A Guide to Butterfly Pea Tea: History, Uses, and More

A Guide to Butterfly Pea Tea: History, Uses, and More

While it can be difficult to envision a world where we did not have access to modern medicine, that does not mean the era did not exist. Thankfully, most of the ailments that were life-threatening hundreds of years ago are minor inconveniences now. The same applies to cosmetics; where we once lacked effective tools for altering our complexion or hair luster, multiple options exist today. 

Despite the rise of modern tools, which have doubtless made life a little easier, sometimes old school is the way to go. Before we had these modern tools, we had access to natural elements that affected our health and appearance before we realized their function. Modern science has shed new light on the tools we used in our early history, restoring them to the forefront of alternative medicine and cosmetics.

One of the lesser-known tools available is butterfly pea tea, which might sound like something from a Dr. Suess book but has significant benefits. Butterfly pea tea is an herbal tea that takes advantage of the natural characteristics of an old flower. Despite the benefits butterfly pea tea can offer, not many people know about it or what it does. 

As a result, you might have gone your entire life unaware of the good butterfly pea tea can do for you. However, we do not expect you to suddenly trust butterfly pea tea without more insight into its history and benefits. Fortunately, we are here to discuss that so you can make an informed decision.

What is Butterfly Pea Tea?

Your first question likely concerns what butterfly pea tea is and why you should consider drinking it. First, you should know that "butterfly pea tea" is shorthand for butterfly pea flower tea, though it is still fairly cumbersome. Butterfly pea tea is an herbal tea brewed using a very special and unique flower. 

The flower in question is Clitoria ternatea, commonly called Asian pigeonwings or butterfly pea. Some of you might be chuckling at the genus name for this flower, but you are not exactly wrong to think that way. The name of this flower comes from the native language of the Indonesian island Ternate, which identifies the flower as "telang." In the Ternate language, "telang" literally translates to "clitoris," which was likely bestowed on the flower due to its distinct shape.

A Cup of Butterfly Pea Tea

Despite its resemblance to female genitalia, the natives of Ternate began using C. ternatea in Ayurvedic medicine. The flower's use in their medicinal practice was due to the variety of health benefits the plant allegedly possesses, though we will talk about that later. The main medium used to introduce C. ternatea to the body was to distill it into a tea that allowed users to ingest it easily. The tea provides the benefits of C. ternatea and adopts its coloration, giving butterfly pea tea an interesting blue or purple color. The coloration alone has brought butterfly pea tea to the attention of modern society, though the cosmetic and health benefits have cemented the tea's place.

Aside from its origins on Ternate, there is surprisingly little information regarding when it was brought west or when it first came to the attention of modern society. The current hypothesis is that it was first introduced to India and Europe in the 17th century, but specifics are lacking. Despite the lack of information, butterfly pea tea has gained a significant following among modern consumers. Though, by now, you are probably more interested in finding out why butterfly pea tea consumption is worth the effort.

Butterfly Pea Tea Has Several Nutrients

The first reason butterfly pea tea has gained notoriety is the abundance of nutrients it absorbs from the C. ternatea. The flower's color is not coincidental but results from the Ternatins within the flower's composition. Ternatins have recently been identified as an anti-inflammatory substance, making them valuable to people with chronic inflammation. 

These studies are still relatively new and require further research to confirm, but the prevailing theory is that Ternatins can offer mild protection against cancer cell growth. The studies were all test-tube studies, and no human studies have been conducted, but the initial results are extremely promising. That said, Ternatins are not the only nutrient C. ternatea offers, and there are several antioxidant compounds that butterfly pea tea provides.

Nutrient-Rich Butterfly Pea Tea

These antioxidants include:

  • Kaempferol: This antioxidant has been studied more extensively than others and demonstrates several benefits. Test-tube studies indicate that kaempferol can kill cancer cells in limited numbers.
  • p-Coumaric Acid: This antioxidant is a little less understood, but initial studies suggest it is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral rolled into a single compound. These effects suggest it can help us resist diseases and preserve our overall health.
  • Delphinidin 3,5-diglucoside: This antioxidant is the least understood of the 3 found in C. ternatea, but it has been linked to improved immune function and the destruction of colorectal cancer cells.

These nutrients provide the initial layer of potential health benefits that C. ternatea can provide, though further research is needed. Fortunately, other potential benefits are associated with the flower and the tea made from it.

Butterfly Pea Tea Promotes Skin and Hair Health

While not necessarily the most important issue facing modern Americans, preserving the health of our skin and hair is still worthwhile. The preservation of our hair and, to an extent, our skin is primarily cosmetic, which carries more value than it should in today's appearance-based society. 

Unfortunately, as we age, our control over our appearance begins to deteriorate due to genetic factors and the loss of proteins. However, there appears to be a solution in butterfly pea tea that will allow us to hold onto our youthful appearance a little longer. Many cosmetic manufacturers cite C. ternatea's powers when marketing shampoo and skin care serums. The fact is, they might be onto something with their claims. Recent research has uncovered a connection between C. ternatea and restorative effects for our skin and hair.

