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Curry leaves, commonly known as “Kadi patta” in India are a native to the country. This spice is a must in every Indian household.
The bright leaves are fiery green with unique flavor and a pleasant aroma. It has tropical and sub-tropical origin. It is cultivated in various other countries like China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Nigeria and Ceylon.
It is used in various local cuisines of south Asia. Its aromatic leaves are mostly used to garnish or to add flavor to the dishes. It is often used in soups and curries. Curry leaves are the signature spice in south India. It is used in dishes like rasam, sambhar, upma, curries. Across India, it is widely used in dals to make “tadka” i.e. to add flavor and aroma to the dish.
Its use is popular in herbal medicines as well. In Ayurveda medicine, the roots of curry plant is used for treating body aches and the bark is used for snake bite relief.
The main Nutrients found in curry leaves are carbohydrates, energy, fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, and minerals. They are rich in Vitamin A, B, C and B2. Curry leaves are also said to be good source of iron and calcium. They also contain vitamins like nicotinic acid, antioxidants, amino acids and flavonoids.
The nutritional values of curry leaves per 100 grams are:
A distinct constituent of curry leaves is carbazole alkaloids. Many studies have observed that these alkaloids have anti-oxidant properties. They help to prevent oxidative stress in your body. They contain anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties as well.
An interesting Fact :
Curry leaves have non-significant amount of Fat. (0.1 g per 100 g)
Curry leaves, one of the commonly used spices in India is known for its medicinal properties too. It has anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and hepatoprotective properties. Curry leaves are used in Ayurvedic medicine and in home-made remedies.Below is the list of health benefits that curry leaves has to offer. Also note that these benefits are stated keeping in mind the most fresh, organic curry leaves.
1. Protects your liver
Research on curry leaves have shown that it exhibits hepatoprotective properties .i.e. ability to prevent liver damage. Curry leaves contain antioxidants like kaempferol, that helps to protect the liver from oxidative stress and harmful toxins. It also helps to protect the liver from any attacks by free radicals as well as viral or bacterial attacks that can lead to infection. Curry leaves helps to quell the liver damage from heavy consumption of alcohol.
2. Helps in controlling diabetes
One of the most significant benefits of curry leaves is that it helps to control diabetes. Curry leaves contains minerals like copper, iron and zinc, which makes it beneficial in controlling blood glucose level. A study published in the Journal of Plant food for Nutrition has revealed that curry leaves can lower blood sugar levels by affecting the insulin activity. It helps in stimulating the insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Since diabetes can be largely controlled by what food you intake, diabetes patients should definitely add curry leaves in their regular diet.
3. Treats Indigestion
In Ayurveda, it is said that curry leaves have mild laxative properties. It can balance the pitta levels in your body. Pitta imbalance leads to inflammation. Curry leaves have carminative nature, which means that they can be used to cure gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, constipation etc, to alleviate indigestion, you can use some curry leaves and lime juice, and consume the mixture. You can also make a paste of curry leaves and consume them with some buttermilk. Just remember, it needs to be taken on an empty stomach.
4. Relives stress
Stress can lead to major health issues, both mental and physical. Curry leaves help you in controlling stress as well.
Studies show that inhaling linalool (often found in flowers and spice plants) in curry leaves reduces anxiety, stress and helps with depression. Essential oil of curry leaves is generally used to relieve the symptoms of stress. Just apply 2 to 3 drops of the oil on your pillow before you sleep. The scent of curry leaves calms your mind and body.
An interesting Fact :
Essential oils of curry plant are used in the industry of perfumes.
5. Heals wounds, burns , skin infections
Curry leaves are also helpful in skincare. Its paste or juice is often applied to burns, cuts, bruises, skin irritations, irruptions and insect bites. It helps to clean the wounds and with fast recovery. Carbazole alkaloid, an anti-oxidant found in curry leaves helps to speed up the process of healing. The alkaloids help in sealing the gap of the wounds and restore hair growth in the affected area. Curry leaves have a similar curative effect on inflamed skin, boils and first-degree burns.
6. Good for eyesight
Curry leaves contain high amounts of vitamin A, which is beneficial for the eyesight. Vitamin A contains carotenoids (organic compound) which protects the cornea and the eye surface. Deficiency of vitamin A leads to night blindness or even loss of vision in some extreme cases. Traditionally, people used to directly put juice of curry leaves on the eyes. This may not be a best idea without proper supervision. We recommend use of curry leaves in the diet. Regular consumption of it may help to prevent early onset of cataract.
7. Treats Diarrhea and constipation
Curry leaves are also used for treating an upset stomach. They are good for the digestive system. They support the bowel movement and even stimulate digestive enzymes. The carbazole alkaloids present in curry leaves have anti-diarrheal properties.
Curry leaves make a good example of naturally treating diarrhea and constipation.
You can eat them raw or you can grind them to make a paste. In whichever way, eat them on empty stomach.
8. Helps to prevent morning sickness/nausea
In many cultures curry leaves is thought to be helpful for dealing with vomiting, nausea and morning sickness.
Women in their first trimester of pregnancy who suffer from morning sickness and vomiting can use curry leaves in home-made remedies. You can boil them, strain the leaves and consume the water to mitigate the urge to vomit. You can also make fresh curry juice. Add lime juice or pinch of jaggery for flavor. Curry leaves helps in getting relief from general queasiness.
The gist of it:
The soothing aroma, rich flavor and health benefits of curry leaves sums up for the reason to add them in your balanced diet. They are rich source of vitamins and minerals. They are good for the patients of diabetes and heart diseases and overall great for body development and health. Make sure you opt for chemical free, organic curry leaves to avail optimum benefits.