Curry leaves (known as kadi patta in Hindi) is a commonly used herb in Indian cuisine. A must for seasoning, curries, and chutneys, this spice not only imparts a unique flavor to food preparations but also provide loads of health benefits. Thanks to its slightly bitter taste, most of us do not like it when added to food and tend to either throw away or keep it aside as a waste. But maybe after reading this article which sheds a light on the surprising health benefits of curry leaves you may start eating these leaves more often than not. But before that, let’s quickly go through the nutritional profile of curry leaves.
What Are Curry Leaves?
Curry leaves, scientifically known as Murraya koenigii, are used for cooking and also as an active ingredient in many Ayurvedic and herbal remedies. The plant is native to India. The leaves are easily available in a local grocery store. You can even grow a curry leaf plant at home.
The health benefits of curry leaves are attributed to the presence of various nutrients like fiber, antioxidants and minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. It is also loaded with vitamins like vitamin B, vitamin C and folic acid. The leaves are known to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antidiabetic and hepatoprotective properties.
Health Benefits of Curry Leaves
Curry leaves are a storehouse of nutrients, which not only add flavour but also provide numerous health benefits. It prevents hair fall, greying of hair and treat skin problems such as acne and skin infections. The leaves help you to regulate blood sugar levels, control cholesterol and aid in digestion. Here are a few reasons why you must add curry leaves to your diet without fail.
1. Helps To Monitor Glucose Level
The presence of a special fiber in curry leaves play a key role to regulate glucose in the blood by slowing down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. These tiny green leaves also control the release of insulin in the body, thereby helping in maintaining the blood glucose levels within control. Hence, curry leaves act as a simple natural remedy for people with diabetes. The anti-diabetic effect of these leaves stays for quite some time after consumption.
Tip: To control your blood glucose levels with curry leaves, make sure you include these leaves in your food. Add a handful of curry leaves for seasoning or for garnishing. You can also eat around 4-5 curry leaves the first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach) to prevent and control diabetes.
2. Keeps The Heart Healthy
Curry leaves are packed with antioxidants, which prevent oxidation of the fats and lower the level of LDL (Low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol). LDL is produced due to the oxidation of fats in the body. Moreover, it also increases the amount of good cholesterol. As cholesterol is the major culprit for blocking the arteries and increasing the risk of heart problems, low levels of cholesterol in the body prevents you from atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease and other heart complications.
Tip: To keep your cholesterol levels in control and heart healthy, make sure to add curry leaves to each meal. You can also make curry leaves chutney at home. For this, take ½ cup of curry leaves and equal quantities of fresh coriander leaves. Add 2 cloves of garlic, a small piece of ginger, 1 green chilli and 2 teaspoon of lemon juice and salt to taste. Grind to make a fine paste and use it as a spread over sandwiches or enjoy it with hot rice and ghee.
3. Improves The Gut Health
Be it indigestion, diarrhea or acidity, stomach woes are quite common. Popping an antacid every time you feel discomfort in the stomach is not a good idea so include curry leaves in diet to deal with it naturally. It contains carbazole, an alkaloid, which exerts antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that lower the risk of bacterial infection and inflammation in the body and relieve the symptoms of diarrhea and indigestion. Overall, curry leaves act as a great natural remedy for stomach upset and aid in digestion.
Tip: You can add few fresh curry leaves along with curd, salt and water to make buttermilk. Alternately, you can make a small ball with crushed curry leaves (in a mortar and pestle along with a pinch of salt). Eat this along with a glass of buttermilk to aid digestion. Do this twice a day to get rid of indigestion and diarrhea quickly.
4. Relieves Blocked Nose
Suffering from a blocked nose or feel congestion in the chest due to cold? If yes, then try this simple home remedy of curry leaves. It acts as an effective home remedy to relieve congestion in the chest and nose. The presence of antioxidants helps clear the toxins from the nasal passage. It also contains a compound known as kaempferol that acts as a decongestant (which loosens up and releases mucus), thus relieving blocked nose and chest congestion.
Tip: To reap the health benefits of curry leaves to get rid of nasal congestion, here is a simple tip that can help. You can either make a thick paste from fresh curry leaves or use half a teaspoon of dry curry leaves powder. To this, add a spoonful of honey and consume it twice a day to relieve a blocked nose and chest congestion.
5. Prevents Hair Fall And Greying Of Hair
The presence of various nutrients in curry leaves make it an effective home remedy for grey (white) hair. It helps in the treatment of damaged hair and dandruff. It also strengthens the shaft of the thin hair and thus, adds bounce to limp hair and prevents hair fall. The leaves are also added as an active ingredients for hair blackening. The best part about curry leaves is that you can either eat it (include it in diet) or apply it on the scalp and hair length to reap its hair care benefits.
Tip: The best way to use curry leaves for hair loss is to apply it on the scalp. Here is a simple home remedy to help you. Add a tablespoon of freshly prepared curry leaves juice to 100 ml of coconut oil and heat it on slow flame. Heat it till the oil turns slightly black and starts to boil. Remove from flame and keep it aside to cool down. Apply this oil (lukewarm) to your scalp twice a week and wash your hair with herbal shampoo. Do this regularly to get rid of hair loss and grey hair as it acts as an excellent hair tonic.
6. Helps You To Treat Acne And Blemishes
Curry leaves are also commonly used to get rid of acne and blemishes, thanks to the potent antioxidant properties. These leaves remove all the dirt and impurities present on the skin and also clear the skin. When applied on the skin, it can also prevent pimples and also help the skin to glow naturally. It is mostly used in the form of face packs to get clear skin free from acne and blemishes.
Tip: The best home remedy with curry leaves for skin problems is to use it as a face pack. For this, add a handful of curry leaves, a pinch of turmeric powder, a teaspoon or two of lemon juice and a little water. Grind these ingredients together to get a thick paste. Apply this mixture on pimples and blemishes and also on the neck. Let it remain for 10 -1 5 minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Repeat it twice a week for effective results. You can even use curry leaves powder. Add lemon juice and rose water to curry leaves powder to make a thin paste. Apply on the face and neck, leave for 30 minutes and wash with cold water. Try this pack every alternate day for glowing skin.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician and Dr. Deepak Soni, Ayurvedacharya)
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