Monday, May 7, 2018

Beating the Blues with a Blue Beverage

I grew up in Puducherry, in an Ashram. And the Guru, there, used to name flowers. The Butterfly Pea she called 'Radha's consciousness'. I've always loved the flower but, until recently, it did not flower in my garden. And, though it flowered well last year, it has not put forth blossoms as yet this year. When the plant decides to grace me with blossoms I plan to make a blue drink with it.

Clitoria ternatea, Adityamadhav83, Wikimedia Commons

When I was in Malaysia for a while, some years back, I found that some Malaysian sweets had a blue or green colour. The green, I imagine, comes from the pandan leaf. And I recently learned that the blue might be from the Butterfly Pea flower. I grew some in my garden using seeds I collected on walks. 

...Known as bunga telang, in Malay cook­ing, an aque­ous ex­tract is used to colour gluti­nous rice ... by adding a few buds of this flower in a pot while cook­ing white rice will add bluish tint on the rice which is served with other side dishes and such meal is called nasi ker­abu. In Thai­land, a syrupy blue drink is made called nam dok anchan ..., it is some­times con­sumed with a drop of sweet lime juice to in­crease acid­ity and turn the juice into pink-pur­ple.

Blue butterfly pea tea turns purple when acid is added. Libera_knabino, Wikimedia Commons

In Burmese and Thai cuisines, the flow­ers are also dipped in bat­ter and fried. But­ter­fly pea flower tea is made from the ter­natea flow­ers and dried lemon­grass and changes color de­pend­ing on what is added to the liq­uid, with lemon juice turn­ing it purple.
The flow­ers have more re­cently been used as a botan­i­cal in a colour-chang­ing gin. Blue in the bot­tle, this turns pink when mixed with a car­bon­ated mixer such as tonic water.Traditional medicine

Not only is this flower used in many foods but it appears to have many benefits as well.
... it is very good for children suffering from developmental problems of the brain and problems with impaired cognitive function.
... it helps in the detoxi√£cation and all round cleansing of the brain and its associated structures. It is also good for improving voice quality and problems of throat

Now, I have a hoarse voice over the past so many years and I will see if this flower has the power to help my throat. 

Herbal tea served in Southeast Asia, Libera_knabino, Wikimedia Commons

Though Butterfly Pea teas are now available, they look dreadfully expensive. The flower is fairly easy to grow and very pretty too. With all its benefits, it would be wonderful to have it handy for use. And blue tea, whether or not the claims are right, will surely cheer up most cases of the blues!

Blue Butterfly Pea Flower and Basil Seeds Drink


Encyclopedia of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants offers very detailed information, not only about the plant, but also about its various therapeutic uses. I shall certainly refer to it time and again as this is a plant that grows easily almost everywhere in India.

Clitoria ternatea - white, uploaded by Elitre, author - Ton Rulkens from Mozambique 

The white reminds me of rice and it's time to tell you about blue rice!

Nasi Kerabu

While the flower does not impart much taste, the colour is delightful and, of course, it lends itself to sweets better for some reason. Related to colour?

Blue Pea Mini Sago Gula Melaka Dessert

And this one takes the cake: 


I'm also tempted by the concept of flower popsicles, since summer is now at its hottest: 

Blue Ombre Edible Flower Popsicles

As for the beauty enhancing prospects of the plant, I could not find any good DIY articles but I suppose one can use the flowers as paste or, dried, as powder. I do have a video for a face mask and one for hair care:

How to Thicken Your Hair with Organic Butterfly Pea Flower

Flowers are a frequent theme for paintings and drawings. And quite a few blossoms provide dyes. Apparently, you can paint with butterfly pea teas! 

Painting with Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

As I mentioned in the beginning, the flower was called Radha's Consciousness. So I leave you with this:

litoria tea in a potClitoria tea in a pot


Dr. Anita Sabat said...

The food looks yummy.
Natural extracts are good for the health.
But, such blue drinks like the 'Blue Lagoon' etc are priced higher.
Thanks for sharing :)

Gita Madhu said...

Thanks for visiting and reading Dr. Anita Sabat. Yes, the drinks are costly. That's why my post encourages the use of the flowers grown in your garden or picked on a walk...

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