Curry leaves are natural flavouring agents with a number of important health benefits, which make your food both healthy and tasty along with giving it a pleasant aroma. They contain various antioxidant properties and have the ability to control diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, excessive acid secretion, peptic ulcers, dysentery, diabetes, and an unhealthy cholesterol balance. They are also believed to have cancer-fighting properties and are known to protect the liver.
Most people think that curry leaves just add flavour to the food and they throw the leaves away while eating their soup or curry. However, they are far more important than many people realize, and they offer a number of health benefits without any side effects.
Research conducted by Ashish Pagariya and Maithili, V. concluded that the carbazole alkaloids present in curry leaves have anti-diarrheal properties. Experiments on lab rats showed that carbazole extracts from curry leaves had significantly controlled castor oil-induced diarrhea. A bunch of curry leaves can be ground up and the paste can be eaten or the juice of the leaves can be consumed.
Use of curry leaves is recommended as a cure for gastrointestinal issues in Ayurveda. One important use is due to the fact that they are considered to possess mild laxative properties. You can make juice out of a bunch of curry leaves and add lime juice, and consume the mixture to cure indigestion. A paste made from the leaves can also be added to buttermilk and taken every morning on an empty stomach to serve the same function.
Research studies conducted by Mylarappa B. Ningappa et al. at Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Molecular Parasitology and Protein Engineering Laboratory in Bengaluru, India have indicated that curry leaves are a good source of antioxidants. The presence of various vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin E help in reducing oxidative stress and free radical scavenging activity. They are also available in dried powder form.
Perhaps one of the biggest health benefits of curry leaves is its use in diabetes control. Research conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Madras, Chennai showed that the anti-hyperglycemic properties of the leaves were beneficial in controlling blood glucose level in diabetic rats.
The chemical constituents found in curry leaves such as phenols are helpful in fighting cancers such as leukemia, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancers. Research on these leaves at the Department of Medical Chemistry at the Mejio University, Japan showed evidence of cancer-fighting properties in the carbazole alkaloids extracts from curry leaves.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
Curry leaves are also known to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Studies conducted at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Kerala, India have shown that they have the potential to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
Curry leaves are believed to help in strengthening hair roots. Dry curry leaf powder mixed with oil can be applied to your hair. The paste from curry leaves can also be applied in cases of gray hair. Doing these on a regular basis can improve hair growth as well.
Good for Eyesight
Curry leaves contain high amounts of vitamin A and therefore is good for eyesight. Vitamin A contains carotenoids which protect the cornea, the eye surface. Deficiency of vitamin A may cause night blindness, cloud formations in front of the eye and even loss of vision in some cases.
Radioprotective and Chemo-protective
Studies on the extracts of curry leaves have shown positive results in reducing the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. They also offer protection against chromosomal damage, protection of bone marrow, and prevention of free radicals becoming active in the body.
Protect Against Pathogen Attack
Research on curry leaves has revealed that they are also effective in fighting bacterial and fungal infections. The leaf extracts from the plant have been comparable to popular mainstream antibiotic drugs.
Protect the Liver
Your liver plays a major role in the digestive process and it needs to be protected from any attack by free radicals, as well as from viral and bacterial attacks that can result in infection. Research on curry leaves has indicated that the tannins and carbazole alkaloids present in the leaves exhibited good hepato-protective properties. They are also helpful in protecting the liver from various diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Curry leaves are also helpful in skin care. The juice or paste of the leaves can be applied to burns, cuts, bruises, skin irritations, and insect bites for a quick recovery and clean healing.