10 Proven Health Benefits Of Curry Leaves

Health Benefits Of Curry Leaves

The benefits of curry leaves are mostly due to the carbazole alkaloids they carry. Eat curry leaves raw, add them to your meals, or drink an infusion to treat diabetes, dysentery, diarrhea, morning sickness, and nausea. Curry leaves also reduce your body’s fat content, helping you lose weight. Apply curry leaf paste to your skin and scalp to treat wounds, boils, and dandruff.

The curry leaf tree (Murraya koenigii) was originally grown in India for its aromatic leaves and for embellishing ornaments. It soon found its way to the Asian kitchen, the leaves or kadhi patta being added as a flavoring agent in most curries.

But there’s more to curry leaves than just a heady aroma and an appetite-tickling flavor. They are a rich source of vitamins A, B, C, and B2, calcium, and iron. Because of this, they have been used in folklore medicine to treat calcium deficiency, among several other conditions.

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Health Benefits Of Curry Leaves

Let’s take a look at some ways in which the popular leaf-spice can benefit our health:

1. Eliminates Bacteria And Cell-Damaging Free Radicals

Most illnesses are caused by infections or involve oxidative cell damage at some point or the other. In times of growing incidence of antibiotic-resistant strains, alternative remedies to infections are crucial. That’s where curry leaves show promise.

Curry leaves are loaded with carbazole alkaloids, compounds that have antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-cancer properties. The compound linolool, primarily responsible for the flowery scent of curry leaves, is also capable of killing bacteria and eliminating cell-damaging free radicals.

2. Heals Wounds, Skin Eruption, And Burns

A paste made from curry leaves can serve as a DIY medicine for wounds, rashes, and burns.

Trying to understand why curry leaves are touted for their wound healing properties in Asian folk medicine, a group of Malaysian researchers conducted a study on rats.

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They found that the topical application of mahanimbicine, a carbazole alkaloid extracted from curry leaves, accelerated healing in wounds that were not too deep. Not only did they seal the skin gap but also restored hair growth in the affected area.

Curry leaves have similar curative effects on boils, itchy or inflamed skin, and first-degree burns (mild burns).

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3. Encourages Weight Loss

Curry leaves help reduce total body fat, thus, helping you shed some pounds.

Curry leaves play the successful underdog when it comes to weight loss. A study in obese rats showed that the carbazole alkaloids in curry leaves, particularly mahanimbine, work against body weight gain and reduce total body cholesterol. This is good news for those trying to shave off a few layers of fat from their bodies.

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4. Keeps Diabetes In Check

By including curry leaves in your diet, you can protect and stimulate insulin-producing pancreatic cells. This will lower your blood sugar.

A study on diabetic mice showed that curry leaves can reduce blood glucose levels.

A similar study suggests curry leaves do so by protecting insulin-producing cells of the pancreas from free radical damage. The effects are comparable to a well-known sugar-lowering drug called glibenclamide.

Another study offers a different explanation saying that the sugar-lowering effects are possibly due to the minerals (like iron, zinc, and copper) in curry leaves that stimulate the pancreas.

Though the nutrients in curry leaves may account for only 1–2% of your recommended daily intake, researchers believe it is a good step in the treatment of diabetes.

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5. Treats Dysentery, Diarrhea, And Constipation

Curry leaves are good for the digestive system, which is why they help relieve digestive problems.

Curry leaves can be eaten raw as mild laxatives. By supporting bowel movement and stimulating digestive enzymes, they serve well in the treatment of digestive problems like dysentery and diarrhea.

In a study on rats suffering from constipation, curry leaf extracts were seen to relieve constipation while also easing abdominal pain.

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6. Stimulates Hair Growth, Prevents Premature Graying, And Cures Dandruff

Curry leaves can be ground into a hair mask for thicker, younger looking hair.

Curry leaves stimulate hair follicles, promoting the growth of healthy strands with normal amounts of hair pigment. They, thus, can be used in treating hair loss and premature graying.

Dandruff is commonly caused by a Malassezia furfur fungal scalp infection. This fungus causes hair loss and makes the scalp flaky. Curry leaf extracts have shown antifungal activity toward this fungus, which is why it can be used to treat dandruff.

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7. Relieves Stress

Tip: Purchase the curry leaf essential oil instead of attempting the elaborate home distillation process for making the oil.

This has to do with the calming effects of the fragrance from curry leaves. Studies in rats showed that the inhalation of linalool could help alleviate stress. Curry leaf essential oil, thus, may be a useful tool in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

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8. Sharpens Memory

By incorporating curry leaves in your diet, you may be able to sharpen your memory. A study in rats showed that dietary intake of curry leaves can significantly reduce amnesia or loss of memory.

The potential of curry leaves in the treatment of impaired memory disorders like Alzheimer’s is definitely one that needs to be explored.

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9. Relieves Morning Sickness And Nausea

Those in their first trimester of pregnancy and those suffering from general queasiness should definitely give curry leaves a try.

Curry leaves increase digestive secretions and thereby relieve nausea, vomiting, and morning sickness. The inherent flavor of curry leaves may contribute as well.

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10. Treats Orofacial Dyskinesia

Orofacial dyskinesia involves involuntary, repetitive movements of muscles in the mouth and face. Twitching below the eye and smacking of lips commonly associated with psychotic patients are examples of this condition.

In animal studies, curry leaves could protect nerve cells from damage by virtue of their rich reserves of antioxidants. Here again, curry leaves show promise.

Traditional Use Of Curry Leaves For Better Eyesight

The claim that curry leaves can improve eyesight and prevent the early onset of cataract is mostly based on traditional medicine. The reasoning is that curry leaves are rich in vitamin A that helps protect the eye cornea, the transparent layer covering the eye.

Traditional practices involve suffusing the eyes with the juice from fresh curry leaves. This should never be attempted without professional supervision.

Now knowing what a few naive leaves can offer, you will probably never look at curry leaves the same way again. For something that is so easy to add to your diet, you should definitely give it a try.