If you are so into Asian herbal plant, surely you know that butterfly pea plant is one of the flowering plants commonly used as traditional medicines even since ancient time. There are a lot of health benefits of Clitoria ternatea, the scientific name of butterfly pea plant. Not only that the beautiful indigo colour of the flowers are used as natural food colouring in some Asian cuisines and beverages but also the leaves. However, while the flowers are well known to be beneficial, fewer people know about the health benefits of butterfly pea leaves.
What Is Butterfly Pea Leaves?
Butterfly pea leaves are leaves of the flowering plant well known as butterfly pea which has scientific name as Clitoria ternatea. Some recent studies have found out that not only the flowers that has medicinal properties but also the leaves, though the facts and claims about the health benefits of butterfly pea leaves are not well known. However, the list below may help you understanding more about the medicinal properties of this flowering plant.
- Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The main benefit you could get from the leaves of butterfly pea is the anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have found out that the anti-inflammatory properties are quite potent even to treat the swollen joints.
- Home Remedy to Swollen Joints
Traditionally people are using the leaves of butterfly pea plant as poultices as home remedy to swollen joints. However, this type of poultices is only used externally and as first aid to reduce the symptoms or the swelling but not cure the problems that cause the swollen joints. It is due to the anti-inflammatory properties found on the extract of the leaves.
- Natural Solution to Otalgia (Ear Pain)
Otalgia is not only suffering by adults but also by children especially the local children who love to take a bath in the river where water is not really clean. Traditionally, the leaves of butterfly pea flowering plant are used to treat ear pain though further studies about the effectiveness of this herb are strongly required. However, so far there are a lot of claims that this traditionally this herb is super effective in treating or at least reducing the symptoms of ear pain.
- Promotes Healthy Liver
Some studies have found out the possibility of butterfly pea leaves in treating a specific liver condition well known as hepatopathy or nutmeg liver.
- Natural Source of Fiber
There are a lot of health benefits of fiber and there are also some types of fiber. The extract of butterfly pea leaves also contain some fiber which is good for human health such as mucilage which is excellent to lower the cholesterol level.
- Contains Healthy Carbohydrate
There are a lot of types of carbohydrate and the health benefits of carbohydrate are also essential for human health. The leaves of butterfly pea flowering plant are consisting of simple or healthy carbohydrate safe enough to be used as traditional treatment for diabetic patients. The similar carbohydrate is also contained in the seeds of the plant.
- May Lower the Cholesterol Level
One of the reasons why butterfly pea leaves may be able to lower the cholesterol level is the mucilage content found in the extract. It is one of the types of fiber which is good for digestive system. This type of soluble fiber will absorb or bind the cholesterol inside the intestine and then later will be washed off the system to help lowering the cholesterol level.
- Could Act as Prebiotic to Promote Healthy Gut
There is one unit of carbohydrate well known as oligosaccharide which is also found in the extract of butterfly pea leaves. Some of you might be wondering what the benefits of this type of carbohydrate with the strange name are. Well, some studies stated that this type of carbohydrate could replace the function of prebiotic to promote healthy gut due to its ability in killing bad bacteria inside the intestine and promoting the good bacteria to optimize the function of digestive system.
- Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Some people who have been diagnosed with certain types of diabetes, especially diabetes type 2 will suffer a condition well known as insulin insensitivity whereas the body cannot optimally utilize the function of insulin to break down glucose derived from carbohydrate into energy. The result is the spiking of blood sugar level. The oligosaccharide, scientifically have been proven to help improving insulin sensitivity to help patients with type 2 diabetes managing their blood sugar level.
- Enhances the Function of Immunity System
Not only good for digestive system or diabetic patients, oligosaccharide is also able to enhance the function of immunity system. That is why one of the health benefits of blue tea is to accelerate the recovery process after illness.
Cautions of Butterfly Pea Leaves
As mentioned in the health benefits of butterfly pea leaves, you will find how amazing this plant is from curing ear pain up to beneficial for diabetes treatments. However, still there are some cautions you should aware as well because compared to the studies of the flower, the study about the benefits of leaves are fewer.
- Allergic reaction may occur by those who are taking this herb for the first time. Perhaps, to be safe you could try consuming the butterfly pea tea or also well known as blue tea first to find out whether you are okay of using the other parts of plants for medication purposes.
- The simple carbohydrate found in butterfly pea leaves may be beneficial for diabetic patients. However, it is only theoretically, further studies are strongly required.
- If you are looking for home remedy to cholesterol or diabetes is highly recommended to consult your doctor first, especially for you who have been taking prescribed medicine from doctors to avoid negative interactions.
One important thing to note if you want to use butterfly pea leaves as home remedy solution for certain health conditions, you have to find out the right dosage and the best way to use it. For example is for ear pain, you should boil it first to get the extract and for swollen joints you could use it as poultices to be used externally. For internal usage, you could use the leaves as herbal tea or concoction.