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Family Fabaceae
Clitoria ternatea Linn.

Hu die hua dou

Scientific names  Common names 
Clitorea philippensis Perr. Balog-balog (C. Bis.)
Clitoria ternatea Linn. Giting-princesa (Bik.) 
  Kolokanting (Tag.) 
  Kalompagi (Ilk.) 
  Pukingan (Tag.)
  Pukiñggan (Tag.)
  Puki-reyna (Tag.)
  Samsampin (Pang.)
  Samsamping (Ilk.)
  Blue pea (Engl.)   
  Butterfly pea (Engl.)   
  Hu die hua dou (Chin.)
Pukinggan is a common name shared by (1) Centrosema pubescens, butterfly pea; and (2) Clitorea ternatea, blue pea vine.
Butterfly pea is a English common name shared by both species.

Other vernacular names
CAMBODIA: Bunga biru, Kacang telang.
CHINESE: Lan hu die, Lan hua dou.
INDIA: Kajroti.
INDONESIA: Bunga biru, Kembang telang.
LAOS: 'Ang s'an dam, Bang s'an dam.
MALAYSIA: Bunga telang.
TAMIL: Sangupushpam.
THAI: Anchan.
VIETNAMESE: Dau bie'c.

Botanical factoid
If you stare long enough and let your mind stray, you might appreciate how both scientific and common names derived from the flower's similarity to the female external genitalia: clitorea from clitoris and pukingan, tagalog for vagina. (Also see: Butterfly pea, Centrosema pubescens)

Pukiñgan is a twining herb or climbing vine with cylindrical and slender stems, sometimes up to 1 centimeter in diameter.
Leaflets are 5 to 7, elliptic to oblong, 3 to 7 centimeters in length. Stipels are small, and acicular. Flower is solitary. Calyx is green, about 1.5 centimeters long. Corolla is 3.5 to 4 centimeters long, with the standard deep blue with a white, yellowish, or pale-blue center. Pods are 5 to 10 centimeters long, flat, with 6 to 10 seeds.

- Throughout the Philippines, in thickets in settled areas at low and medium altitudes.
- Cultivated for its conspicuous blue flowers.

- Introduced; now pantropic.

• Studies have isolated triterpenoids, flavonol glycosides, anthocyanins and steroids.
• Root-bark contains starch, tannin and resins.
• The seeds contain a fixed oil, bitter acid resin (the active principle), tannic acid, glucose, and 6% ash. Testa of the seed is brittle and contains a cotyledon which is full of granular starch.
• The seed is reported to contain a toxic alkaloid.
• Phytochemical screening has yielded tannins, resins, taraxerol and ternatins.

• Screening of petals of CT yielded three flavonol glycosides - kaempferol 3-O-(2″-O-α-rhamnosyl-6″-O-malonyl)-β-glucoside, quercetin 3-O-(2″-O-α-rhamnosyl-6″-O-malonyl)-β-glucoside, and myricetin 3-O-(2″,6″-di-O-α-rhamnosyl)-β-glucoside - together with 11 known flavonol glycosides.

• Roots considered laxative, diuretic, antiinflammatory and anthelmintic.

• Studies have shown pharmacologic activities: antimicrobial, antipyretic, antiinflammatory, analgesic, diuretic, anesthetic, antidiabetic, insecticidal, vascular smooth-muscle relaxing and platelet-aggregation inhibiting activity.
• The roots taken as purgative, have been reported to be toxic and narcotic, causing irritability, loss of memory or unconsciousness.
• The roots and seeds are considered emetic, diuretic and emmenagogue.
• Roots considered vomitive and laxative. An alcoholic extract is used as a cathartic.

Parts utilized
Roots, leaves, flowers, seeds.

