Let us talk about those little leaves that we toss so nonchalantly into seasonings and chutneys and sambars and pickles, without which no south Indian cook would be seen in the kitchen. Yup. Curry leaves.
They are not just a bunch of leaves to flavour and season with but an impressive, powerful ally of both the doctor and the nutritionist. Apart from cooking, curry leaf has got great value in the field of medicine.
Probably from India. Also found in Sri Lanka and parts of South East Asia including Burma, Indonesia, Thailand.
Botanical name : Murraya koenigii. There are three different varieties of curry leaf tree namely,
- Curry leaves Regular (Murraya koenigii)- The regular ones grows very tall and it has got the fastest growth rate amongst the three varieties. These leaves resemble the ones we buy at the vegetable market.
- Curry leaves Dwarf - The dwarf ones, as the name suggests, do not grow as tall but their branches spread. It has got an aroma of its own although the light green leaves are of the same size as that of the regular ones.
- Curry leaves Gamthi - The Gamthi variety is the most fragrant and has got a very thick leaf structure. It has the slowest growth rate of all the three curry leaf tree varieties.
Curry leaf is known as a great tastemaker. It contain essential oils in minimal quantity and this decreases with the ageing of the leaves. The essential oil consists of aplpha and beta pinene and caryophyllene. The leaves have a slightly pungent, bitter and mild acidic taste and they also retain their flavour and other qualities even after drying.
- NUTRITIONAL VALUE:
- The bitter nature of curry leaf has two wonderful properties-essentially 'cooling' nature and antibacterial activity. Hence it is not only a friend of our digestive system, but also a wonderfully soothing way to treat minor burns, skin eruptions, burning sensation in the skin and infections like allergic skin rashes from insect bites, etc.
- Curry leaf is laden with Vitamin E (powerful antioxidant) and you have the perfect skin and hair food/tonic.
- It is also high in vitamins - A, B and C.
- It also has vital minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorous, the levels of iron high enough to be used to treat anaemia.
- MEDICINAL USES:
- Curry leaf powder can be eaten with chapatis, rice, used as a sandwich-spread which is good for people with diabetes.
- Coconut-curry leaf oil when massaged on the scalp (leave for about 30-50 minutes and shampoo thoroughly) cures dandruff.
- Consumption of curry leaf paste cures diarrhoea, dysentery and also removes worms from the stomach.
- Hibiscus-curry leaf hair wash is a very good remedy for dry and dull hair.
- Coconut-curry leaf oil (gently apply on the affected area) cures eczema, allergic skin rash, burning sensation and dry, dull skin.
Posted at 5:52 PM | Labels: Curry leaves |