What Makes the Butterfly Pea a Beneficial Plant?

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Nail fungus is a common infection that affects the toenails more commonly than the fingernails. This usually causes breakages and nail discoloration. Such infections often start underneath the actual nail or the nail itself.

Defining toenail fungus

Toenail fungus is a fungal infection that occurs in toenails. To be more specific, it is a type of infection that occurs in the nail bed, nail plate, and/or both. The nail plate is that part of the toenail that is visible. This is known for being hard and translucent. The nail bed is what runs under the nail plate, anchoring it to the toe. Once all these are infected by fungi, the nail may start to show some changes. It can thicken, change in color, crumble, crack, become brittle, and even separate from the nail bed.

Who gets infected?

Toenail fungus is a common condition. It affects around 20 percent of the population. Some people are more susceptible to the infection. These are those who have the following conditions: living in hot and humid climates, older, those whose feet are always in water, those who wear tight-fitting shoes, those who walk barefoot in damp public places like swimming pools and changing rooms, and those who have medical conditions like diabetes, poor circulation, cancer, and a weakened immune system.

What are some causes?

Fungal infections have a lot of possible causes. The majority of nail fungal infections are caused by fungi that belong to the group called dermatophytes. They may also be caused by yeasts and molds. The risk factors above are also known to increase the likelihood of becoming infected. The infection can be spread from one person to another, and it may also be derived from contact with an infected surface.

What are some treatments?

When it comes to the right nail fungus treatment, there are several options. The more aggressive cases require a prescribed oral antifungal, which must be taken by mouth. Treatment lasts for months. Other options include a topical antifungal as well as laser therapy.

1All about the Blue Pea

The blue pea or butterfly pea has the scientific name Clitoria ternatea. This plant is native to Asia, and it’s likely that you will recognize it due to its striking dark blue flowers. This flower is often used in baking, cooking, drinks, and even as a natural food coloring. This is also popular in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

The flowers are also usually brewed into a herbal tea and it is often mixed with ingredients like lemon, honey, and lemongrass. Once the acidity of the blue pea flower tea changes so does its color too. This is the quality that makes the pea flower a highly popular ingredient for mixologists for the creation of special cocktails.

Nutritional Profile of the Blue Pea

Butterfly pea flowers are loaded with anthocyanin compounds that are known as ternatins. These give the plant its blue hue. According to test tube studies, ternatins can help with inflammation and also help prevent cancer cells from growing. The plant also has several other antioxidants such as Kaemphferol, Delphinidin-3,5-glucoside, and p-Coumaric acid.

Kaemphferol is the compound that is extensively being studied for its cancer-fighting properties. On the other hand, p-Coumaric acid has been supported by studies to contain antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effects, that may help protect the body against certain diseases. The compound Delphinidin-3,5-glucoside has been discovered through a study as having an antioxidant that may encourage immune function and also cause cancer cell death in colorectal cancer.

As an Antifungal and Antimicrobial

In a Malaysian study, it was established that blue pea has antimicrobial properties that make it beneficial to human health. All parts of this plant have shown antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Bacillus cereus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Aeromonas hydrophila, and Streptococcus agalactiae.

In another study, the leaves, seeds, and callus of the blue pea flower were investigated for their antifungal activity against three fungal strains which are Alternaria solani, Aspergillus niger, and Rhizopus oryzae using the agar diffusion method. Blue pea extracts were seen to be inhibitory against all the fungal strains except for the last one. This means that the extracts from blue pea seeds, leaves, and calluses have good antifungal properties.

Other Health Benefits

The butterfly pea flowers are often associated with the following health benefits:

May support weight loss

Some studies suggest that the use of blue pea flowers may help in weight loss. Based on a test tube study, it was seen to reduce the formation of fat cells as it controls certain pathways during cell progression. Older test tube studies also revealed that ternatins in blue pea flower can block the fat cell synthesis in the body.

Regulates blood sugar levels

Studies suggest that the butterfly pea flower may lessen the risk for diabetes and its related symptoms. A study of 15 men revealed that taking a beverage with butterfly pea in it increased their antioxidant levels and at the same time reduced their blood sugar and insulin levels despite having sugar in the drink. Another animal study showed that administering butterfly pea flower to diabetic rats substantially reduced their blood sugar levels compared to those of the control group.

Supports hair and skin health

Based on a 2021 study, blue pea flower extracts may increase skin hydration by 70 percent in just an hour after it is externally applied. A 2012 study, on the other hand, established that the butterfly pea extract may be more effective compared to minoxidil in promoting hair growth. The blue pea is known to contain a wide array of antioxidants, which may help in ensuring hair and skin health.

Beneficial for eye health

The blue tea flower is loaded with antioxidants. One of these is proanthocyanidin, which is known for enhancing blood flow to the capillaries of the eyes. This is why blue pea is highly effective for treating glaucoma, retinal damage, and blurred vision.

The people of Bali used blue pea for treating eye ailments the natural way. The blue pea drink has become popular in Indonesia for the same reason as well. Blue pea may also be used to remedy stress, depression, and anxiety.

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