Curry leaves are perhaps one of the highly popular herbs used in India since times immemorial. As the name suggests curry leaves are herbs which are added to curries, stews, soups, legumes, and many such preparations. Curry leaves are an integral part of Indian cooking style where many of the traditional and contemporary recipes are incomplete without curry leaves. Curry leaves are added not just for the flavour that they add, but they also stand to provide many benefits from health point of view.
Quick facts about Curry leaves or Murraya Koenigii
- Sanskrit name: Girinimba, Krishnanimba
- Common name: Curry leaf, kadi patta
- English name: Curry leaves
- Scientific name: Murraya Koenigii
- Rasa: Katu, Tikta, Madhura
- Guna: Guru, Rooksha
- Vipaka: Katu
- Virya: Ushna
- Dosha: Decreases Kapha and Vata and increases Pitta
Curry plant is a native of India and Sri Lanka. It is cultivated in almost all regions in India, as most households use curry leaves on a regular basis. It is a medium sized plant which grows up to a height of about 3 m. The leaves are distributed in 20-30 leaflets. The leaves are slightly bitter and very aromatic.
The nutrients found in curry leaves, per 100 g, include 60 g of moisture, 6 g of protein, 1 g of fat, 16 g of carbohydrate, 6 g of dietary fiber, and 4 g of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, nicotinic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C.
The biochemicals found in Curry leaves include caryophyllene, cadinene, cadinol, Sabinene, pinene, phellandrene, terpinene, lauric acid, palmitic acid, carbazole alkaloids, bornyl acetate, humulene, ocimene and bisabolene, etc.
- Diarrhoea: The carbazole alkaloids present in curry leaves play an important role in controlling diarrhoea. For this purpose, curry leaves can be taken either as juice or as a freshly ground paste.
- Protects gastrointestinal tract: The presence of antioxidants, vitamins and alkaloids in curry leaves helps in promoting health of digestive system.
- Controls diabetes: The number of people suffering from diabetes has increased in India in the recent years. Diabetes is not just a standalone disease and it affects many organs. So, there is a need to control diabetes. Studies on curry leaves have shown that they can help in controlling the blood glucose levels.
- Cholesterol control: The antioxidants present in curry leaves help in controlling the LDL or bad cholesterol and aid in increasing the HDL or good cholesterol levels.
- Better eyesight: Curry leaves are a good source of vitamin A and it is one of the most important components for maintaining good eyesight. Taking fresh curry leaves on a daily basis promotes good eyesight.
- Reduces chemo and radio side effects: The incidence of number of cancer patients has increased in India in the recent times. Though, there are effective treatments available to reduce cancer, the side effects of the treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also be troublesome. Research on the extracts of curry leaves has shown a reduction in the side effects of both chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Protection of liver: The process of metabolism releases several free radicals which can damage the organs, and liver is one of the very susceptible organs. Taking curry leaves on a regular basis can nullify the effects of free radicals.
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- Bakhru, 2012, Herbs That Heal, pp 76, Orient Paperbacks, New Delhi, India.
- Parthasarathy, Chempakam, Zachariah, 2008, Chemistry of Spices, CAB International, UK, USA.
- Health Benefits of Curry Leaves, Organic Facts, Retrieved from http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-curry-leaves.html