Meet the Beyonce of our blue brews - butterfly pea flowers!
This special flower goes by many names but its scientific name, clitoria terantea is the most interesting, yep, you heard right. The story is that the person who had the honour of naming the flower saw a resemblance to the female genitalia and so decided clitoria ternatea was the way to go. Other names include asian pigeonwings, bluebell vine, aprajita in Hindi, อัญชัน (An Chan) in Thai and Bunga Telang in Malay.
The butterfly pea flower loooooves tropical climates. You can find it growing, thriving and sunbaking in much loved tropical holiday destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam, India and northern parts of Australia.
More Than Just Looks
Over the years, different cultures have found varying uses for the ever so versatile butterfly pea flower. Many of which are being researched today as a natural & sustainable alternative.
Before coloured smoothie bowls, the butterfly pea flowers was used by locals in parts of South East Asia to give traditional rice dishes a fetching blue hue. Nasi Lemak and Nasi Kerabu are popular traditional dishes to make with the butterfly pea flower, and recently, desserts like the sticky rice and mango are also sporting a new blue hue.
Given its origins in South Asia, it’s not surprise that the butterfly fly pea flower has a rich history within Ayurvedic medicine The extracts of the butterfly pea flower was often used as an ingredient in ‘Medhya Rasayana’, a rejuvenating nootropic herbal formulation to improve cognitive function, boost memory and to treat anxiety and depression.
In the same way the butterfly pea flowers are used to make tea, locals often used the ‘tea’ to naturally dye fabrics. Scientists are now finding ways to extract the blue pigments at a commercial level to use as a natural & sustainable alternative to chemical dyes.