Curry Leaf – Benefits of Curry Leaves and Home Remedies

“Miraculous curry leaves and its health benefits with old time Indian tradition of using it for home remedies widely used since Ayurveda times..”

Brief History

As varied as Indian cuisine is, the curry leaf is as indispensable ingredient whether it is in the dals of the North or in the sambars of the South.

The curry leaf is native to the Indian subcontinent. Earliest mention of it is Tamil writings dating back to the 1st century AD. Used extensively in the cuisine of this region, it is no wonder that the Hindi word for curry leaf  (Kari patta) is derived from the Tamil word ‘Kari’ or ‘a spicy sauce’. The botanical name Murraya Koenigii is derived from two 18th century botanists: the Swede Johann Andreas Murray and the German Johann Gerhad Konig.

The curry leaf is small and narrow and resembles neem. Therefore, curry leaves are also reffered to as ‘kari bevu’ in Kannada and ‘karivepaku’ in Telugu, both meaning black neem. In Tamil and Malayalam, it is known as ‘karuveppilai’ ‘ilai’ means leaves and ‘veppilai’ means neem leaf; and meetha neem in Hindi.

Curry leaves are believed to help hair growth. So next time, don’t pick them out of the gravy, eat them. They are yummy!.

Health Benefits

100 gm of fresh curry leaves contains around 110 calories. Clearly, no one eats the leaves for their calorific value. However, curry leaves are among the richest sources of micro nutrients, antioxidants and carotene with lots of health benefits. In fact, their carotene content is so high, that one of the state governments in southern India ordered the inclusion of curry leaf powder in the midday meal provided to children in anganwadis seeing the special benefits on health of children and adults.

Curry leaf is used in ayurveda as a digestive. It increases the appetite of convalescents. Mixed juice it is a folk remedy for morning sickness, keeping health fit.

Curry powder is actually a mixture of different spice powders, and has very little to do with the curry leaf. To add to the confusion, the curry tree is not the same as the curry plant. The latter is a European herb (helichrysum angustifolium) which is grown for its essential oil as beneficial ingredient used in fruit flavours for candies, ice cream, chewing gum and perfumes.

Curry leaves lose much of their fragrance within days  and should be used fresh otherwise the health benefiting factors are reduced. Pick shiny leaves that show no signs of yellowing or writing. A good idea is to keep a small plant in your home and pluck as you need. If you must store them, wrap the leaves in paper towels, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Use within two weeks.

Quick Home Remedies

  • Mix equal quantities of dried curry leaves, lime peel, shikakai, fenugreek seeds and green gram. Grind finely. Store and use as a substitute for soap or shampoo.
  • Apply curry leaves as poultices on burns.
  • To control blood pressure, drink a glass of the juice of curry leaves thrice a day on an empty stomach (after a month, just once a day). To obtain the juice, fill mixer with washed curry leaves, add 3/4 glass water. Churn well and sieve. To this liquid, add the juice of a lemon and drink fresh.
  • Against diarrhea, drink the juice of 15 to 20 tender curry leaves mixed with one teaspoon honey.
  • It is said that those who are hereditary prone to diabetes should eat 10 fresh fully grown curry leaves every morning for three months as a preventive measure.
  • Curry leaves are quite popular in Sri Lankan cuisine as well. You’ll find them adding flavour to coconut-based chicken and beef curries.

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