Blue Tea and Its Benefits for Weight Loss
Blue tea, also known as butterfly pea flower tea, blue pea tea, or anchan tea, is an infusion native to Asia that has become very popular in the West. Its particular color and its supposed benefits for weight loss have earned her interest in recent years. Today we’ll take a look at what exactly it is and why it is claimed to be effective for weight loss.
What is blue tea?
Blue tea is an infusion made by fermenting the dried flowers of the Clitoria ternatea plant. This is distributed in countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Burma, and the Philippines, where it’s widely used in traditional medicine, as an infusion, and in some industrial processes (as a dye, for example).
There are two varieties of the plant: one with white flowers and the other with blue flowers. Although both are used, the blue variant is used more often due to its particular color, smell, and purported health-promoting benefits and properties. Within the variety with blue petals, there are also subtypes with different shades (light, dark, mauve, and others).
Like this artifcle? We recommend you read: The Benefits of Drinking Orange Juice Everyday
The common name of the plant is blue pea or butterfly pea. Other alternative names of the plant are cunha (Brazil and Portugal), fula criqua (Portugal), lan hu die (China), dangchan (Thailand), kajroti (India) or bunga biru (Indonesia). The truth is that the plant has many different names around the world, although it’s known almost exclusively for its use in the form of tea. Therefore, blue tea is its most general and commonly used name.
Frequently, the infusion is accompanied by other ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, mint, or lemon. The inclusion of these may cause their color to change a bit. Even without them, and depending on the pH and the quality of the petals used, the final shade of the tea can be close to violet, purple, and even red.
What sets it apart from green tea or black tea?
It has already been established that blue tea is extracted exclusively from the Clitoria ternatea plant (from its dried petals, to be more precise). This is the main difference between this type of tea and green tea or black tea, two of the most popular varieties of tea drinking. Both green tea and black tea are extracted from the Camellia sinensis species, only the extraction process is different.
Since the infusions are obtained from different plants, the properties differ between them. It’s important to note that the original process for making blue tea is based on fermenting the dried petals. Although it is possible to make tea without the latter, the color, smell, and agents obtained may differ from the original infusion.
The main benefits of blue tea
Blue tea is popular because it’s credited with significant general health benefits. It was already mentioned that it’s especially known for its supposed weight-loss properties. Before delving into the latter, however, we’re first going to take a look at the benefits of the plant in general and of the infusion in particular:
- It’s a significant source of antioxidants. This is indicated by several studies, which suggest that the presence of these is greater in aqueous extracts.
- It has certain antiviral properties. This is an attributed benefit that it also shares with other infusions, such as black tea or green tea.
- Blue tea also has certain antimicrobial properties. According to research, the seeds that give rise to the plant have antibacterial properties. In fact, these properties have earned it special interest in the agriculture industry and medicine in general.
- It can mediate glucose metabolism. Although more studies are required in this regard, and its effect is slight, it has been suggested that the infusion can improve postprandial glucose and the production and use of insulin.
As the experts remind us, blue tea is caffeine-free. Therefore, it has been emerging as an alternative for people who, although they like tea, don’t want the effects of this compound.
There are other blue tea benefits anecdotally attributed to it, such as that it can improve insomnia, blood pressure, memory, and concentration. There are no studies in this regard that support it.
Blue tea and weight loss
As with other beverages of its kind, the weight loss benefits of blue tea have been overrated. However, this doesn’t mean that the infusion, like others, can have a positive effect on the process; it only means that it’s neither miraculous nor enough on its own.
We recommend you read this article, too: 25 Keys to Losing Weight without Suffering
However, experts have suggested that tea in general (green, black, yellow, blue, dark, and white) may be an ally in losing body fat. Specifically, a 2021 paper published in Biology found that blue tea, when drunk in conjunction with a high-fat diet, can lower postprandial serum triglycerides and free fatty acid concentrations in overweight and obese people.
Another study published in Molecules in 2019 suggested that its extract may downregulate adipogenic expression, which may have a modest positive effect on lipid accumulation. Since their interest in the scientific community is recent, future research will support or extend these initial findings.
Of course, drinking blue tea will not make you lose weight or lose weight without any other methods. Diet and exercise are the main keys to weight loss, accompanied by the indications of competent professionals. It’s very important to regulate your expectations, especially considering the hundreds of supplements with blue tea extract that are sold and advertised as fat burners or slimmers.
Making a blue tea infusion
No side effects have been reported from ingesting tea made from the flowers of Clitoria ternatea. Even so, excessive use can cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Since there are no studies in this regard, it should not be used without medical supervision during pregnancy, lactation, in children under 12 years of age, or if pharmacological treatment is followed.
