By: Nulacha Sutthinonthagul
A form of clinging ivy, Clitoria, or as it more commonly known in Thailand where it grows in the north as An-chan in Thai, or the Blue Pea or Butterfly Pea, because of its pretty blue flowers.
A member of the soya, winged bean and green bean family, it is actually found in many tropical forests throughout Asia and the Pacific enjoying the shade of host broadleaf trees.
The ivy vine is soft and hairy, which makes it easy for the plant to twist around and hang from branches and other objects. The leaf resembles a feather, 6-12 cm in length, or has an small oval shape, 2-3 cm wide, that comes to a pointed tip.
The flower is deep indigo or purple petals which when dried become even more captivating with its pale green and yellow stem. One flower has five petals, which grow to 2-4 cm when they bloom. At the centre, or ovary, it will have 5-10 kidney-shaped black beans.
In Thai homeopathy, the Butterfly pea offers many health benefits. Its anthocyanin, that is blue and violet flavonoid pigment, is known to help stimulate blood circulation and clean clogged arteries. Better circulation can then help nourish the brain as well protect against cerebral thrombosis.
This also means it can reduce coronary disease and the chance of heart attack. As it can reduce sugar levels in the blood, it is also good for those suffering from diabetes.
Its juice and tea are also considered good antioxidants that can prevent free radical damage associated with cancer, and it has been known as a good treatment for premature hair loss, which is why it is found in a number of haircare and beauty products.
The plant is also used to reduce bruises on the body and treat numbness and has been used to treat eye conditions such as cataracts and straw eye.
Butterfly Pea Lemonade
- Dried butter fly pea flowers 100 gr
- Fresh Water 5 cups
- Honey /syrup/ Sugar (depends) 5 teaspoons
- Lemon juice (8-10 lemons) 1 cup
1) In a saucepan, combine 3 cups of water with sugar. Stir in butterfly pea flowers. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discarding solids. Set aside to cool.
2) In a jar or glass measuring cup, combine lemon juice and the 2 remaining cups of water.
3) To serve, fill a glass with ice. Pour cooled butterfly pea syrup into the glass about halfway.
4) Pour the lemon juice mixture on top and watch the magic happen! Where the lemon meets the syrup, the color will change from blue to pink. Stir to combine the two mixtures until the color is pink throughout and enjoy!
- Drink immediately for maximum nutrition and medical value.
- Do not drink any other kind of herbal drink for a long period of time as it could cause a detrimental reaction.
- Do not drink this herbal beverage in temperatures that exceed 60o C because it may and make it easier for you to absorber carcinogens and other substances.
- Do not drink when taking medicine like Aspirin and warfarin as it cause cause the drug to become toxic and a danger to your health.