You remember how I used blue pea flowers to play with anthocyanins? I thought I’d tell you a bit more about them.

Clitoria Ternatea is named after the female anatomy – which made a bunch of people clutch their pearls – and the Ternate island in Indonesia. Perhaps because of the fight over its designation, we can find it under many different  names such as :

  • blue pea flowers, butterfly pea or pigeon wings in English
  • liane de ternate, pois bleu, pois papillon, clitorie de ternate in French
  • conchita azul, papito, zapatico de la reina in Spanish

It is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows as a vine in tropiqual equatorial Asia.




Its roots are traditionally used as fabric dye and its flowers are used as food colorants, most often to prepare blue teas and rice. It is also widely used as a herbal medicine to treat imbalances in the central nervous system but also as an analgesic, antidiabetic and even local anesthesic. Flower infusions are used to prepare an antiinflammatory eyewash too.

That is quite a lot of possible uses which were all validated by scientific studies. Indeed, clitoria ternatea has got a wide range of secondary metabolites like triterpenoids, flavonol glycosides, steroids and anthocyanins and thus a just as wide range of properties.

As for cosmetic formulation, studies have shown that aqueous extracts retain their antioxidant activity and that such extracts are therefore a valuable anti-oxidant inclusion in cosmetic products.

So, if we try do detail a bit this anti-oxidant activity, this would provide some interesting claims :

  • Free radicals scavenging.
  • Slowdown of the inflammatory process that leads to tissue damage through transepidermal water loss and tensil strength.
  • Slowdown of photoageing.

Now, what to do with my pretty flowers? Again, many possibilities.

I tried in a lavender/oat gel cleanser and the result is visually very nice but I can’t help feeling like I’m wasting poor innocent flowers in a rince-off product. What do you think?

I finally opted for experimenting with mask formulas because blue = water = hydration = hydrating mask. The gel mask is obviously the best visual option.



I like the idea of an eye gel too but I want to think a bit more about the preservative system. In the meantime, I’ll be scavenging free radicals on my face while sipping blue tea.


 What would you experiment with?



N Maity et al. Indian J Pharmacol 44 (5), 584-587. Standardized Clitoria Ternatea Leaf Extract as Hyaluronidase, Elastase and Matrix-Metalloproteinase-1 Inhibitor. 

Phytother Res. 2009 Nov;23(11):1624-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2832. The antioxidant activity of Clitoria ternatea flower petal extracts and eye gel. Kamkaen N(1) .

J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Dec 8;120(3):291-301. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.09.009. Epub 2008 Sep 20. The Ayurvedic medicine Clitoria ternatea–from traditional use to scientific assessment.

Wikipediea – Clitoria Ternatea – Clitoria Ternatea – Clitoria Ternatea

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