Edibility / Culinary
• In Southeast Asia, flower pigment is used for food coloring.
• In the Philippines poultices of leaves used for swollen joints.
• Infusion of leaves is used for eruptions.
• Warm leaf juice mixed with common salt is applied around the ears for earache.
• Leaves are used as poultices for swollen joints.
• Seeds are mildly laxative and purgative; also, antihelminthic.
• In India, the white flowered specie is considered superior to the blue variety.
• The roots of the blue flowered variety is used for piles. For earaches, the juice of the blue variety is used.
• The roots, in soup, used to remove phlegm in chronic bronchitis and to induce nausea and vomiting when necessary. (Note toxicity above.)
• Root-bark infusion used as demulcent for bladder and urethral irritation. Alcoholic extract has been used as a cathartic.
• For hiccups, the seeds are burned for fume inhalation; same also used for asthma.
• Also used for throat, eye infections, skin diseases.
• To hasten delivery twinning branches of the white flowered variety are wrapped around the waist.
• Root ash is used for facial care.
• Root powder is used for jaundice.
• Roots used to treat mental disorders and to relieve stress.
• For renal stones, the roots used with boiled rice.
• Roots and seeds used as diuretic and emmenagogue; also to induce vomiting.
• Juice of leaves mixed with green ginger used in cases of colliquative sweating in hectic fever.
• Juice of leaves mixed with common salt is applied warm around the ear for earaches, especially when accompanied by swelling of the surrounding glands.
• Root juice, applied in the nose for migraine.
• For painful boils, mix the root juice with vinegar and apply to the boils.
• A traditional Ayurveda medicine as a brain tonic, memory and intelligence enhancer, antidepressant, anti-stress,anxiolytic, sedative and anticonvulsant.

• In South Travancore, India, leaf juice taken twice daily for 6 days for scabies. source
• In West Bengal, root juice used for fevers.

Acetylcholine / Memory:
Root extract of CT significantly increased the ACh content in rat hippocampi. ACh content in the hippocampus may be the neurochemical basis for improved memory and learning. (3)
Anthelmintic: Study showed the alcoholic extracts of CT with significant anthelmintic activity. (5)
Antipyretic: The methanol extract of CT showed dose-dependent antipyretic effect comparable to that of paracetamol. (6)  
CNS Effects: The methanol extract study on the CNS showed it to possesses nootropic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant and antistress activity. (7)
Cytotoxic Activity: Methanol crude extract of leaves and 3 fractions (n-hexane, di-chlormethane, methanol) demonstrated promising cytotoxic activity. (8)
Antifungal: Leaf extract exhibited considerable antifungal activity against filamentous fungi in a dose-dependent manner. (9)
Larvicidal: Screening of natural products for mosquito larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus and Anopheles stephensi was done with three potential plant extracts. Of the three, C ternatea showed the most promising mosquito larvicidal activity. Phytochemical analysis of the seed extract showed carbohydrates, saponins, terpenoids, tannins and proteins. (10)
Hypoglycemic: Study suggests that Clitorea ternatea leaf and flower extracts exhibit antihyperglycemic effect in rats with alloxan-induced diabetes.
Antihyperglycemic / Antihyperlipidemic:Study suggests the C ternatea leaves and flower extracts showed antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects and may alleviate liver and renal damage associated with alloxan-induced diabetes in rats. (12)
Antihistaminic Activity: Clonidine, an a-2 adrenoreceptor agonist induces dose-dependent catalepsy in mice and releases histamine from mast cells responsible for asthmatic conditions. Study results suggest antihistaminic activity of C. ternatea ethanol extract of root as shown by significant inhibition of clonidine-induced catalepsy in mice. (14)
Wound Healing: Study showed seed and root extracts significantly improved wound healing in excision, incision and dead-space models, both orally by gavage and as ointment. The activity in animal models was attributed to flavonol glycoside and phenolic compounds through alterations in the inflammatory and immune components of wound healing. (15)
Cytotoxicity: Study evaluating the the petroleum ether and ethanolic extracts of CT in short term in vitro cytotoxicity using Dalton's Lymphoma ascites cells showed both the extract poses significant cell cytotoxic activity. Phytochemical screening of PEE yielded steroids, triterpenoids, tannins, and saponins, while the EE yielded flavanoids. (16)
Antiasthmatic: Study of ethanol extract of C. ternatea roots showed antiasthmatic activity which may be due to the presence of flavonoids or saponins.
Antidiabetic Effect: Chronic administration of plant extracts for 14 days reduced the blood glucose levels of the diabetes-induced animals compared to the diabetic control group. The antidiabetic effect was comparable to the standard antidiabetic drug Glibenclamide. (18)
Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Flowers: Study of a petroleum ether flower extract of C. ternatea exhibited significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. On acute toxicity study, it was safe even at doses of 2000 mg/KBW. Phytochemical screening yielded taraxerol, a pentacyclic triterpenoid, which may be responsible for the pharmacologic activity. (
Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antioxidant effects of leaf extracts Clitorea ternatea and Alternanthra sessilis in treated yeast cells DNA. The leaf extracts effectively decreased the extent of DNA damage. DPPH scavenging activity was highly elicited by the methanol extracts of Clitorea ternatea. (
Juvenile Diabetes / Hippocampal Area Ca 3 Effect: Encepalopathy is a major complication in juvenile diabetes mellitus that can cripple physiomorphological growth and development in childhood. Study of an alcoholic root extract of C. ternatea showed significant gross impact in preventing possible complications to brain hippocampal area CA3 and pancreatic tissue in juvenile diabetic rat models. (
Hypoglycemic Effects / Leaves: Study of a methanol extract of leaves showed significant reduction of blood glucose in alloxan-induced diabetic rats twelve hours after administration. (
Nootropic Effects / Leaves: A methanolic extract of leaves showed promising nootropic effect in scopolamine induced amnesia in rats. (
Antibacterial / Leaves: Various extracts of leaves were tested against Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Proteus vulgaris and Salmonella typhi. A methanol extract showed the most potent inhibitory effect. (
Antiasthmatic / Roots: Study evaluated the bronchodilator activity of an alcoholic extract of roots on histamine-induced bronchospasm in wistar rats. Results showed a bronchospasmolytic activity, with 47.45% protection against histamine-induced bronchoconstriction. (


