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You Are Here: Home » Herbs & Spices » Clitoria Ternatea (Shanka Phool or Seashell Flower)

220px-clitoria_ternateaDescription : This plant is native to tropical equatorial Asia It is a perennial herbaceous plant. Its leaves are elliptic and obtuse. It grows as a vine or creeper, doing well in moist neutral soil. The most striking feature about this plant are its vivid deep blue flowers. They are solitary, with light yellow markings. They are about 4 cm long by 3 cm wide. There are some varieties that yield white flowers. The fruits are 5 – 7 cm long, flat pods with 6 to 10 seeds in each pod. They are edible when tender.  It is grown as an ornamental plant and as a revegetation species (e.g., in coal mines in Australia), requiring little care when cultivated. Its roots fix nitrogen and therefore this plant is also used to improve soil quality.

220px-clitoria_ternatea_beansUses : In Southeast Asia the flowers are used to colour food. In Malay cooking, an aqueous extract is used to colour glutinous rice for kuih tekan (also known as pulut tai tai in Peranakan/Nyonya cooking) and in nonya chang. In Thailand, a syrupy blue drink is made called nam dok anchan (น้ำดอกอัญชัญ). In Burma the flowers are used as food, often they are dipped in batter and fried.
In animal tests the methanolic extract of Clitoria ternatea roots demonstrated nootropic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant and antistress activity. The active constituent(s) include Tannins, resins, Starch, Taraxerol & Taraxerone.
Clitoria ternatea root extracts are capable of curing whooping cough if taken orally. The extract from the white-flowered plant can cure goiter. Its roots are used in ayurveda Indian medicine.

Some common names are:
Kulhadhirimaa (Divehi)
Butterfly pea, blue pea vine, mussel-shell climber, pigeon wings (English)
Aparajita (Bangla, Hindi)
Nagar hedi (Kannada)
Bunga telang (Malay)
Sankhupushpam, ശംഖുപുഷ്പം (Malayalam)
Sankha pu (Tulu)

Gokarna (Marathi)
Fula criqua (Portuguese)
Aparajita, saukarnika, ardrakarni, girikarnika, supuspi, mohanasini, vishadoshaghni (Sanskrit)
Sangu pu (Tamil)

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoria_ternatea


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