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Butterfly Pea – Its Benefits and Uses

Have you seen that “unicorn” drink that changes colors? If you have, were you also mesmerized like me? I’m talking about the drink that you see around Instagram and facebook that turns from dark blue to purple to magenta. When I first saw it, my first thought was, “Wow, how did they do that?” And then I discovered the Butterfly Pea Tea.

clitoria ternatea philippines
Photo credit: Love and Olive Oil

Now, I still don’t know if those tea shops I saw used real Butterfly Pea Tea to make the unicorn drink. But this tea is awesome, delicious, it changes colors and can be used for brewing Kombucha tea.

What is the Butterfly Pea?

Butterfly Pea, also known as Clitoria Ternatea, Blue Ternate, Blue Pea, Asian Pigeonwings, or Cordofan, is a herbal tea or tisane that is native to Southeast Asia. It is used in Asian cooking as food coloring, garnish to salads and as tea. When used as tea, it changes colors as the pH level changes. That is why when you add lemon, the color changes from blue to dark purple or magenta.

What are the benefits of butterfly pea?

Clitoria Ternatea is not just used in Asian cooking because of its color, but also because of its health benefits. Like green tea, butterfly pea flowers are rich in antioxidants. According to this study, it helps in protecting the body from age-mediated diabetic complication by fighting against glycation, a process in which a sugar molecule bonds with a lipid or protein molecule that usually causes premature skin aging. This study also shows that Butterfly Pea is effective in treating inflammation. Blue pea also contains cyclotides, the peptides that have antitumor effects. Although more studies are needed to prove the effects of Butterfly Pea to cancer, it has a potential.

How to Make Butterfly Pea Tea

Serving: 1 cup

What You Need:

  • Butterfly Pea Tea (You can get it here)
  • Sugar or any sweetener of your choice (optional)
  • Water
  • Kettle


  1. Bring water to boil until 90 degrees Celsius. Pour water in to your cup.
  2. Add 1 gram of butterfly pea tea. Steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove tea and add sweetener if you like.
  4. Serve and Enjoy

To make Kombucha tea using Clitoria Ternatea, please go to this link.

butterfly blue pea kombucha tea 

How to Make Blue Rice

blue rice recipe
Photo credit:

Blue Rice is famous in other parts of Asia. Here’s a recipe on how to make it using Butterfly Blue Pea.


  • ¼ cup dried Butterfly Pea Flowers or Butterfly Pea Tea (get it here)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water


  1. Start by boiling ½ cup of water. Once it starts showing bubble, turn off the heat and add ¼ cup of butterfly pea flowers. Let it steep for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove the flowers.
  2. Mix the water that has now turned blue to the remaining water. Pour it in to your rice cooker.
  3. Rinse your rice once or twice then pour it in to your rice cooker. Cook like how you cook a regular steamed rice.
  4. Serve

Want to make your ow butterfly pea-flavored food and drinks? Get your stash of butterfly pea tea here.