Last Update July 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: File:Sangu PooButterfly Pea (Clitoria Ternatea).jpg / Kumaravel Thangaraj / 5 Sept 2010 / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license./ Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / Clitoria MS4124.JPG / Marco Schmidt / 2004 / Ornamental plant in a garden in Pô, Burkina Faso / Creative Commons Attribution / click on image to go to souce page / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Clitoria ternatea Blanco2.301.png / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A.) / 1880-1883? / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
The Ayurvedic medicine Clitoria ternatea—From traditional use to scientific assessment / Pulok K Mukherhee et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology / Volume 120, Issue 3, 8 December 2008, Pages 291-301 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.09.009
Kajroti (Clitorea ternetea) as medicinal herb in Chhattisgarh, India / Pankaj Oudhia
Clitoria ternatea root extract enhances acetylcholine content in rat hippocampus / K S Rai et al / Fitoterapia
Volume 73, Issues 7-8, December 2002, Pages 685-689 / doi:10.1016/S0367-326X(02)00249-6
Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea): A Nutritive Multipurpose Forage Legume for the Tropics - An Overview
Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 2 (6): 374-379, 2003
In-vitro anthelmintic activity of root of Clitoria ternatea Linn
/ PHCOG MAG.: Research Article
Pharmacognosy Magazine / ISSN: 0973-1296
Evaluation of antipyretic potential of Clitoria ternatea L. extract in rats / Parimaladevi B et al / International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology • April 1, 2004
Clitoria ternatea and the CNS. / Jain, Neeti et al / Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior (Pharmacol Biochem Behav) / 2003-Jun; vol 75 (issue 3) : pp 529-36
/ A K M shahidur Rahman et al / Bangladesh Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology • January - July 2006
Effects of Clitoria ternatea Leaf Extract on Growth and Morphogenesis of Aspergillus niger / L Kamilla et al / Microsc. Microanal. 15, 366–372, 2009 doi:10.1017/S1431927609090783
Larvicidal activity of Saraca indica, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, and Clitoria ternatea extracts against three mosquito vector species / Nisha Mathew et al / Parasitology Research • Volume 104, Number 5 / April, 2009 / DOI 10.1007/s00436-008-1284-x
Hypoglycemic Effects of Clitoria ternatea Linn. (Fabaceae) in Alloxan-induced Diabetes in Rats / P Daisy and M Rajathi / Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, October 2009; 8 (5): 393-398
Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects of Clitoria ternatea Linn. in alloxan-induced diabetic rats / African Journal of Microbiology Research Vol. 3 (5) pp. 287-291 May, 2009
Malonylated flavonol glycosides from the petals of Clitoria ternatea / Kohei Kazuma, Naonobu Noda and Masahiko Suzuki /
Phytochemistry, Vol 62, Issue 2, Jan 2003, Pp 229-237 / doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(02)00486-7
Antihistaminic activity of Clitoria ternatea L. roots / Dnyaneshwar J Taur and Ravindra Y Patil / Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy
Wound Healing Activity of Clitoria ternatea L. In Experimental Animal Models / Y.B. Solanki and S.M. Jain / Pharmacologia, Volume 3 Issue 6, 2012
IN-VITRO CYTOTOXIC ACTIVITY STUDIES OF CLITORIA TERNATEA LINN FLOWER EXTRACTS / Shyam kumar B and K Ishwar Bhat / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research, Volume 6, Issue 2, January – February 2011
Evaluation of antiasthmatic activity of Clitoria ternatea L. roots. / Taur DJ, Patil RY / J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jun 22;136(2):374-6. Epub 2011 May 6
Pharmacognostic and antidiabetic study of Clitoria ternatea / Manish Gunjan, Ravindran M, Sengamalam R, Goutam K Jana, A. K Jha / Phytomedicine, Vol 2, No 4 (2010) / Advanced Research Journals
Comparative Anthelmintic Activity of Aqueous and Ethanolic Leaf Extracts Of Clitoria Ternatea / Manoj Salhan, Bimlesh Kumar, Prashant Tiwari et al / International Journal of Drug Development & Research, Jan-March 2011, Vol. 3, No 1.
Clitoria ternatea L. (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China

