The health benefits of curry leaves also include weight loss; treat various gastrointestinal problems, control diarrhea, improve vision, and reduce stress. Curry leaves contain several antioxidant properties that help digestive problems and unhealthy cholesterol balance. They are also thought to have cancer-fighting properties.
What are Curry Leaves?
Curry leaves, or kadi patta, are the leaves of the curry tree, scientifically known as Murraya koenigii Spreng. It belongs to the Rutaceae family. The plant is native to India and is mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. It is grown in several other countries, including China, Australia, Nigeria, and Ceylon.
The height of the plant ranges from 6 to 15 feet tall. The useful parts of this plant are the leaves, roots and bark. The leaves have always been sought after for their unique taste and usefulness in cooking, but there are also a number of health benefits that make them very appealing. The leaves can be dried or baked, depending on the intended use. The fresh form is also very popular, both for cooking and for herbal remedies.
In Ayurvedic medicine, curry leaves are believed to have several medicinal properties: anti-diabetic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and hepato protective. The roots are used to treat body aches and the bark is used for snakebite relief.
Curry Leaves Nutrition Facts
The main nutrients in curry leaves are carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, copper and other minerals. They also contain various vitamins such as B3 (nicotinic acid), vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, antioxidants, plant sterols, amino acids, glycosides and flavonoids.
They also have a small, non-significant amount of fat (0.1 g per 100 g).
Another chemical component present in curry leaves is carbazole alkaloids. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that alkaloids in the leaves possess antioxidant properties.
Benefits of Curry Leaves
Most people think that curry leaves are only added for flavor and throw the leaves away while eating their soup or curry. However, they are much more important than many realise and offer a number of health benefits without side effects.
1. Relieve Diarrhea
Research has shown that the carbazole alkaloids in curry leaves have antidiarrheal properties. Laboratory rat experiments showed that carbazole extracts from curry significantly controlled castor oil-induced diarrhea. Consume them by grinding a bunch of curry leaves and eat the paste or juice from the leaves.
2. Treat indigestion
In Ayurveda it is thought that the use of curry leaves can be used as a remedy for gastrointestinal problems as they are considered to have mild laxative properties. You can make juice from a bunch of curry leaves, add lime juice and consume the mixture to relieve indigestion. A paste made from the leaves can also be added to buttermilk and taken on an empty stomach every morning to perform the same function.
3. Prevent morning sickness nausea
In many cultures, curry leaves are thought to help prevent nausea, vomiting and morning sickness. They also help relieve morning sickness and nausea to women in their first trimester of pregnancy.
4. Fighting Infection
Research on curry leaves has shown that they are effective in fighting bacterial and fungal infections due to the presence of carbazole alkaloids. This compound is known to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The plant’s leaf extracts are similar to popular regular antibiotics.
5. Anti-diabetic properties
Perhaps one of the greatest health benefits of curry leaves is its use in diabetes control.
Research cited in an International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found that the antihyperglycemic properties of the leaves were beneficial in controlling blood glucose levels in diabetic rats.
6. Good for eyesight
Curry leaves contain high amounts of vitamin A, which experts say is beneficial for eyesight. Vitamin A contains carotenoids that protect the cornea and the surface of the eye. Deficiency of vitamin A can cause night blindness, cloud formations in front of the eye and in some cases even loss of vision.
7. Fighting oxidative stress
Research study published in the journal Food Chemistry indicated that curry leaves are a good source of antioxidants. The presence of various vitamins such as vitamins A, B, C and E helps in reducing oxidative stress and free radical activity.
8. Heal wounds
Curry leaves are also helpful in skin care. The juice or paste of the leaves can be applied to burns, cuts, bruises, skin irritations and insect bites for a quick recovery and clean healing.
9. Fighting Cancer
The chemical constituents in curry leaves such as phenols are useful in fighting cancers such as leukemia, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. One research study showed evidence of colon cancer-fighting properties in the carbazole alkaloid extracts from curry leaves.
10. Lower cholesterol levels
These leaves have been shown to have positive effects on lowering LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Studies have shown they have the potential to lower LDL cholesterol, but further research is needed to confirm the results.
11. Hair care
Curry leaves are believed to help strengthen hair roots. Dry curry leaf powder mixed with oil can be applied to your hair. The curry leaves paste can also be applied in cases of gray hair to slow down the graying process. Doing this regularly can also improve hair growth.
12. Protect the liver
Your liver plays an important role in the digestive process. Curry leaves can help provide a boost of protection against any free radical attack, as well as against viral and bacterial attacks that can lead to infection. Research on curry leaves has shown that the tannins and carbazole alkaloids in the leaves showed good hepatoprotective properties.