As a natural spice to make foods appetizing and healthy, there are also many valuable health benefits of curry leaves to reap. Not only that curry leaves smell good, but they also come with a variety of antioxidants. Thus, the health benefits of curry leaves include the ability to manage excessive acid secretion, diabetes, diarrhea, cholesterol imbalance, peptic ulcers, dysentery, and indigestion and other digestive problems. Rumor has it that curry leaves are also capable of protecting the liver and fighting cancer cells.
What Are Curry Leaves?
Curry tree is a member of the family of Rutaceae and goes by the scientific name Murraya koenigii Spreng. It is where curry leaves are plucked. Native to India, the curry tree commonly grows in subtropical and tropical regions. It is also a popular cultivation in Australia, Ceylon, China, and Nigeria. Its height varies reaching from medium to small. The bark, leaves, and root are the parts of the curry plant that is useful.
Curry leaves come very useful in cooking and have a distinct flavor. There are also various health benefits of curry leaves to get, thus making them the most coveted part of the curry plant. You can fry or dry curry leaves, depending on how you’re going to use it. Also, its fresh form is a common ingredient in herbal medicines and cooking. Ayurvedic medicine recommends it for its antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties. It is also hepato-protective, a medicinal property capable of preventing liver damage. The bark of the curry tree can relieve snake bites. Its roots also come handy as a treatment for body pains.
There are so many herbal properties that curry leaves offer. They make superb flavoring agents in many local cuisines throughout India and other Asian countries. Curry leaves look like Indian lilac or “neem” which means ‘sweet neem’ in most languages in India.
Curry Leaves Nutrition Facts
Calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, fiber, and magnesium are the major nutrients that curry leaves have. They also contain energy, carbohydrates, and several other minerals. Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin B are the essential vitamins found in them. Other nutrients present in curry leaves include plant sterols, glycosides, nicotinic acid, flavonoids, antioxidants, and amino acids. Not to mention, curry leaves also have 0.001 percent fat per 100 g, which is almost zero fat.
Alkaloids are one of the chemical components found in curry leaves. According to studies conducted by the Department of Home Economics at Kenmei Women’s Junior College in Hyogo, Japan, the alkaloids present in the curry leaves show antioxidant activities. Isomahanine, mahanineoenimbine, mahanimbine, O-methylmurrayamine A, and bismahanine are carbazole alkaloids. Other carbazole alkaloids also include murrayanol, bispyrayafoline, isomahanine, and O-methylmahanine. According to further research at the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University, carbazole alkaloids manifest mosquitocidal, antimicrobial and insecticidal activities.
Health Benefits Of Curry Leaves
The majority believed that curry leaves are only for making foods more flavorful. Thus, people discard the leaves to focus only on consuming their curry or soup. But, what people did not know is that curry leaves play a vital part to achieve good health. There are so many health benefits of curry leaves to savor. It is highly appealing as it comes with no adverse effects.
1. Promotes Skin Health
The skin also benefits from curry leaves. The paste or juice of the leaves makes an excellent topical treatment for skin irritations, insect bites, burns, bruises, and cuts for a fast, clean healing and recovery.
2. Defends Against Pathogen Attack
According to studies, one of the health benefits of curry leaves is their efficacy in combating fungal and bacterial infections. Thus, curry leaf extracts make a convenient alternative to some of the prominent antibiotic drugs.
3. Promotes Digestive Health
Ayurveda recommends using curry leaves for treating digestive problems. It is one of the most important health benefits of curry leaves for being slightly laxative. A bunch of curry leaves can be made into juice. Complement it with lime juice to come up with a mixture perfect as a remedy for indigestion. You can also try turning a bunch of curry leaves into a paste. Adding it to buttermilk and taking the mixture on an empty stomach every morning also works for curing indigestion.
4. Controls Diabetes
The ability to manage diabetes is perhaps one of the most praised health benefits of curry leaves. According to studies by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Madras, Chennai, curry leaves were able to help lab rats with diabetes control the level of their blood sugar thanks to the leaves’ anti-hyperglycemic properties.
5. Chemoprotective & Radioprotective
Another one of the important benefits of curry leaves is its radioprotective and chemoprotective effect. According to research, curry leaf extracts exhibited potential in relieving the effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. They also inhibit free radical activities in the body and protect bone marrow. Not to mention, curry leaves also help to protect against chromosomal damage.
6. Prevents Cancer
Curry leaves contain chemical components like phenols. Colorectal cancers, leukemia, and prostate cancer are some of the cancer types which phenols combat. According to studies at the Department of Medical Chemistry at the Mejio University, Japan concerning curry leaves, its extract containing carbazole alkaloids showed anti-cancer activities.
