Butterfly pea Flower Extract
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.
Butterfly pea is highly valued in Ayurvedic medicine
It used for centuries as a memory enhancer, antistress, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, tranquilizing and sedative agent.
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.
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
|Duration of the study||1 hr or 5 hr|
|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.|
In vitro study on antioxidant activity of butterfly pea flower extract
|Duration of the study||–|
|Groups||Water extract/Ethanol extract|
Negative control: ethanol
Positive control: Trolox
|Parameters analysed||DPPH scavenging activity|
• DPPH scavenging activity was the best when extracted into water and the flowers of C. ternatea is a good source of natural antioxidants.
• 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.
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, insulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, creatinine|
• Liver glycogen, skeletal muscle glycogen, glucokinase, glucose-6-phosphatase levels
• CTF stimulates pancreatic secretion of insulin from β-cell of islets or enhances transport of blood glucose to the peripheral tissues.
• The presence of insulin also may increase glycolysis and maintain the protein balance.
• The extracts could manage the complications associated with diabetes, such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia and impaired renal function.
• 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.
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||• Placebo • 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.|
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|
|Groups||• Control group|
• Treatment group
|Parameters analyzed||• 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|