The butterfly pea flower has gained popularity for its health benefits. However, you must know butterfly pea flower side effects too before using it!
Butterfly Pea Flower
The butterfly pea plant, also known by its scientific name Clitoria ternatea, is a vine native to equatorial Asia. It produces bright bluish-purple flowers which are edible and are a host of health benefits. It has a natural woody flavor, and it is also used as a natural food coloring agent in cooking, baking, and beverages. If you brew it in water, the Butterfly pea flower gives a bright blue color, which turns purple in an acidic medium.
You can use the flowers to make tea which has been part of countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Traditional Indian and Chinese medicine also use the flower extensively due to its various health benefits. Yet, if you’re new to this ingredient; you must know the side effects as well before including it in your diet.
Health Benefits of Butterfly Pea Flower
1. Good for Skin
It is rich in antioxidants which delay aging and keeps your skin looking young. Moreover, it also promotes the production of collagen, which helps in keeping your skin supple, smooth, and wrinkle-free.
2. Aids Vision
It has proanthocyanidin, an antioxidant that promotes blood flow in your eye capillaries. This in turn helps in enhancing vision and eye health. It helps prevent and treat common eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, blurry vision, retinal damage, eye infections, eye inflammation, and irritation.
3. Hair and Gynaecological Issues
Flavonoids in the pea flower help boost hair growth, hair thickness and prevent hair fall and premature greying. Also, you can use it to treat certain gynecological conditions like white vaginal discharge and menstruation-related problems.
4. Cognition, Memory and Mood
It improves cognitive function, memory, and intelligence in your brain. Besides, it reduces stress, relieves anxiety, and improves blood flow as well. It enhances mood and vitality and helps relax your nerves and promotes sound sleep.
5. Organ Health and Anesthesia
Due to its analgesic properties, you can use the pea flower as a local anesthetic. It promotes cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol levels and helps fight fatty liver disease.
With respect to your kidneys, it functions as a diuretic and helps detoxify your body. It helps remove excess water from the body, thereby aiding weight loss.
6. Blood Sugar Levels
Epigallocatechin gallate present in it boosts metabolism and helps the
body burn calories. Furthermore, it regulates blood sugar levels as well.
7. Substitute for Caffeine
A butterfly pea flower tea is an excellent natural, caffeine-free substitute for regular tea.
8. Others Benefits
Anti-inflammatory properties help prevent the onset of chronic diseases in your body. It also has anti-cancer, anti-tumor, and antipyretic properties. It has both neuro and gastro effects, which aids in keeping the nervous, digestive, and circulatory systems working smoothly.
Butterfly Pea Flower Side Effects
The butterfly pea flower is said to be a very safe edible flower. However, excess consumption of butterfly pea tea can cause nausea and diarrhea. Only 3 to 5 glasses a day is the recommended safe dosage. But it depends on how your body responds to the tea. Therefore, refrain from drinking too much butterfly pea flower tea and regulate the amount to 2 to 3 cups a day.
The tea also contains tannins which could interfere with the absorption of iron in your body. So, it is advisable to have the tea an hour before or after your meals. The tea is best brewed in earthen or glass containers rather than metalware to retain its health benefits. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to consult their doctor before drinking the tea as there is not enough research on its effect in such conditions. Similarly, you should not let your kids have an excess of this ingredient as it can lead to diarrhoea and nausea.
Similarly, if you are on medication, it is better to take your doctor’s advice before you consume this ingredient.
How to Use
- Steep the flowers in water in a glass container and put it in the refrigerator for 6 hours.
- Strain the water, add ice cubes and drink it as iced blue herbal tea.
- Infuse ten fresh or dried flowers in 1 cup of hot water for 15 minutes to make a rich blue, healthy, floral tea. You can add lemongrass, cinnamon, ginger, mint, and honey to the tea to enhance its taste.
- You can add it to water used to cook rice and to desserts to enjoy both its colour and health benefits.
When you add butterfly pea flowers to lemon water, the colour will change to a purple hue. This happens because of the reaction between the acidic content of lemon and butterfly pea flower. You can consume the drink in the morning to boost your metabolism and hydrate your body.
You can brew the flowers in a small quantity of water for 2 minutes, and strain the water. Following this, add it to any drink like lime soda or fruit juice to give it colour and enhance its health benefits.