7. Promotes Hair Growth
Rumor has it that curry leaves help to strengthen hair roots. You can massage your hair with the oil mixed with the dried powdered form of curry leaves. In terms of gray hair, you can apply curry leaf paste. Regular application can also help to boost the growth of hair.
8. Improves Vision
Curry leaves can improve vision since they are rich in vitamin A. Carotenoids in Vitamin A helps in protecting the surface of the eye called cornea. Cloud formations in the external layer of the eye, vision loss, and night blindness are some of the symptoms of vitamin A deficiency.
9. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Another one of the health benefits of curry leaves to note is its ability to reduce the level of LDL aka “bad” cholesterol. According to research held at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Kerala, India, it possible to lower the levels of LDL cholesterol using curry leaves.
10. Treats Diarrhea
According to studies by Maithili, V. and Ashish Pagariya, the carbazole alkaloids found in curry leaves show anti-diarrheal activities. Based on experiments, lab rats suffering from diarrhea caused by castor oil exhibited relief after having curry leaf carbazole extracts. You can also make an edible paste, juice, or powder out of curry leaves.
11. Supplies Antioxidants
According to studies at Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Molecular Parasitology and Protein Engineering Laboratory in Bengaluru, India by Mylarappa B. Ningappa et al., curry leaves have impressive amounts of antioxidants. Vitamin E, vitamin B, vitamin A, vitamin C, and other vitamins found in curry leaves help in scavenging free radicals and reducing oxidative stress. Not to mention, there is also the dried powder form of curry leaves.
12. Promotes Liver Health
The liver has an important part to play in the digestive system. Thus, it needs protection against bacterial and viral infections caused by free radicals. According to studies, the carbazole alkaloids and tannins of curry leaves showed hepato-protective activities. They are also beneficial in fighting cirrhosis, hepatitis, and other diseases to protect the liver.
FAQs about Curry Leaves
Where to buy curry leaves?
Curry leaves are available in most major grocery store. It’s already popular in the eastern world and is slowly becoming more available in the west. There are various forms of curry leaves available in Target, Walmart, and other major chains. What’s more is that you can even domesticate your own curry tree at home. Ayurveda-oriented and smaller natural medicine stores also sell curry leaves. Again, there are so many ways to use curry leaves, so finding them should not be a hassle.
How to store curry leaves?
It is important to have curry leaves removed from the stems, rinse them and dry them by patting. They need to be placed on a large plate with mesh or sieve cover. Then, they need to have at least 2- to 3-days sun exposure. When the curry leaves are dry, store them in a plastic container. Also, you can have them stored in the refrigerator and just grab some whenever they’re needed!
How to use curry leaves for hair?
The amino acids and antioxidants found in curry leaves make it a very popular hair care agent. You can have a paste by smashing up yogurt mixed with a handful of curry leaves. Massage your hair using the paste and leave it in for at least 30 minutes. Then, wash the paste out and clean your hair as usual. This can prevent hairand rejuvenate hair follicles.
How to make curry leaves oil?
For a start, you can heat up a pan of coconut oil. Then, drop in the curry leaves and let the decoction simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. Then, allow the oil to cool down before straining it. Curry leaf oil can help slow down aging by massaging it into your scalp.
How to make curry leaves powder?
A pinch of salt, a pan, and curry leaves is all that’s required to come up with a curry leaf powder. Put dried leaves of curry in the pan and heat it until they start to turn to brown crisp/curl. You need to make sure not to burn them. Put the leaves in a blender or food processor and add salt gradually. The leaves will quickly turn to fine green powder which you can use as a spice added to dishes.
How to use curry leaves?
There are various ways you can make use of curry leaves. You can have it for its health benefits or in food preparations. You can make oil out of curry leaves and use it to prevent premature graying or increase hair growth. Also, you can make a powder out of curry leaves and sprinkle it in your food to reap its beneficial antioxidants. Not to mention, you also have fresh curry leaves pulverized, turned into a paste, and applied to your skin to fight infections.
How to grow curry leaves?
Curry trees are relatively easy to grow in home gardens for a hardy plant. It grows well in warm regions. Even the curry tree’s fallen leaves can grow as a whole plant. A lot of people opt for growing their own curry tree as this comes handy for seasoning needs. You can have an indoor cultivation of curry plants even though they are frost tender. Actually, indoor-grown curry plants are popular in cold regions. They can thrive from seeds and cuttings!