Butterfly Pea Flower Benefits

The butterfly pea flower, known scientifically as Clitoria ternatea, is a remarkable plant. It is not just a feast for the eyes with its vibrant blue petals.

It is a treasure trove of tradition and modern appeal. For centuries, various cultures have cherished the butterfly pea flower. They've used it for its medicinal properties and as a natural dye.

Today, this stunning bloom has caught the attention of culinary artists and wellness enthusiasts worldwide. Its unique ability to change color has made it a favorite. It bridges the gap between tradition and contemporary innovation.

There are many facets of the butterfly pea flower. From its health benefits to its color-changing magic, this guide will uncover its many benefits. Discover why it's quickly becoming a staple in the realms of cuisine and wellness.

The Butterfly Pea Flower: An Overview

The butterfly pea flower, native to Asia, grows in Thailand, Malaysia, and India. It flourishes in warm, humid conditions. It prefers a spot in full sunlight to partial shade.

They usually grow to be about four centimeters in size. This adds to their delicate allure. 

The butterfly pea flower boasts a unique charm. It showcases vivid blue petals that can mesmerize anyone. The flowers have a distinct shape, resembling that of a butterfly.

For generations, people have used the butterfly pea flower in their kitchens and gardens. It's a popular ingredient in teas and rice dishes for its hue and its nutritious components. 

Because its petals impart a rich blue color, people also use the flower as a natural dye. This traditional application colors fabrics and foods. It showcases the flower’s versatility beyond its beauty.

Health Benefits of the Butterfly Pea Flower

The butterfly pea flower is not only beautiful but also nutritious. It is packed with a variety of antioxidants such as anthocyanins, polyphenols, and flavonoids and offers a broad spectrum of health benefits, from mitigating oxidative stress to enhancing cognitive function and beyond(1).

Antioxidant Power:

The brilliant blue hue of the butterfly pea flower is due to its anthocyanins. These are powerful antioxidants that help shield the body from cellular damage. They also reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. These bioactive compounds are key to the flower’s ability to promote longevity and overall well-being(2).

Mental Health and Stress Relief:

The adaptogenic qualities of the butterfly pea flower empower the body to better manage stress. Drinking butterfly pea flower tea can have a soothing effect, easing anxiety and fostering relaxation. Such benefits contribute to improved sleep quality and mood, which can become evident within weeks of regular consumption(3).

Weight Management and Metabolic Health:

This versatile flower supports weight loss efforts. It inhibits the formation of fat cells and combats fatty liver disease. 

Butterfly pea flower aids in glucose absorption and insulin sensitivity(4). Additionally, it plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar. This makes it a valuable ally for individuals with diabetes or those at risk for the disease.

Skin and Hair Vitality:

Rich in antioxidants, the butterfly pea flower also finds its place in cosmetic products. It helps protect the skin and eyes from oxidative damage. It aids in preserving collagen, essential for skin elasticity and youthfulness, thereby promoting radiant skin and healthier hair(5).

Cognitive and Neurological Benefits:

Emerging research points to the neuroprotective effects of the butterfly pea flower. This research suggests it can enhance memory, brain function, and cognitive health. Its antioxidant properties and potential to improve blood flow to the brain help protect against cognitive decline(3).

Cardiovascular and Overall Brain Health:

The flower helps your heart and brain by improving circulation and reducing the risk of heart disease. Its nutrient-rich profile supports heart and brain health, shielding against various degenerative conditions(1).

  • Heart Disease: By improving circulation and potentially lowering heart disease risks, the flower helps maintain cardiovascular health, preventing the degeneration of heart function over time.
  • Cognitive Decline: Its benefits for brain health could slow down or prevent the progression of conditions like Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, which are characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving abilities, and other cognitive functions.
  • Stroke: By supporting cardiovascular health, the flower also indirectly reduces the risk of strokes, which occur when poor blood flow results in cell death in the brain, leading to permanent damage.
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases: Beyond cognitive decline, the flower's antioxidant properties may offer protective effects against other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, by combating oxidative stress in the brain.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Improved circulation benefits not just the heart and brain but also the peripheral arteries, helping prevent or manage PAD, a condition where narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs.


Anti-diabetic and Anti-cancer Properties:

The butterfly pea flower's ability to regulate blood sugar levels underscores its anti-diabetic benefits. Also, the presence of antioxidants and bioactive compounds might play a role in cancer prevention. This offers a natural complement to traditional treatments(2).

Incorporation into Daily Diet:

Incorporating butterfly pea flowers into one's diet through teas, drinks, or recipes is an enjoyable way to harness its health benefits. Its versatility and wide range of potential health effects make it a valuable addition to a healthy lifestyle.

