Curry leaf (Murraya koenigii) is a very commonly available garden plant. This plant is native to India and found almost everywhere in the Indian subcontinent, except the higher levels of Himalayas. It is known by many other names such as Meethi neem, Kadi patta etc. It grows well in pots. Its leaves are important flavouring ingredient used in Indian kitchen especially in South Indian cuisine.
The leaves are alkaline, bitter and pungent and has a distinct aroma. It is very good source of vitamin A, calcium and folic acid. When studied it is shown that curry leaves antioxidant activity and free radical scavenging activity is highest. A chutney (thuvayal) prepared from leaves is also eaten as side dish. This chutney has goodness of raw green curry leaves. The leaves are fried in ghee and then powdered which is added to many dishes to add flavour.
Curry leaf plant is used in traditional medicinal system for treatment of variety of diseases. Now many scientific studies done on this plant supports its therapeutic potential. The studies have confirmed its anti-diabetic, cholesterol reducing property, anti-diarrheal, antioxidant, antiulcer, antimicrobial, antibacterial and many more useful medicinal properties.
Due to anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-microbial, hepatoprotective, hypocholesterolemic properties curry leaves are used in many condition such as diabetes, boils, skin and healing wounds. It is also good for digestive system. Its daily use prevent premature greying of hair.
Scientific classification: Kingdom- Plantae Sub-kingdom- Tracheobionta Superdivision- Spermatophyta Division- Magnoliophyta Class- Magnoliospida Subclass- Rosidae Order- Sapindales Family- Rutaceae Genus- Murraya J.Koenig ex L. Species- Murraya Koenigii L. Spreng
English: Curry-Leaf tree, Curry leaves Hindi: Kadi patta, Kari patta Ayurvedic: Surabhini nimba Unani: Kari patta Siddha: Karuveppilei, Karivempu, Kattuveppilei
Sanskrit: Kalasakh, Kaidaryah Hindi: Mithi neem, Katneem Bengali: Barsunga Malayalam: Kariveppu, Karuveppu Tamil: Kariveppilai, Karuveppu Kannada: Kari Beva Telugu: Karivepaku Marathi: Kadhilimb Gujarathi: Mitho limado.
Distribution of Plant
Curry leaf plant is seen in the foot of the Himalaya and Bashahi eastwards to Sikkim and Peninsular India. It is also found in Sri Lanka, Burma, Indo-China, South China and Hainan.
Constituent of leaves
Phytoconstituents isolated from the leaves are alkaloids viz., mahanine, koenine, koenigine, koenidine, girinimbiol, girinimibine, koenimbine, O-methyl murrayamine A, O-methyl mahanine, isomahanine, bismahanine, bispyrayafoline.
Coumarin glycoside viz., scopotin, murrayanine, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, carotene and oxalic acid.
The essential oil from leaves yielded di-?-phellandrene, D-sabinene, D-?-pinene, dipentene, D-?-terpinol and caryophyllene.
Carbazole alkaloids a major phytochemical constituent of plant found to have various biological activities like anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, lipid lowering etc.
Action on body
Antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, larvicidal, anticarcinogenic, hypoglycemic, anti-lipid peroxidative, hypolipidemic and antihypertensive activity.
The leaves of Murraya Koenigii plant has antiemetic (preventing vomiting) astringent (contracts cells, tissues), carminative (prevent formation of gas), blood sugar lowering, blood purifier, immunostimulant, antipyretic and antiulcer action on body. These leaves are useful in diabetes, constipation, edema, piles, hypertension, and several other ailments. They are useful in vitiated conditions of kapha and pitta. Curry leaves improves digestion, vision, and hair growth. An oil prepared by boiling curry leaves is useful in in blackening the hair and to prevent hair fall.
In Southern India, medicated ghee prepared by boiling curry leaves and turmeric is given to children as immunomodulator (modifies the immune response or the functioning of the immune system, as by the stimulation of antibody formation or the inhibition of white blood cell activity). The oral intake of Curry leaves juice is useful in arresting vomiting. The leaves are good for digestive system and given for promoting digestion and appetite.
Curry leaf plant possess hypoglycaemic or blood sugar lowering effect and hence useful in management of diabetes. Curry leaf has protective effect on body and decreases oxidative stress and pancreatic ?-Cell damage. The possible mechanism by which the plant chemical constituent works is possibly by potentiating of insulin effect either by increasing the pancreatic secretion of insulin from beta cells of islets of langerhans or by increasing the peripheral glucose uptake.
In a lab study the leaf extract showed reduction in blood glucose level by 13.1, 16.3, and 21.4% and 3.2, 5.58, 8.21% respectively for mild and moderate diabetes induced by alloxan in rats on feeding with extract as diet, proving its potential as anti-hyperglycaemic activity.
The extract also possesses the property to decrease blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels in diabetic mice and reduces the body weight after its treatment. The oral administration of ethanolic extract of M. koenigii in Streptozotocin induced diabetic rats for a period of 30 days significantly decrease the levels of blood glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin, urea, uric acid and creatinine in diabetic treated group of animals.
Cholesterol lowering effect
The leaves of plant also exhibits cholesterol lowering effect. In lab study, a decrease in cholesterol level in dose dependent manner in aged mice observed. The dose of 500 mg/kg was found more efficient than the 300 mg/kg and was comparable with the standard cholesterol reducing agent Simvastatin.
How to use Curry Leaves to cure illness
Diabetes control by reducing blood sugar level:
Dry leaves and make powder and consume 3-4 gms daily in morning. It help to reduce blood sugar level.
Facemask of curry patta:
Make paste of fresh leaves and massage and use as face pack this removes pimples and gives glowing skin. Also paste of its fruits can be made and taken 1 spoon twice a day.
Boils: Make leaves paste and apply on boils.
Stomach pain cure:
Make decoction by boiling 2-3 gms leaves in 2 glass water when it reduces to half glass, sieve and drink. This relives gas and indigestion.
Wound and cuts treatment:
boil leaves in water and wash the area, it helps in quick healing.
Take fresh leaves grind and extract 3-4 spoon juice and add in one cup of water and drink.
Please note do not consume more than 15 gms of curry leaves at a time.