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Blue tea: the benefits and harm, contraindications

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 15.10.2019
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Tea drinking has long become a tradition in the culture of our people. With tea, many people start the morning and end the day. Some prefer black, others - green. There are fans of various additives in the drink, which gives it a tasteful variety. In the summer, in the heat, they remember karkad - red tea. But most did not even hear about blue. But it exists and belongs to the elite expensive varieties.

What is blue tea made of?

Blue tea is obtained from the flowers and leaves of the Thai orchid by drying and fermenting them. 

Clitoria ternatea L. (Clitoria ternatea), an  [1]evergreen ornamental plant-liana, growing in a tropical part of Asia, known as moth peas belonging to the family Fabaceae. It is common in tropical areas such as Asia, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. It blooms with blue large flowers, which defines the name of the tea. Clitoria ternatea is widely used as a traditional herbal medicine. In addition to biological activity, Clitoria ternatea flower is a source of natural food coloring and blue drink all over the world. Its root extract is used in medicine for the treatment of whooping cough and in Ayurvedic practice. [2]

The tradition to prepare the drink went from Thailand, where it is called nam dok anchan. Often flowers are used as food coloring. Collect them at dawn so that the buds are still closed, and only manually. First, it is dried in the open air, making it so that the core of the flower is wet, and the outer part is already dried, then it is oxidized. Before packaging, they are twisted into spirals.

Taste of blue tea

Those who have tried blue tea, note its unlikely light aroma and taste, slightly iodine. At first glance, nothing special, but something makes you come back to it again and again and want to drink a cup of drink again.

In the process of brewing, the water is colored blue and notes of flowers, forest mushrooms, and other unusual shades appear in the aroma.

The use of blue tea

In addition to food pleasure blue tea perfectly quenches thirst, relieves anxiety. In addition, the antioxidants contained in tea have a beneficial effect on the skin,  [3]nails, hair, can be recommended for use in the treatment of various types of skin wounds. [4] May be used to prevent the progression of cognitive impairment in patients with vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease. [5] C. Ternatea cyclotides can be used for chemosensitization in the treatment of cancer. [6]

Types of blue tea

There are many varieties of blue tea, different country of growth, the degree of fermentation. Blue tea from Thailand "Nam Doc Anchan", it was mentioned above, in the sales network can be found under the name "Blue Purple" Chang Shu Anchan "," butterfly pea tea "," clitoria triple "," moth peas ", from the versions translation of the name of the plant.

There is also Chinese blue tea. It refers to the so-called uluns - semi-fermented teas. The raw material for it is the tea plant, not the clitoria ternate. Due to incomplete processing of the tea leaf, but only its edges, when brewing, an unusual color is obtained. These teas are called blue-green, because it turns out something between blue and black. Depending on the degree of fermentation, the color of the drink is different.

There are several varieties of it: Dong Fai Mei Ren, Feng Huang Dan Cong, Chai Da Hong Pao. The latter is a very expensive variety. All of them are characterized by excellent aroma and taste.

Vietnamese blue tea is an ordinary tea leaves, flavored with flowers of a tropical plumeria tree. Its flowers are white, red, purple, bluish color. They give a very nice fresh, slightly citrus scent with a touch of jasmine. Plumeria, blooming in blue color gives the drink the appropriate color.

Tea connoisseurs value not only high-quality and unusual drink, but the whole tea ceremony is important for them. Another category of people ignores this; it is for them that the manufacturers of blue tea have provided for the packaging of instant tea bags.

How to brew blue tea flowers?

Feel the real taste of blue tea can only brew it properly. For this, a porcelain or glass teapot is rinsed with boiling water, 2 teaspoons of raw materials are poured into it and poured with a small amount of hot water (80-90ºС). Literally 10 seconds later, it is drained and refilled with a glass, kept for 5 minutes, poured into cups.

Tea is ready, you can put sugar, honey, lemon in it, although real connoisseurs simply drink it. It is good in both hot and cold. Interestingly, the brew can be used up to 3 times, this property does not degrade tea. It should be drunk moderately, several times a day, some sources recommend only 1-2 times a week.

Useful properties of blue tea

The chemical composition of the plant is insufficiently studied, but among the components found, it contains saponins, malonyl flavonol glycosides,  [7]flavonoids, carbohydrates, a number of fatty acids (palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids), tannins, antioxidants, high molecular peptides, cyclotids. This whole "set" provides the following beneficial properties of blue tea:

  • eliminates insomnia;
  • relieves stress;
  • soothes;
  • improves memory, attention, [8],  [9];
  • It has a significant hepatoprotective effect in liver damage caused by drugs; [10]
  • antimicrobial and diuretic action; [11]
  • antidiarrheal activity. [12]

Studies have reported antiplatelet, vasodilator, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic  [13],  [14]nootropic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant and anti [15] - stress  properties of Clitoria ternatea, it exhibits anti-diabetic [16], anti-asthmatic [17]and anti -oxidant activity [18]. 

Recently, an aqueous extract of Clitoria ternatea flowers has been reported to inhibit digestive enzymes, such as intestinal α-glucosidase and pancreatic α-amylase in vitro [19]. Provides larvicidal activity against the three main carriers of mosquitoes Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus and Anopheles stephensi. [20]

Contraindications to the use

Blue tea is contraindicated for use by pregnant women, during lactation, with intolerance to the chemical composition of the plant, anemia. It has the ability to thin the blood, therefore, taking drugs that lower blood clotting, you need to take this fact into account.

Harm of blue tea

With a pronounced sedative effect, blue tea can cause harm to people whose profession or hobby is associated with the severity of the reaction, for example, driving a car. The occurrence of a plant allergy is not excluded.

Doctors reviews

Most doctors adhere to the "do no harm" rule, therefore they are urged not to abuse the drink and limit it to a few tea parties a week. Others do not believe in its usefulness at all and consider the hype around it to be an ordinary marketing promotion. Best of all, trying something new, listen to your body, sensations, especially since the wise Asian people have a centuries-old experience of consuming blue tea.

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