Curry leaves are natural flavouring agents with a number of important health benefits, which makes your food both healthy and tasty along with pleasing 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 help protect the liver.
The main nutrients found in curry leaves are carbohydrates, energy, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, copper and minerals. It also contains various vitamins like nicotinic acid and vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, antioxidants, plant sterols, amino acids, glycosides and flavonoids. Also, nearly zero fat (0.1 g per 100 g) is found in curry leaves.
Curry leaves, known as Karuveppillai in Tamil, is one of the common seasoning ingredients that is added to almost every dish to enhance its taste and flavour. However, rather than eating this humble leaf (which is slightly bitter in taste), most of you just throw it away. But have you ever wondered if you have to throw this leaf then why did our mothers (even our ancestors) used to add this leaf to every food preparation.
Well, it is because; Karuveppillai is packed with numerous nutrients that are actually good for you. Right from helping your heart to function in a better way to enlivening your hair and skin with vitality, it is loaded with health benefits. Here are some of them.1. Helps keep anemia at bay
Karuveppillai or curry leaves are a rich source of iron and folic acid. Interestingly, anemia is not only about the lack of iron in your body but also about the body’s inability to absorb iron and use it. This is where folic acid comes into play. Folic acid is mainly responsible for iron absorption and since Karuveppillai is a rich source of both the compounds it is your one-stop natural remedy to beat anemia .
Tip: If you suffer from anemia, eat one date (khajoor) with two Karuveppillai leaves on an empty stomach every morning. Here are few diet tips to beat anemia and increase hemoglobin.
If you are a heavy drinker, eat a lot of fish or indulge in other activities that could be damaging your liver, then you must eat curry leaves. This is because, according to a study published in Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, curry leaves were protect your liver from oxidative stress and harmful toxins that build-up in your body due to the presence of kaempferol, a potent antioxidant. The highly effective anti-oxidative property when combined with vitamin A and C not only protects the liver but also stimulates the organ to work more efficiently.
Tip: Heat one spoon of homemade ghee, add the juice of a cup of kadip atta, some sugar and freshly powdered black pepper (kali mirch). Make sure you heat this mixture slightly (and not overheat it) as Kaempferol boils at a very low temperature.
A study published in the Journal of Plant food for Nutrition, found that curry leaves lower your blood sugar levels by affecting the insulin activity. Apart from this, the presence of fiber in the leaves plays a significant role in controlling your blood sugar levels. Additionally, Karuveppillai is known to improve digestion and alter the way your body absorbs fat, thereby helping you lose weight. This is particularly of significance for people who are obese and suffer from diabetes. Read about expert tips to follow a diabetic diet.
Tip: To help keep your blood sugars under check, you should ideally add Karuveppillai to all your meals. Alternatively, consuming fresh curry leaves on an empty stomach every day might do the trick as well.
Did you know that curry leaves have properties that can help in lowering one’s blood cholesterol levels? Well, as per a study published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine, curry leaves prevent the oxidation of cholesterol as it is packed with antioxidants. This in turn increases the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) and protects you from heart disease and atherosclerosis.5. Helps with digestion
Curry leaves are known to be carminative in nature and thus, is highly effective against indigestion. Once ingested, it helps in the digestion process along with aiding in excretion. In Ayurveda, it is believed that Karuveppillai has mild laxative properties that not only help the stomach get rid of unwanted waste and ‘ama’ (or toxic waste) and balances out the pitta levels in the body. Do you have digestion problem? Avoid these difficult to digest foods.6. Relieves the symptoms of diarrhoea
Even though curry leaves have mild laxative properties, it is a great remedy for diarrhoea. This is because Karuveppillai contains carbazole alkaloid that posses anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which in turn help in combating an upset stomach. Apart from that, curry leaves are also known to balance out all the three doshas in the body and reduce the amount of pitta in the stomach – a side effect of diarrhoea according to Ayurveda.
Tip: If you suffer from diarrhoea gently crush some kaddi patta into a ball (the size of a berry), and drink it with some buttermilk. Do this twice to thrice a day for relief.
According to a study , curry leaves have the amazing ability to protect the body from the ill effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It not only protects the chromosomes from damage but also protects the bone marrow and halts the production of free radicals in the body. The study also suggested that this astonishing ability of the leaf could also indicate an ability to protect the body from cancer. Read about 10 dietary changes to prevent cancer.8. Reduces congestion in the chest and nose
If you suffer from a wet cough, sinusitis or chest congestion, Karuveppillai is a very effective home remedy to relieve the symptoms. Packed with vitamin C, A and compounds such as kaempferol that is a very potent anti-inflammatory, decongestant and antioxidative agent, curry leaves can help loosen up and release congested mucous. Read about 7 things you should avoid when you’re suffering from a cough.
Tip: To relieve congestion, take a spoon of powdered curry leaves and add a spoon of honey to it. Make it a paste and eat this solution twice a day.
Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? But it is true. Karuveppillai contains very strong antioxidant properties in addition to powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiprotozoal properties. This makes it a great home remedy to deal with common skin infections like acne and fungal infections of the nail that are often difficult to treat.10. Accelerates hair growth
Karuveppillai has always been known to prevent greying of the hair due to the presence of various nutrients in the body. But it also very effective in treating damaged hair, adding bounce to limp hair, strengthening the shaft of thin hair, hair fall and treats dandruff. The best part about this benefit is that you can either choose to eat the curry leaves to help with your hair woes or apply it to your scalp as a remedy.
Tip: To help strengthen your hair and fight dandruff, add the juice of Karuveppillai, to 100ml of coconut oil. Heat this oil till it turns blackish and apply it to your scalp regularly. Read about causes and solutions – premature greying of hair So, the next time you see curry leaves in your plate, don’t throw away but eat them to reap their amazing health benefits.
Packed with carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, irons and vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, curry leaves help your heart function better, fights infections and can enliven your hair and skin with vitality. Here are few health benefits of Karuveppillai.