Clitorea ternatea / Vernacular names / GLOBinMED
Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic and Phytochemical Studies of Clitorea ternatea Linn Flower Extract / Shyamkumar and Bhat Ishwar / IRJP 2012, 3(3)
Evaluation of Antioxidant Activity of Clitoria ternatea and Alternanthera sessilis Plant Extracts Using Model System for Yeast Cells / Balachandar Balakrishnan, Jayachitra Ayyavoo, Paramasivam Sadayan and Arulkumar Abimannan / African Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences 5 (3): 134-138, 2013 / DOI: 10.5829/idosi.ajbas.2013.5.3.1135
Effect of Clitoria ternatea linn plant root extract on the hippocampal area Ca 3 and pancreas of juvenile diabetic rats- A preliminary investigation / Ravishankar Vamadevaiah Mathada, Praful Siddhalingappa Jevoor, Rajashree Ravishankar. / Spatula DD. 2012; 2(1): 9-16doi: 10.5455/spatula.20120119052120
Hypoglycemic Effects of Clitoria ternatea Leaves (Linn) Extract
/ Abhishek Kumar Saxena, Mishra Pankaj, Saxena Vikas / Research & Reviews, Vol 1, No 1, 2013
ANTIBACTERIAL STUDIES ON LEAVES OF CLITORIA TERNATEA LINN. - A HIGH POTENTIAL MEDICINAL PLANT / S. P. Anand., A.Doss and V. Nandagopalan / International Journal of Applied Biology and Pharmaceutical Technology, Vol 2, No 3, July-Sept 2011
ANTIASTHMATIC EFFECT OF ROOTS OF CLITOREA TERNATEA LINN. / Neelmani Chauhan*, Saurabh Rajvaidhya, B.K. Dubey / IJPSR, 2012; Vol. 3(4): 1076-1079

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