The way people interact and consume tea, and the aesthetics surrounding tea drinking is considered ‘tea culture'. It plays an important role in many countries. Included are tea brewing, tea production, history, health, ethics, education and more. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, reflects on butterfly tea and the potential health benefits:
“Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman gourmand who lived during the 1st century A.D. and enjoyed all things luxurious, coined the phrase “We eat first with our eyes.”1 Indeed, many people are drawn to food and beverages that look delicious, interesting and unique, making it much more likely that you’ll savor them.
The same can be said for beverages, and one distinctive drink is making waves today because of its ability to change color, going from blue to pink to purple. It’s none other than butterfly pea tea. Discover more about this “magic” concoction and why, aside from its out-of-this-world appearance, it may have potential health benefits as well.
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What Is Butterfly Pea Tea?
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Known by many different names like blue-pea, bluebellvine, cordofan pea, Darwin pea2 and Asian pigeonwings,3 butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea L.) is a plant from the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) or pea family.4,5 Its origins can be traced to tropical Asia, and through the centuries it was widely distributed in the West and East Indies, and then on to Central and South America, India and China.6
Butterfly pea is a climbing legume, with pinnate, alternately-arranged leaves composed of five to six oval leaflets, which are thin, papery and membranous. The slender stems of the plant are covered with short, soft hairs. The small flowers, which are beautiful and funnel-shaped, come in different colors including pink, white and dark blue.7,8 They resemble a woman’s genitals; hence, the botanical name.9
Different parts of the butterfly pea plant are known for being utilized in medicinal and culinary capacities. The fresh root is used in Ayurveda to help ease conditions like tuberculosis, ulcers and asthma. Root juice can also be ingested to help eliminate phlegm.
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The leaves, on the other hand, are made into poultices to alleviate swollen joints. The flower is also popular in Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines as an edible food dye. The petals are used to garnish salads, ice cream and soups. The flowers are also brewed into tea.10
According to Bon Appetit, butterfly pea tea has a woody and earthy flavor that’s reminiscent of green tea. However, what’s most interesting about this exotic tea is its ability to change colors. The secret lies in its pH level — the drink changes color depending on the pH of any ingredient that’s added to it.
At its first brew, the beverage has a deep, midnight blue color. If you add a squeeze of lemon or any acidic liquid, it changes to a beautiful, rich violet. Add hibiscus flowers and the drink will turn bright red.11
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In Asia, particularly in Thailand and Vietnam, butterfly pea tea is consumed regularly. It’s called “nam dok anchan”12 and is enjoyed as an after-dinner nightcap, or served as a welcome drink in spas and hotels. Thai restaurants also add it to puddings and “pulut inti,” a dessert made from glutinous rice and coconut.13
In the U.S., butterfly pea tea is gaining popularity in bars and restaurants, as it is often added to cocktails and other alcoholic drinks.14
Butterfly Pea Tea Benefits
While many enjoy it mainly for its lovely appearance, drinking butterfly pea tea may allow you to reap certain health benefits as well, because of the plant’s impressive properties. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, butterfly pea is highly valued in Ayurvedic medicine and “has been used for centuries as a memory enhancer, nootropic, antistress, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, tranquilizing and sedative agent.”15
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Read More … Article Source: https://articles.mercola.com/teas/butterfly-pea-tea.aspx
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