The butterfly pea flower is a testament to the power of natural substances in promoting health and wellness. The flower offers benefits from mental health support to chronic disease prevention. It becomes a compelling choice for anyone looking to naturally enhance their health.

Moderation remains key. Anyone with specific health conditions should consult a healthcare professional before regularly including it in their diet(5).

The Color-Changing Magic

The butterfly pea flower boasts color-changing properties. This phenomenon occurs when it's mixed with acidic substances. The science behind this involves pH levels that affect the flower's pigments.

Anthocyanins are the pigments that give the flower its blue color. When something acidic is added to the mix, like lemon juice, the pH level changes.

This causes the anthocyanins to change color too. The result? The blue color turns to purple. Below is an example.

Imagine adding a few drops of lemon juice to a tea made from the butterfly pea flower. Initially, the tea is a deep blue. After lemon juice is added, it transforms into a vibrant purple.

This isn't just fun to watch. It's a natural pH indicator in action. Chefs and mixologists love this feature. They use the butterfly pea flower to create visually stunning dishes and drinks.

A cocktail might start blue. Then, with a squeeze of lime, it shifts to purple before the eyes. A main dish or dessert containing it can also change color, adding a wow factor to the dining experience.

This magic adds an extra layer of excitement to food and beverages. It adds both taste and visual experience. The butterfly pea flower makes dining and drinking a more dynamic and interactive event.

Culinary Uses and Recipes

The butterfly pea flower is a versatile ingredient in the culinary world. People use it in teas, cocktails, and desserts. This section highlights its applications and offers simple recipes.

Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Concentrate:

  • 1/4 cup dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1 cup of water
  • Bring the water to a near boil in a saucepan.
  • Add the dried butterfly pea flowers to the hot water.
  • Let the mixture simmer for 5-8 minutes. The goal is to extract as much color and flavor as possible, resulting in a deep, vibrant blue.
  • Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
  • Strain the tea through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the flowers. The result is a concentrated, richly colored liquid.
  • Let the concentrate cool completely before using it in cocktails.


  • You can increase the amount of dried flowers or decrease the water for a stronger concentrate. Adjust according to preference for color intensity and flavor.
  • The concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use it to add a natural blue hue and a unique twist to cocktails.


Butterfly pea flower tea is visually stunning and easy to make. Steep the dried flowers in hot water. Watch as the water turns a beautiful blue.

For a magical twist, add a squeeze of lemon. The tea will change from blue to purple.

Brewing Butterfly Pea Flower Tea:

  • Place a teaspoon of dried butterfly pea flowers in a cup and pour hot (not boiling) water over top.
  • Steep for 5-8 minutes, then remove the flowers.
  • Enjoy the vibrant blue tea as is, or add honey for sweetness.
  • For a color-changing spectacle, squeeze in some lemon juice and watch the tea turn purple.


This flower shines in cocktails. Mix butterfly pea flower tea with a spirit of choice. Add citrus to change the color and impress guests.

Butterfly Pea Flower Cocktail:

  • Brew a concentrated butterfly pea flower tea and let it cool.
  • In a shaker, combine tea with the desired spirit (vodka or gin works well).
  • Add ice, and a splash of simple syrup, and shake well.
  • Strain into a glass and finish with a squeeze of lime for a dramatic color change.


Incorporate the flower into desserts for a pop of color. Use the tea to make a blue jelly or mix it into cake batters for a natural blue hue. The flower's subtle flavor won't overpower the dessert.

Butterfly Pea Flower Dessert (Jelly):

  • Brew a strong batch of butterfly pea flower tea.
  • Mix the tea with gelatin (follow the package instructions for proportions) and sugar to taste.
  • Pour the mixture into molds and let it set in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Serve the blue jelly with a dollop of cream or fruit for a visually appealing treat.

Flavor Profile:

The butterfly pea flower has a mild, earthy taste. It's similar to green tea but without the bitterness. This makes it an excellent base for other flavors.

It complements citrus and sweeteners well and blends seamlessly into various dishes and drinks.

Complementing Ingredients:

Lemon and lime bring out its vibrant colors, while honey and sugar enhance its subtle flavor. Mix it with ginger or mint for a refreshing twist. The possibilities are endless.

Sustainability and Cultivation of Butterfly Pea Flower

The butterfly pea flower (Clitoria ternatea) adds beauty and color to countless plates and cups. It also embodies sustainability principles in agriculture. This remarkable plant plays a significant role in eco-friendly gardening and farming practices.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Agriculture:

Butterfly pea flowers are more than just an aesthetic delight. They contribute positively to the environment. This plant is a nitrogen fixer, meaning it can convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form usable by plants.