Healthy Skin and Hair

One study from 2021 focused on using C. ternatea extract to try and revitalize the skin of their subjects. As per the standard scientific process, the subjects were divided into test and control groups, with the latter receiving a placebo instead of the extract. The results showed that topical application of C. ternatea extract increased the skin's hydration by 70% compared to the placebo group. This rehydration restores the elasticity and appearance of the skin, staving off signs of aging like wrinkles. 

Insofar as hair health is concerned, another study was conducted 9 years earlier, in 2012, to determine whether C. ternatea was an effective hair growth stimulant. The study compared C. ternatea to minoxidil, a common and moderately successful hair loss treatment available in most pharmacies. The results suggest that C. ternatea is moderately more effective than minoxidil. 

These studies confirm C. ternatea has potential as a hair and skin health supplement, but more research is needed before that theory can reach the same levels as other products. Nevertheless, the antioxidants in the butterfly pea flower reinforce these abilities since antioxidants can prevent damage that leads to premature hair loss and wrinkling. This means there is some merit to these early studies. 

Butterfly Pea Tea Promotes Weight Loss

One of modern society's most difficult challenges is keeping those excess pounds from becoming overwhelming. There is an obesity epidemic fueled by the prevalence of processed and fried foods commonly available at convenience stores and drive-thrus. Conversely, access to nutritional, healthy ingredients is at an all-time low due to economic gatekeeping preventing the average citizen from being able to afford them. 

As a result, weight loss routines are extremely challenging to adhere to, let alone successfully execute. While weight loss requires a balanced diet and exercise regimen, getting help from certain supplements that promote our body's natural weight loss response is possible. The trick is figuring out which supplements are effective and which are hoaxes.

Promoted Weight Loss

Butterfly pea tea has earned a tentative place in weight loss supplements due to some early studies on C. ternatea. Specifically, a test-tube study was conducted that measured the effect of C. ternatea extract on our cells. The results showed that the extract slowed the formation of fat cells by regulating specific pathways in our bodies. 

These pathways are responsible for cell progression, and the extract was able to redirect the progression of the fat cells and slow weight gain. A similar test-tube study also determined that the Ternatins mentioned earlier also provided a benefit for weight loss. Namely, Ternatins inhibit the synthesis of fat cells in the body, making it harder for us to develop extra weight from newly formed cells.

As with most of the benefits associated with C. ternatea, more research is needed to confirm these effects. Unlike the others, these studies are less encouraging since only test-tube studies have been performed. Until animal testing is complete and a proper test is conducted on human biology, it is impossible to say whether butterfly pea tea can help us lose weight. Nevertheless, there might be potential for those seeking an extra tool in their weight loss journey.

Butterfly Pea Tea Stabilizes Glucose Levels

Keeping with the theme of major issues facing modern society, many people struggle with excess glucose in their systems. Glucose, better known as "blood sugar," is important in how we derive energy from food. Unfortunately, poor diet and excess sugar consumption can overwhelm our bodies with glucose and cause serious health problems, namely diabetes. 

Diabetes has become as much of an epidemic as obesity, and the 2 generally go hand-in-hand. Despite being extremely common, there is no cure, and those with the condition must carefully monitor their glucose levels. Oddly enough, it seems that butterfly pea tea might help us regulate our glucose more effectively.

Testing Glucose Levels

An animal study was conducted on rats, with the animals in the test group being given C. ternatea extract. The catch is that the rats had diabetes and bore the associated glucose saturation in their bloodstream. The rats in the test group experienced reduced glucose levels after being given the extract, demonstrating promising results. Fortunately, animal studies are not the only thing we need to rely on insofar as diabetes treatment is concerned.

A study was conducted on 15 men who were divided into test and control groups as the scientific process demanded. The subjects in the test group were given beverages with C. ternatea extract, while the control group received a placebo. The test group showed increased antioxidant levels (as expected, given the antioxidant concentration in C. ternatea) and insulin levels. The latter effect is particularly important since insulin issues are a primary consequence of diabetes. Additionally, the test group had reduced glucose levels despite the beverages having a significant sugar concentration.

The number of benefits associated with butterfly pea tea has made it extremely valuable to alternative medicine enthusiasts. Even those who favor modern medicine can rest assured since science seems to corroborate some of the effects. Unfortunately, the biggest challenge remains finding a reliable source of butterfly pea tea.

Finding the Right Blend

Butterfly pea tea is more than just a drink with an amusing name but appears to bear several health benefits. While some of the effects associated with C. ternatea require further study, the preliminary effects are extremely promising. 

Since its discovery in Indonesia, butterfly pea tea has received a newfound following thanks to alternative medicine enthusiasts worldwide. The issue is that finding a reliable source of butterfly pea tea is challenging since products like this can often be adulterated with harmful substances. Fortunately, there might be a solution to that particular predicament.

Teami Butterfly Tea Blend

We at Teami have made providing health and beauty supplements our mission, employing natural ingredients to accomplish it. Among our catalog is our Butterfly Tea Blend, which takes advantage of C. ternatea by combining it with traditional jasmine tea leaves. Our products can provide the benefits of C. ternatea without concern that any unnatural adulterants were included in its production. 

There are no shortcuts to improving our health and appearance, but certain tools can make the journey less difficult, and we encourage you to visit our website as the first step. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.

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