Aparajita (Hindi) or Shankhpushpam (Tamil/Malayalam) flower is one of my most favourite ones. The most striking feature about this plant is the color of its flowers, a vivid deep blue; solitary, with light yellow markings. The blue colour when illuminated by sunlight is nothing short of a magical light. It is a perennial herbaceous plant, with elliptic, obtuse leaves. It grows as a creeper, doing well in moist, neutral soil.
I guess it’s not just the flower but the entire vine that reaches out to another plant for support. The way she entwines the other plant and embraces it with her beauty is something that signifies true love for me. I can spend hours clicking her. She’s been one of my favourite subjects for my photography passion. Be it a sunny day or a rainy afternoon or a cloudy evening, she bedazzles me every single time.
It is grown as an ornamental plant requiring little care when cultivated. Its roots form a symbiotic association with soil bacteria known as rhizobia, which transform atmospheric Nitrogen (N2) into a plant-usable form, therefore, this plant is also used to improve soil quality through the decomposition of nitrogen rich plant material.
I somehow find it to be a lucky plant too. I have one outside my front door and a few in my terrace garden. I have gifted it as seeds and as plants to friends who are close to my heart. With this I wish them peace, health and prosperity.
Her scientific name is Clitoria ternatea. She is commonly known as Asian pigeonwings, bluebellvine, blue pea, butterfly pea, cordofan pea and Darwin pea. The flowers of this vine have the shape of human female genitals, hence the Latin name of the genus “Clitoria”, from “clitoris”. (Synonyms: Clitoris principissae.)
It is commonly found in Asia, mainly in India and Philippines.
In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it is ascribed various qualities including memory enhancing, nootropic, antistress, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, tranquilizing, and sedative properties. In traditional Chinese medicine, due to its appearance similar to the female reproductive organ, and consistent with the Western concept of the doctrine of signatures, the plant has been ascribed properties affecting this organ.
This beautiful creeper has wonderful medicinal uses and especially it’s use in enhancing the memory and reducing stress in very popular. Scientific studies have been done extensively on this amazing plant and many of it’s traditional uses have been proven. The root extract acts as a mild sedative and calms down the central nervous system so it can be used as an anti depressant and anti stress medicine. The root extract also show anti asthmatic activity. The flower extract of the plant also has been proven scientifically to protect against free radicals and is full of antioxidants.
And other very surprising effect of this amazing plant is the chloroform and methanol seed extract has been proven to have larvicidal activity against three species of mosquitoes! The wound healing property of butterfly pea also has been proven through research. It also has blood sugar lowering properties. It has been proven as a safe herb and there was no any major side effects or mortality.
The first time I had the Butterfly Pea Tea was in Thailand. I never knew what it was but I loved the colour and the soothing effect. It is supposedly a health drink. Here’s a YouTube video describing this drink.
Larvicidal activity of Saraca indica, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, and Clitoria ternatea extracts against three mosquito vector species.