Blue tea, as the name suggests, is a beverage bearing a prominent blue colour, made from the flowers of the Clitoria ternatea plant. Common names of this medicinal shrub, indigenous to South East Asia, include butterfly pea, cordofan pea, blue pea, aparajitha and Asian pigeonwings.
Blue tea is a popular food trend in recent times, owing to the wonderful benefits it confers, for human health, such as promoting weight loss, detoxifying the body, pacifying the mind, enriching skin texture and improving hair growth.
Also Read: Natural Immune Boosters: Calming, Aromatic Herbal Teas To Combat Monsoon Maladies
Clitoria ternatea is a plant from the family Fabaceae and is commonly found throughout South East Asian countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka. The bright blue petals from the flowers of the butterfly pea plant have been used as an ingredient in herbal tea drinks throughout the region for centuries as well as used in cooking. The blue flower imparts its blue colour when steeped in warm or hot water, leading it to be used as a dye, as well as to add colour to various traditional dishes.
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 just like Green 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.
1. Facilitates Digestion
The tea is rich in antioxidants, which makes it a great beverage to include in your detox diet, especially in summer. Antioxidants protect the body against free radical action. Free radicals are harmful substances which can damage healthy cells in the body. Drinking a cup of blue tea once or twice a week on an empty stomach flushes out toxins accumulated in the system and vastly improves digestive health.
2. Uplifts Mood
The earthy flavour of butterfly-pea flower tea is said to be a mood enhancer. The tea is said to have stress-busting effects that may also help reduce symptoms of anxiety. It is also known to refresh the brain, bolster energy levels and stamina, influence positive emotions and thereby increase productivity at work. Blue tea is also a great stress-buster, alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression.
3. Accelerates Weight Loss
Blue tea is free from caffeine, as well as contains zero carbs, fats and cholesterol. It is hence an ideal drink for those on weight loss diet, as it purifies the gut of any food wastes and impurities, as well as regulates appetite. By curbing untimely cravings for junk food, blue tea is a remarkable herbal drink for maintaining optimal body weight.
4. Supports glowing skin
Butterfly pea flowers are of interest in the skincare community because of their ability to support graceful aging with antioxidants. While some flowers and botanicals have components that are irritating to skin, all components of butterfly pea flowers from the root to the flowers themselves can be used for topical skincare. One study found it did have an affect on calming skin issues; however, primary skin benefits will occur from the antioxidants present when drinking butterfly pea flower tea. After all, true beauty begins from the inside out!
5. Stimulates Hair Growth
Blue pea flower is excellent for the hair too, as it contains anthocyanin - a compound known to increase blood circulation in the head and therefore maintain a healthy scalp. It also helps in strengthening the hair follicles from within.
6. Ameliorates Diabetic Conditions
Sipping on a cup of piping hot blue daily works wonders in avoiding sudden spikes in blood sugar levels, besides facilitating smooth digestion processes, in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The abundant reserves of phenolic acid, phenolic amide antioxidants in blue tea portray significant antihyperglycemic effects, improving insulin secretion, regulating glucose metabolism and preventing excess absorption of sugars by body cells, both while fasting and post consuming meals. Butterfly pea flower tea is certainly an ideal wholesome addition to the diabetic diet.
7. Uplifts Cardiac Wellness
Blue tea is laden with fortifying bioflavonoid compounds, that supply protective and remedial antioxidant qualities for heart health. Heaped with antihyperlipidemic constituents, blue tea tremendously decreases cholesterol volumes and aberrantly high lipid/fat levels in the bloodstream. Moreover, having a glass of blue tea reduces harmful triglyceride and bad LDL cholesterol concentrations, while raising good HDL cholesterol amounts. This, in turn, averts the risk of a host of cardiac ailments, such as atherosclerosis, heart attacks, dangerous blood clots in the arteries, veins and hypertension or high blood pressure.
