Phytother Res. (2009)
17. Rai KS, et al Clitoria ternatea (Linn) root extract treatment during growth spurt pe-riod enhances learning and memory in rats .Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. (2001)
18. Taranalli AD, Cheeramkuzhy TC Influence of clitoria ternatea extracts on memory and central cholinergic activity in rats .Pharm Biol. (2000)
19. Rai KS, et al Altered dendritic arborization of amygdala neurons in young adult rats orally intubated with
Clitorea ternatea aqueous root extract. Phytother Res. (2005)
20. Adisakwattana S, et al In vitro inhibitory effects of plant-based foods and their com-binations on intestinal glucosidase and pancreatic amylase. BMC Complement Al-tern Med. (2012)
21. Solanki YB, Jain SM Antihyperlipidemic activity of Clitoria ternatea and Vigna mun-go in rats. Pharm Biol. (2010)
22. PIALA JJ, MADISSOO H, RUBIN B Diuretic activity of roots of Clitoria ternatea L. in dogs. Experientia. (1962)
23. El-Halawany AM, et al Screening for estrogenic and antiestrogenic activities of plants growing in Egypt and
Thailand .Pharmacognosy Res. (2011)
24. Ramanathan M, Balaji B, Justin A Behavioural and neurochemical evaluation of Perment an herbal formulation in chronic unpredictable mild stress induced depressive model. Indian J Exp Biol. (2011)
25. Dr R Mensah, Australia 2016 – Patent for pest management & control using the insecticidal properties of clitoria ternatea