Knowledge: Butterfly Pea Flower (Clitoria ternatea)

Clitoria ternatea L.

Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea L.) is a climbing legume (Leguminosae) that has small flowers which are beautiful and funnel-shaped. It originated from tropical Asia, but now was widely distributed in Central and South America, India and China. The blue color flower is popular in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines as an edible food dye and also brewed into tea.

The buterfly pea flower is unique as the extracted dye has the ability to change colors depending on the pH of any ingredient that is added to it. At its first brew, the beverage has a deep, midnight blue color but a squeeze of lemon or any acidic liquid, can change its color to violet and further to pink.

In Thailand and Vietnam, butterfly pea tea is consumed regularly. It 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.
It is known as Bunga Telang in Malaysian or Indonesian. In Malaysia, it is often used to make nyonya kuih, blue rice nasi lemak, nyonya dumpling and nasi kerabu. This natural dye is also easy and convenient to be used in all purpose with blue coloring in baking and food decorating. In the U.S., butterfly pea flower is often added to cocktails and other alcoholic drinks due to the tasteless of the pigment and the magical color changing properties.

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Butterfly Pea Flower Distribution Channel

• Restaurant • Manufacturer • Central Kitchen • Food Ingredient Supplier • Flavour House & End User/House wife • Hotel • Bar • Food Service Distributor • Food Kiosk and Cinema

Butterfly Pea Flower Application Channel

Drinks: • Cooling • Energy • Cordial • Traditional Drink • Tea • Milk • Soy • Coconut • Honey • Latte • Passion Fruit Juice • Ice-Cream • Kuih-muih • Jelly • Cake • Biscuit • Jam • Pudding • Chocolate • Bao/Bun • Bread • Dessert • Grazing • Filling

Encapsulation with fructo-oligosaccharide.
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The buterfly pea flower is unique as the extracted dye has the ability to change colors depending on the pH of any ingredient that is added to it. At its first brew, the beverage has a deep, midnight blue color but a squeeze of lemon or any acidic liquid, can change its color to violet and further to pink.

Structural studies of anthocyanins of Clitoria ternatea flower petals have been reported. They were mainly ternatins, flavone glycosides and delphinidin derivatives. These water soluble anthocyanins have not only impart beautiful coloration to food systems but also have antioxidant properties and health benefits such as enhancement of sight acuteness, antioxidant capacity, controlling Type II diabetes, reduction of coronary heart disease and prevention of cancer

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HEALTH BENEFITS

Anti-inflammation

Quercetin glycosides and ternatin anthocyanins from the flower extracts can protect against chronic inflammatory diseases by suppressing the excessive production of pro-inflammatory mediators from immune cells.

In vitro study on effect of butterfly pea flower extract on lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation
Subject Macrophages
Duration of the study 1 hr or 5 hr
Dosage 0-450 µg/mL
Groups
  • Pretreatment followed by exposure to LPS
  • Control group
Parameters analysed
  • ROS production
  • NO production
  • iNOS production
  • COX-2 production
  • NF-κB production
Function Quercetin glycosides and ternatin anthocyanins from the extract can protect against chronic inflammatory diseases by suppressing the excessive production of proinflammatory
mediators from macrophage cells
Visible Benefits
  • 200 μg/mL suppressed ROS, NO and COX-2 production
  • Fractions suppressed iNOS production and nuclear NF-κB translocation
In vivo study on effect of butterfly pea flower extract on inflammation
Subject Healthy albino rats (n=24)
Duration of the study 3 hour
Dosage 200 and 400 mg/kg
Groups
  • Control group
  • Treatment group
Parameters analysed Volume of hind paw edema
Function The extract can act as analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent by preventing the release of prostaglandins and kinnins.
Visible Benefits At both dose levels, the extract exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity on the edema but analgesic activity was shown at 400mg/kg dosage.

Antioxidant

Anthocyanins from the extract are good antioxidants that can slow down aging. The antioxidants prevents free radical-induced hemolysis, protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation in red blood cells. Cardiovascular disease prevention is also strongly linked to protection of anthocyanin against oxidative stress.

