Curry leaves grow on the curry tree, scientifically known as Murraya koenigii Spreng which hails from the Rutaceae family. The plant is native to India and usually grows in tropical and subtropical regions. The parts of curry tree that can be safely used are its leaves, roots, and bark. Curry tree is known for its distinct yet pleasant aroma.
The leaves have always been popular in culinary practices for their unique flavor, but they have multiple health benefits too. In Ayurvedic medicine, curry leaves used for its varied medicinal properties. The roots are used to relieve body aches and the bark is used to provide relief from snake bites.
The main nutritional components of curry leaves are carbohydrates, energy, iron, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper. It also contains various vitamins like nicotinic acid and vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, amino acids, glycosides, antioxidants, plant sterols, and flavonoids.
Lets take a look at some of the ways curry leaves help boost your health.
Research shows curry leaves have carbazole alkaloids which exhibit anti-diarrheal properties. For getting relief in diarrhoea, crush some fresh curry leaves. This paste can be consumed directly or with honey to reduce the bitterness.
Curry leaves are a good source of antioxidants. The presence of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin E helps in reducing oxidative stress by fighting the free radicals. The leaves are also available in dried powder form to add to your recipes.
Perhaps one of the most sought after health benefits is diabetes control. Research shows that the leaves may be beneficial in maintaining normal blood glucose level in diabetics.
Phenols found in curry leaves are helpful in fighting leukemia, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancers. Studies on these leaves at the Department of Medical Chemistry at the Mejio University, Japan showed presence of cancer-fighting properties in the carbazole alkaloids extracts from curry leaves.
Curry leaves are also known to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the body. Studies conducted at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Kerala, India have given evidence to support this claim.
Curry leaves are believed to help in strengthening hair from the roots. Dry curry leaf powder can be mixed with oil and massaged into your hair. This unique formulation can prevent graying of hair. Doing these on a regular basis can improve hair growth as well.
Curry leaves contain high amounts of vitamin A which is good for eyesight. Vitamin A contains carotenoids which protect the cornea, the eye surface. Deficiency of vitamin A may cause night blindness, cloud formations in front of the eye and even loss of vision in some cases.
Studies on the extracts of curry leaves show that it reduces the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. They also offer protection against chromosomal damage, protection of bone marrow, and prevention of free radicals becoming active in the body.
Research on curry leaves has shown their effectiveness in fighting bacterial and fungal infections. The leaf extracts from the plant have been similar to popular pharmaceutical antibiotic drugs.
Your liver plays a major role in the digestive process and it needs to be protected from any attack by free radicals, as well as from viral and bacterial attacks that can result in infection. Curry leaves are helpful in protecting the liver from various diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Curry leaves can be a great addition to your skin care regime. The juice or paste of the leaves can be applied to burns, cuts, bruises, skin irritations, and insect bites for a scar free healing.