With these recommendations in mind, you can make blue tea at home without major complications. It’s true that the effect is more powerful when its dried leaves are left to ferment for a certain time, but you can still proceed to make an infusion in a conventional way.
- ½ teaspoon of dried Clitoria ternatea (blue tea) leaves (2.25 g)
- ½ cup of water (125 ml)
How to make it
- Heat the water, without bringing it to a boil.
- Then, add the leaves and let them steep for 3-4 minutes.
- After that time, you can enjoy your exquisite blue tea!
If you would like, you can add ginger, lemon, or honey. Doing so will not only contribute to the flavor, but also to the color of the drink. Again, avoid consuming it more than three times a day so as not to develop possible adverse effects.
Before we close this article, we’d also like to remind you that many of the products that are sold as Clitoria ternatea extract do not do so under the regulation of medicines. They’re marketed as supplements, so the truth and integrity of what is reflected on the label and the product itself can’t always be guaranteed. Bearing this in mind, try to get your blue tea leaves from as reputable places and brands as possible.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Chayaratanasin, P., Caobi, A., Suparpprom, C., Saenset, S., Pasukamonset, P., Suanpairintr, N., Barbieri, M. A., & Adisakwattana, S. (2019). Clitoria ternatea Flower Petal Extract Inhibits Adipogenesis and Lipid Accumulation in 3T3-L1 Preadipocytes by Downregulating Adipogenic Gene Expression. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(10), 1894. Recuperado de: https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24101894
- Chusak, C., Thilavech, T., Henry, C. J., & Adisakwattana, S. (2018). Acute effect of Clitoria ternatea flower beverage on glycemic response and antioxidant capacity in healthy subjects: a randomized crossover trial. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 18(1), 6. Recuperado de: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-2075-7
- Jeyaraj, E. J., Lim, Y. Y., & Choo, W. S. (2021). Extraction methods of butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea) flower and biological activities of its phytochemicals. Journal of food science and technology, 58(6), 2054–2067. Recuperado de: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-020-04745-3
- Kamkaen, N., & Wilkinson, J. M. (2009). The antioxidant activity of Clitoria ternatea flower petal extracts and eye gel. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 23(11), 1624–1625. Recuperado de: https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2832
- Kelemu, S., Cardona, C., & Segura, G. (2004). Antimicrobial and insecticidal protein isolated from seeds of Clitoria ternatea, a tropical forage legume. Plant physiology and biochemistry : PPB, 42(11), 867–873. Recuperado de: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2004.10.013
- Lakshan, S. A. T., Jayanath, N. Y., Abeysekera, W. P. K. M., & Abeysekera, W. K. S. M. (2019). A Commercial Potential Blue Pea (Clitoria ternatea L.) Flower Extract Incorporated Beverage Having Functional Properties. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2019, 2916914. Recuperado de: https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/2916914
- Li-Na, H. E., Yan-Yong, L. I., & Yi-Lun, W. U. (1993). An experimental study on antiviral activities of black tea, blue tea and dark tea against rotavirus. Virologica Sinica, 8(2), 151. Recuperado de: https://www.virosin.org/en/article/id/VS19930802.0151
- Oguis, G. K., Gilding, E. K., Jackson, M. A., & Craik, D. J. (2019). Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea), a Cyclotide-Bearing Plant With Applications in Agriculture and Medicine. Frontiers in plant science, 10, 645. Recuperado de: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2019.00645
- Panda, S. (2018). A mini-review on non-caffeinated blue tea. Intl J Innov Res Eng Multidiscip Phys Sci, 6(4), 710-713. Recuperado de: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330180656_A_Mini-Review_on_Non_Caffeinated_Blue_Tea
- Thilavech, T., Adisakwattana, S., Channuwong, P., Radarit, K., Jantarapat, K., Ngewlai, K., Sonprasan, N., & Chusak, C. (2021). Clitoria ternatea Flower Extract Attenuates Postprandial Lipemia and Increases Plasma Antioxidant Status Responses to a High-Fat Meal Challenge in Overweight and Obese Participants. Biology, 10(10), 975. Recuperado de: https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10100975
- Wang, C., Liu, J., Sang, S., Ao, X., Su, M., Hu, B., & Li, H. (2022). Effects of Tea Treatments against High-Fat Diet-Induced Disorder by Regulating Lipid Metabolism and the Gut Microbiota. Computational and mathematical methods in medicine, 2022, 9336080. Recuperado de: https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/9336080