The beauty that lies with the flowers of this plant hides some secrets that only some cultures know about. We pull the curtain back to reveal what those secrets are.
What Is Bougainvillea?
Bougainvillea is a flowering, thorny, viney shrub native to parts of the world where the climate is warm and tropical. It is native to South America and introduced to other continents that include Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, and Oceania.
In 1786, Louis Antoine de Bougainvillea of France discovered a beautiful flowering species of flora in Brazil. This plant was officially recorded as “Bougainvillea” in honor of him.
There are two species of Bougainvillea:
- Wild Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis)
- Paperflower (Bougainvillea glabra)
The Bougainvillea glabra account for the numerous cultivars (varieties) that feature different colors and characteristics. The blooms of Bougainvillea not only look pretty, but they also play a role in traditional medicine.
What Are Bougainvillea Flowers Used For?
The Latin American culture in Bougainvillea’s native countries uses the flowers of this plant to treat certain ailments and conditions traditionally. The feature of the plant is its paper-thin flowers (hence the name “Paperflower”), and if you are wondering can Bougainvillea be used for tea, it can. Tea made from the flowers is a common traditional medicine go-to tisane (herbal tea.)
Bougainvillea’s medicinal uses include a tea or tincture, typically made from the flowers but can also include the leaves and/or stems. Within Latin American tribal communities, Bougainvillea is used for birth control. A research study entitled “Antifertility Effect of Bougainvillea spectabilis or Paper Flower” indicates that various tribes in different countries utilized this natural form of birth control.
So, if tea can be made from this plant, are Bougainvillea flowers edible? These flowers are used in the culinary industry as a garnish. As for edibility, these flowers are a delicacy in parts of Asia. A pink tempura batter coats the delicate flowers, which are deep-fried for a crunchy, highly beneficial treat!
What Does Bougainvillea Tea Taste Like?
The best way to describe how this tea tastes is it’s very subtle, with a delicate floral nuance to it. The deep red soup is very inviting and would be lovely in a glass as an iced version. To make Bougainvillea tea more palatable, many tisane (herbal tea) drinkers add a tad bit of honey or beet sugar to it. Too much and the sweetness overpowers the delicacy of the tea. Just the right amount, and you have yourself a perfect cup of herbal tea.
Bougainvilleas grow as vines reaching up to 39 feet tall. Many bonsai gardeners grow Bougainvillea bonsai because of the beauty of its blooms.
Is Bougainvillea Tea Safe To Drink?
We don’t have the professional expertise to recommend any tisane or provide advice. We provide you with evidence-backed information to help guide you in making an informed decision on consuming herbal tea.
If you are taking medications, have any medical conditions, or are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider before consuming any tea (especially tisanes – herbal tea.)
Constituents in tea and herbs can worsen existing medical conditions, interact with medication (including chemotherapy and radiation treatment) or cause adverse reactions. Consuming Bougainvillea tea while pregnant or nursing should also be discussed with a physician before drinking.
Bougainvillea Tea Side Effects
Bougainvillea thorns are considered a Class 4 toxin by the University of California. Dermatitis can be a result of coming into contact or being injured by the thorns. These thorns contain sap that can cause serious (and potentially painful) rashes.
What Is Bougainvillea Tea Good For?
“Bougainvillea tea” rolls off the tongue with a somewhat French aristocratic aire making one quietly desire it although they don’t know what exactly it is. This tea is similar to Butterfly Pea Flower tea which is vibrantly colored.
Having a glass of iced Bougainvillea tea at any entertaining event in the spring or summer will definitely impress! Aside from the beauty that this tea provides in color, it more than makes up for it in benefits.
Bougainvillea Tea Benefits
Wild Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis) was part of a study conducted by Pharmacognosy Journal. The study reports that a tea made from this species of Bougainvillea (used in traditional medicine) had many benefits such as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, antidiabetic, antifertility, antiulcer, and antiviral.
The European Journal of Molecular and Clinical Medicine published a study on the ethno pharmaceutical use of Bougainvillea glabra. The study highlights Bougainvillea tea (and tincture) for cough as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and a host of other conditions. Pinitol (which is a constituent in Bougainvillea tea) is recorded as an active ingredient that acts as an expectorant.
Likewise, another independent study reflected the same evidence of its use in Mexico for cough and whooping cough. Wild Bougainvillea was shown to be a valuable treatment for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s.
How Do You Make Bougainvillea Tea?
To make this tea, you will need a source of fresh Bougainvillea flowers either from your own plant or one that you know is free from pesticides and insecticides.
Gather 2-3 flowers (be sure any insects inside are shaken off.) Pluck the petals off and discard the stamen. Gently wash the petals to remove dust. Place 2 cups of water in a pan and heat to about 185 degrees. Pour the hot water into a teapot and add the petals. Steep the tea for about 5 minutes. Pour the tea into a teacup and add ½ teaspoon of honey. Now you are ready to enjoy this lovely tea!
There’s Nothing “Boujee” About Bougainvillea Tea
Learning about new tisanes and what they are used for makes life all the more enriching. You may find that a simple cup of a rather everyday tea made from flower petals sparks an interest in the world of different teas. While sipping on tea, the hustle and bustle of life is put on pause for a few moments.
After all…” It’s Never Not Teatime.”
Itsnevernotteatime.com cannot and does not contain medical/health advice. The medical/health information is provided for general and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.
Statements made on this website regarding the herbal and natural products offered on this website have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration as the FDA does not evaluate or test herbs. This information has not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration, nor has it gone through the rigorous double-blind studies required before a particular product can be deemed truly beneficial or potentially dangerous and prescribed in the treatment of any condition or disease.
It is not meant to substitute for medical advice or diagnosis provided by your physician or other medical professionals. Do not use this information to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or health condition.
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