Family FabaceaeIn traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used for centuries as a memory enhancer, nootropic, antistress, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, tranquilizing and sedative agent. In Southeast Asia the flowers are used to colour food. In Malay cooking, an aqueous extract is used to colour glutinous rice for kuih ketan (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 (น้ำดอกอัญชัน), it is commonly consumed with a drop of lime juice to increase acidity and turn the juice in to pink-purple. 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 constituents include tannins, resins, starch, taraxerol and taraxerone.
Recently, several biologically active peptides called cliotides have been isolated from the heat-stable fraction of Clitoria ternatea extract. Cliotides belong to the cyclotides family and activities studies show that cliotides display potent antimicrobial activity against E. coli, K. pneumonia, P. aeruginosa and cytotoxicity against Hela cells. These peptides have potential to be lead compound for the development of novel antimicrobial and anti-cancer agents