This natural process enriches the soil, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers that are harmful to the environment.

Growing butterfly pea flowers supports biodiversity. They attract beneficial insects, including bees and butterflies, which are crucial for pollination. This makes the butterfly pea flower an excellent companion plant in gardens, promoting a healthier and more balanced ecosystem.

Growing Butterfly Pea Flowers:

Interested in adding butterfly pea flowers to your garden? Here’s how you can grow them:

  • Choosing a Location: Butterfly pea flowers thrive in warm, sunny spots. They prefer well-drained soil but are quite adaptable to different soil types as well.
  • Planting Seeds: Sow seeds directly in the ground or start them indoors if you live in a cooler climate. Soaking the seeds overnight can improve germination rates. Plant them about 1/2 inch deep in the soil.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged during the germination period. Once established, butterfly pea plants are drought-tolerant but will benefit from regular watering during dry spells.
  • Supporting Growth: Being a vine, butterfly pea plants will need support to climb. Provide trellises or stakes early on to help guide their growth.
  • Maintenance: These plants are relatively low-maintenance. They don’t typically require fertilization, thanks to their nitrogen-fixing ability. Ensure they have enough space to grow and receive adequate sunlight.
  • Harvesting: Their flowers can be harvested throughout the blooming season. Pick them in the morning when their antioxidant levels are highest.

Benefits of Home Cultivation:

Growing butterfly pea flowers at home marks a step towards sustainability. It also secures a personal supply of this versatile plant. Cultivating butterfly pea flowers proves rewarding for culinary uses, health benefits, or beauty. This endeavor benefits both personal and environmental health.

Planting butterfly pea flowers helps create a more sustainable and eco-friendly world. Plus, there are so many benefits of this unique plant to enjoy.


The butterfly pea flower (Clitoria ternatea) bridges the gap between beauty and wellness. It's not just a visual treat; it's a powerhouse of health benefits and culinary versatility. This flower supports mental and physical health while adding a splash of color to food and drinks.

It also underscores sustainability in gardening. Embracing the butterfly pea flower taps into nature's potential for healthier living and environmental care. It's a testament to how traditional knowledge and modern practices can merge, enhancing life and the world around us.


Read more on plants with medicinal properties:

Goldenseal Root Powder: Beginners Guide

Echinacea Benefits

Turkey Tail Mushroom Benefits

What is Elderberry Good For?



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2. Vidana Gamage GC, Lim YY, Choo WS. Anthocyanins From Clitoria ternatea Flower: Biosynthesis, Extraction, Stability, Antioxidant Activity, and Applications. Front Plant Sci. 2021 Dec 17;12:792303. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.792303. PMID: 34975979; PMCID: PMC8718764. 

3. Hasanah NN, Mohamad Azman E, Rozzamri A, Zainal Abedin NH, Ismail-Fitry MR. A Systematic Review of Butterfly Pea Flower (Clitoria ternatea L.): Extraction and Application as a Food Freshness pH-Indicator for Polymer-Based Intelligent Packaging. Polymers (Basel). 2023 May 31;15(11):2541. doi: 10.3390/polym15112541. PMID: 37299340; PMCID: PMC10255602.

4. Yu Q, Yu F, Li Q, Zhang J, Peng Y, Wang X, Li T, Yin N, Sun G, Ouyang H, Chen Y, Mine Y, Tsao R, Zhang H. Anthocyanin-Rich Butterfly Pea Flower Extract Ameliorating Low-Grade Inflammation in a High-Fat-Diet and Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Mouse Model. J Agric Food Chem. 2023 Aug 9;71(31):11941-11956. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.3c02696. Epub 2023 Aug 1. PMID: 37526116.

5. Kovitvadhi A, Gasco L, Zoccarato I, Rukkwamsuk T. Effects of Butterfly Pea Extracts on Phagocytic Activity of Blood Polymorphonuclear Leukocytes and Muscular Lipid Peroxidation in Rabbits. Animals (Basel). 2024 Mar 20;14(6):958. doi: 10.3390/ani14060958. PMID: 38540056; PMCID: PMC10967615.


Kalah Garcia Bio Picture Kalah Garcia is dedicated to fostering whole-body wellness, actively working to enrich the lives of those she encounters. Her approach involves passionately writing articles on health and wellness, aiming to equip others with the knowledge and tools for improved well-being. Kalah's commitment is reflected in her eagerness to share insights and that make a meaningful difference in people's lives.

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