The bright blue butterfly pea flower may help boost skin and hair health, support weight management, and balance blood sugar. And you can make it into a yummy tea to enjoy at home!
Thanks to its brilliant bright blue color, butterfly pea flower is a popular ingredient in boutique cocktails, herbal teas, and cosmetics. Beyond its visual appeal, the flower’s robust antioxidant content offers plenty of potential health perks.
Continue reading as we explore some of the primary benefits, side effects, and how to use this pretty pea flower in your daily routine.
Butterfly pea flower – aka Clitoria ternatea, Asian pigeonwing, and Darwin pea – is a vibrant blue flower native to tropical regions, notably Southeast Asia. Many cultures have used it for its aesthetics and therapeutic properties in traditional medicine.
Manufacturers love to use butterfly pea flower extract in products from cosmetics and textiles to food and drink because of its unique color. You can also brew the dried flowers into an herbal tea by steeping them in hot water. However, you’ll need to add other ingredients if you want a tasty drink, as the flowers have only a light, earthy flavor like green tea.
Your fave bartender may also use these little flowers in fancy cocktails, as when the acidity of pea flower tea changes, so does its color. Flashy, right?
The color is due to antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, and these bad boys also give butterfly pea flowers their healthy properties.
Want to learn more about the benefits of butterfly pea flower? Here’s the tea. ☕
Promotes skin and hair health
A recent 2021 study found that butterfly pea extract could increase skin hydration by a whopping 70% one hour after slathering it onto the skin. And you know that hydration is critical for skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It also helps protect the skin from environmental stressors and balances oil production.
May slow fat cell formation
While it’s not a magic slimming potion (and you shouldn’t use anything that claims to be!), butterfly pea flower may support weight management. That said, there isn’t much research, but here’s what we know.
A test-tube study found that extracts of the butterfly pea flower might play a role in slowing down fat cell formation. The mechanism? It seems to regulate some specific pathways involved in cell progression.
But the rabbit hole goes deeper. Ternatins — a component found within the blue wonder flower, may also contribute. An older test-tube study from 2009 suggested that these substances may slow new fat cell synthesis.
Although this is exciting, research on human subjects is lacking. In fact, no human studies have shown butterfly tea is a successful weight loss aid.
Balances blood sugar levels
In one study involving rats with diabetes, the rats who received butterfly pea flower extract had better blood sugar levels than those who didn’t. But, obvi, rats and humans are pretty darn different. So, we can’t 10/10 rely on this study as proof of butterfly pea flower’s success in humans.
P.S. Thanks to its dope antioxidant properties, butterfly pea flower extract might provide a protective shield against cell damage that can arise from diabetes. But again, we need more human studies to see if this is legit.
For most folks, consuming butterfly pea flower in moderate amounts — like sipping a cup or two of pea tea — typically doesn’t lead to any adverse reactions. The flower has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and culinary practices, with no significant issues reported.
However, as with many plants and herbs, there’s always a possibility of an allergic reaction. If you have a history of plant-based allergies, it’s wise to approach the butterfly pea flower with caution. Symptoms to watch out for include itching, hives, or any other reaction signs.
Trust your body if you’re in doubt or something feels off! Stop using butterfly pea flowers and check with a health professional.
Here’s how to make the perfect cup of butterfly pea flower tea:
- Boil. Start by boiling your water. While waiting for it to heat up, place 10 or so dried butterfly pea flowers in a teapot or a cup.
- Steep. Pour the hot water over the flowers. Let it steep for about 4–5 minutes. You’ll see the magical transformation as the water starts turning blue.
- Twist time. For a fun twist, add a squeeze of lemon juice. Watch as your blue tea magically turns purple thanks to the pH change. Science and fun, all in one cup!
- Sweeten. If you like your tea sweetened, add honey or sweetener of choice.
- Enjoy. Sip and savor the mild, earthy flavors of this unique brew.
The versatility of this flower doesn’t stop at beverages. You can use butterfly pea flower as a natural food dye. Perfect for coloring rice, pasta, and baked goods. Blue pancakes, anyone? And, of course, you can add it to homemade skincare products, like face masks or scrubs.
The butterfly pea flower isn’t just a pretty face — it also offers some pretty impressive health perks. From being an herbal hero in teas and making waves in mixed drinks to gracing cosmetic shelves, it’s clear this flower is more than just about the blues.
Packed with antioxidants, this little blue wonder offers many potential benefits for your hair and skin health. There’s also a chance it can help with weight management and blood sugar, but we need more science to know for sure.