Today’s Friday Fellow is a creeping (but not creepy) plant with nice deep blue flowers shaped like a human female genitalia.
Yeah, you read that right. Its scientific name is Clitoria ternatea, the genus name being a direct reference to a woman’s clitoris due to the shape of the flowers. Its common names include Asian pigeonwings, bluebellvine, blue pea, butterfly pea, cordofan pea and many others.
Native from tropical Asia, the Asian Pigeonwing has been introduced worldwide in tropical regions. Its seeds are edible when tender and the flowers may be used to make a nice blue infusion called “clitoria tea” or “butterfly pea tea”. It is a plant used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve mental health.
In fact, some studies have shown that it may indeed be benefitial for memory improvement, at least in rats, and has also anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic properties, especially from root extracts. Once more traditional medicine was a good guide for pharmacological research.
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Devi, B., Boominathan, R., & Mandal, S. (2003). Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic properties of Clitoria ternatea root Fitoterapia, 74 (4), 345-349 DOI: 10.1016/S0367-326X(03)00057-1
Taranalli, A., & Cheeramkuzhy, T. (2011). Influence of Clitoria Ternatea Extracts on Memory and Central Cholinergic Activity in Rats Pharmaceutical Biology, 38 (1), 51-56 DOI: 10.1076/1388-0209(200001)3811-BFT051
Wikipedia. Clitoria ternatea. Available at: < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoria_ternatea >. Access on August 1, 2016.
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