In vitro study on antioxidant activity of butterfly pea flower extract
Subject DPPH assay
Duration of the study
Dosage 0.25-0.5mg/mL
Groups Water extract/Ethanol extract

Negative control: ethanol

Positive control: Trolox

Parameters analysed DPPH scavenging activity
Function

  • DPPH scavenging activity was the best when extracted into water and the flowers of C. ternatea is a good source of natural antioxidants.
Visible benefits

  • Water extract and ethanol extract has IC50 values 1 mg/mL and 4 mg/mL, respectively.
  • The total phenolic content, expressed as GAE was 1.9 mg/ g for the water extract.

Anti-diabetes

The flower extract can reduce serum glucose levels and this can be due to the inhibition of α-amylase during starch digestion.

In vivo study on effect of butterfly pea flower extract on diabetes
Subject Male rats (n=30)
Duration of the study 84 days
Dosage 400mg/kg body weight
Groups
  1. Control rats given water.
  2. Diabetic control rats given water.
  3. Diabetic rats treated orally with CTF
Parameters analysed
  • Serum glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, creatinine
  • Liver glycogen, skeletal muscle glycogen, glucokinase, glucose-6-phosphatase levels
Function

  • CTF stimulates pancreatic secretion β-cell of islets or enhances transport of blood glucose to the peripheral tissues.
  • Increase glycolysis and maintain the protein balance.
  • The extracts could manage the complications associated with diabetes, such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia and impaired renal function.
Visible benefits

  • Water extract and ethanol extract has IC50 values 1 mg/mL and 4 mg/mL, respectively.
  • The total phenolic content, expressed as GAE was 1.9 mg/g for the water extract.

Eye-sight

Anthocyanin protects the eyes from free radical damage and maintains the integrity of blood vessels to the eye, thereby enhancing night vision and improve overall eyesight.

In vivo and in vitro studies on effect of anthocyanins on eye-sight
Subject Healthy human age 24-51 (n=12)
Duration of the study 2 hour
Dosage 12.5, 20, 50 mg anthocyanins
Groups
  1. Placebo
  2. 3 treatment group
Parameters analysed
  • Dark adaptation values
  • Transient refractive alteration study
Function

  • Oral intake of anthocyanins or anthocyanin-rich extracts are potential for treating opthalmological diseases such as myopia and asthenopia.
Visible benefits

  • Treatment group has decreased dark adaptation threshold in a dose-dependent manner.
  • Anthocyanins promoted recovery from or served to prevent work-induced transient refractive alteration and subjective symptoms of visual fatigue.

Anti-cancer

In vitro study on effect of butterfly pea flower extract on proliferation of cancer cells
Subject
  • Breast cancer cell line (MCF-7)
  • Non-hormone-dependent breast cancer cell line (MDA-MB-231)
  • Human ovary cancer cell line (Caov-3)
  • Human liver cancer cell line (HepG2)
Duration of the study 24, 48 and 72 hr
Dosage 175-305 μg/mL
Groups
  • Control group
  • Treatment group
Parameters analysed
  • Cell viability (MTT assay)
Function

  • Phenolic compounds present in the water extract can inhibit the growth of cancer cells without affecting normal cells
Visible benefits

  • Water extracted CT flower showed anti-proliferative activity for MCF7, Caov3, HepG2 and MDA-MB-231 with IC50 values of 175.3 µg/mL, 224.5 µg/mL, 236.3 µg/mL, and 304.7 µg/mL at 72 hours

Butterfly Pea Flower Extraction Process

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Standardized Butterfly Pea Flower Extract Concentrate, Fresh Natural Asian Gourmet Beverage or Bakery Ingredient, Fresh Natural Flavor, Fresh Natural Color Anthocyanin

  • Fresh Natural & Concentrate
  • Fresh Natural Flavour/Colour (Anthocyanin)
  • Fresh Natural Phytonutrients
  • High Antioxidants
  • Anti-diabetes
  • Eye-sight
  • Anti-inflammation

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