Dec 16, 2008

Uses of Curry leaves




The Curry Tree or Kadipatta or Sweet Neem leaf (Murraya koenigii ) is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India.

It is a small tree, growing 4-6 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm broad. The flowers are small white, and fragrant. The small black, shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous.

Its leaves are highly aromatic and are used as a herb. Their form is small and narrow and they somewhat resemble the leaves of the Neem tree; In Tamil and Malayalam it is known as Karuveppilai, ilai meaning leaves and veppilai meaning Neem leaf. Other names include Kari Patta (Hindi), noroxingha (Assamese), Bhursunga Patra (Oriya), Kadhi Patta (Marathi), Mithho Limdo (Gujarati) and Karapincha (Sinhalese). Kariveppilai podi is very popular in Tamil Nadu.

They are commonly used as seasoning in Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, much like bay leaves and especially in curries with fish or coconut milk. In their fresh form, they have a short shelf life though they may be stored in a freezer for quite some time,though they lose much of flavour. They are also available dried, though the aroma is inferior.

Curry leaves are an essential ingredient in South Indian dishes.

Curry leaf is used in South Asian traditional medicine to treat the digestive system, skin conditions and diabetes. Its anti-diabetic properties are supported by scientific research.

Curry leaves possess the qualities of a herbal tonic. They strengthen the functions of stomach and promote its action. They are also used as a mild laxative. The leaves may be taken mixed with other mild tasting herbs. The juice extracted from 15 grams of leaves may be taken with buttermilk.

Digestive Disorders

Fresh juice of curry leaves, with lime juice and sugar, is an effective medicine in the treatment of morning sickness, nausea and vomiting due to indigestion and excessive use of fats. One or two teaspoons of juice of these leaves mixed with a teaspoon of lime juice may be taken in these conditions. The curry leaves, ground to a fine paste and mixed with buttermilk, can also be taken on an empty stomach with beneficial results in case of stomach upsets.

Tender curry leaves are useful in diarrhoea, dysentery and piles. They should be taken, mixed with honey. The bark of the tree is also useful in bilious vomiting. A teaspoon of the powder or the decoction of the dry bark should be given with cold water in this condition.

Diabetes

Eating 10 fresh fully grown curry leaves every morning for three months is said to prevent diabetes due to heredity factors. It also cures diabetes due to obesity, as the leaves have weight reducing properties. As the weight drops, the diabetic patients stop passing sugar in urine.
Kidney Disorders

The root of the curry plant also has medicinal properties. The juice of the root can be taken to relieve pain associated with the kidneys.

The leaves can be used in the form of chutney or the juice may be squeezed and taken inbuttermilk or lassi.

Bums and Bruises

Curry leaves can be effectively used to treat burns, bruises and skin eruptions. They should be applied as a poultice over the affected areas.

Insect Bites

Fruits of the tree, which are berries, are edible. They are green when raw, but purple when ripe. Juice of these berries mixed with equal proportion of lime-juice, is an effective fluid for external application in insect stings and bites of poisonous creatures.


Hair Tonic:
When the leaves are boiled in coconut oil Ii they are reduced to a blackened residue, the oil forms excellent hair tonic to stimulate hair growth and in retaining the natural pigmentation.

Curry leaves have been used for centuries in South India and natural flavouring agent in sambar, rasam curries and non vegetarian dishes . Chutney can be made by mixing the leaves with coriander leaves, coconut scrapings and tomatoes. Curry leaves are main ingredients in seasoning.

The leaves, bark and the root of the curry plant are use in indigenous medicine as a tonic, stimulant and antiflatulent.

1 comment:

Celeste Allyn said...

I found this post to be very informative, thank-you.
I am a great believer in natural remedies.