8. Promotes Healthy Eyesight
The richness of proanthocyanidin complexes in blue tea makes it a refreshing, delightful and nutritious beverage for enhancing eyesight. Thanks to the storehouse of anti-inflammatory and analgesic i.e. pain-relieving traits in blue tea, it delivers noteworthy merits for lowering the discomfort, redness, swelling experienced in common eye infections. By stimulating the passage of blood that is imbued with essential nutrients, towards the intricate capillaries of the optic cells, tissues, blue tea efficiently preserves visual organelles and structures of retina, cornea, lens, healing indications of glaucoma, hazy vision.
9. Promotes graceful aging
During the course of our lives, we take in a lot of oxygen through the air, food, and other exposure. This leads to free radicals entering the body, which are actually unpaired electrons. When electrons aren’t paired up, they may accelerate aging and increase the chances for health issues. Antioxidants help manage and get rid of free radicals in the body. Some recent studies have even shown promise for incorporating butterfly pea flowers into skincare products. Of course, the most effective way to reap the benefits is by drinking butterfly pea flower tea, which contains many plant-based antioxidants that naturally help you age gracefully!
10. Provides antioxidant support
Butterfly pea flowers are popular all over the world in functional beverages. In Thailand, it is a popular choice for a post-meal treat when mixed with lemon and honey. One study from 2019 found that consumption of butterfly pea flowers in beverages did have an impact on increasing antioxidant activity in the body, which in turn can be used to benefit many health functions.
11. Contains anthocyanins
Butterfly pea flowers are rich in anthocyanins that support well-being. It starts with flavonoids, which are chemicals found in plants. These flavonoids create the rainbow of colors that are seen in nature in flowers, vegetables, fruits, and other plants. These flavonoids are further broken down into different groups and subgroups of plant chemicals. Anthocyanins are water-soluble and make up one of these groups, which are deep pigments in shades of blue, dark red, and violet. Some of the most nutritious foods in the world, such as blueberries, elderberries, and cranberries contain anthocyanins that are found in the outer cell layers. Anthocyanins support antioxidant activity and are shown to support cardiovascular health in some studies.
12. Contains versatile catechins
Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is a catechin, an antioxidant that is primarily found in green tea. Research suggests that EGCG has many healthful functions in the body, including to help maintain weight and cardiovascular health. In particular, one study found that consuming two cups of green tea per day was associated with lower body fat and successful weight management; however, the results of the study overall had varying factors regarding these results. Although these studies were conducted on EGCG found in green tea, butterfly pea flower tea also contains catechins to support health and wellness.
13. Potential cognitive support
Numerous studies have been conducted in the last twenty years to examine butterfly pea flowers and their impact on cognitive health. Several of these studies have reported benefits within animal studies. Further examination is needed to fully understand how these benefits translate in human health, but early research is promising.
14. Eases occasional stress
Butterfly pea flowers are an adaptogenic herb that may help ease occasional stress.* Russian scientist N.V. Lazarez discovered adaptogens in 1947 while another Russian scientist, Dr. Israel Brekhman, spent more than forty years examining their healthful benefits. Dr. Brekhman designated that to be an adaptogen, herbs that need to have three specific traits:
How To Brew Butterfly Blue Pea Tea
STEP 1: Boil water.
Water quality is important with tea. The better the water, the better the cup of tea. Use filtered water if possible.
If you’re using an electric kettle with temperature setting like I do, set it to 208°F, otherwise you can just use boiling hot water.
Boil extra water so that you can use it to warm up the teapot.
STEP 2: Warm up teapot.
Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit to warm it up. Discard water.
When the teapot is warm, the tea won’t cool down as fast while it’s brewing.
STEP 3: Put butterfly pea flower tea into teapot and add hot water.
STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
The minimum steep time for herbal tea is 5 minutes. You can steep for longer without the tea getting bitter unlike green tea.
STEP 5: Strain butterfly pea flowers and pour hot tea into a teacup.
You can add lemon slices into your drink and watch the color change from blue to purple.