10 reasons you should eat Curry Leaves [Karembay Soppu] instead of discarding them
Curry leaf (Karembay Soppu in Badaga, kadi patta or kari patta in Hindi, kariveppilai in Tamil, kariveppila in Malayalam, kariveppaku in Telugu) is one of the common seasoning ingredients that is added to almost every dish in India to enhance its taste and flavour. However, rather than eating this humble leaf (which is slightly bitter in taste) along with the dish, most of us segregate it and just throw it away. Have you ever wondered why our ancestors used to add this leaf to every food preparation if you have to just throw it away? Well, it is because kadi patta 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 anaemia at bay Kadi patta or curry leaves are a rich source of iron and folic acid. Interestingly, anaemia 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 kadi patta is a rich source of both the compounds, it is your one-stop natural remedy to beat anaemia. Tip: If you suffer from anaemia, eat one date (khajoor) with two kadi patta leaves on an empty stomach every morning.
2. Protects your liver from damage If you are a heavy drinker, or 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 The Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, curry leaves protect your liver from oxidative stress and harmful toxins that build-up in your body. Kaempferol, the highly effective anti-oxidative property of curry leaves, when combined with Vitamins 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 kadi patta, some sugar and freshly powdered black pepper and take it regularly . Make sure you heat this mixture slightly (and not overheat it) as kaempferol boils at a very low temperature.
3. Maintains your blood sugar levels A study published in the Journal of Plant Food for Nutrition found that curry leaves lower blood sugar levels by affecting the insulin activity. Apart from this, the presence of fibre in the leaves plays a significant role in controlling your blood sugar levels. Additionally, kadi patta 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. Tip: To help keep your blood sugar under check, you should ideally add kadi patta to all your meals. Alternatively, consume fresh curry leaves on an empty stomach daily.
4. Protects you from heart disease 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 are highly effective against indigestion. Once ingested, they help in the digestion process along with aiding in excretion. In Ayurveda, it is believed that kadi patta has mild laxative properties that not only help the stomach get rid of unwanted waste and ‘ama’ (or toxic waste) but balance the pitta levels in the body.
6. Relieves symptoms of diarrhoea Even though curry leaves have mild laxative properties, they are a great remedy for diarrhoea. This is because kadi patta 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 known to balance 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, crush some curry leaves into a ball (the size of a berry) and take it with some buttermilk. Do this twice or thrice a day.
7. Can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy According to a study, curry leaves have the amazing ability to protect the body from the ill effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It protects from damage not only the chromosomes but also 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.
8. Reduces congestion in the chest and nose If you suffer from a wet cough, sinusitis or chest congestion, kadi patta is an effective home remedy. Packed with Vitamins C and A and compounds such as kaempferol, which is a potent anti-inflammatory, decongestant and antioxidative agent, curry leaves can help loosen up and release congested mucous.. Tip: To relieve congestion, add a spoon of powdered curry leaves to a spoon of honey and take it twice a day.
9. Treats and prevents skin infections Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? But it is true. Kadi patta contains, apart from strong antioxidant properties, powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiprotozoal properties. This makes it a great home remedy for common skin infections such as acne and fungal infections of the nail that are often difficult to treat.
10. Accelerates hair growth Kadi patta has always been known to prevent greying of hair due to the presence of various nutrients in it. But it is also effective in treating damaged hair, hair fall and dandruff, in adding bounce to limp hair and strengthening the shaft of thin hair. The best part is that you can either eat the curry leaves to help you in tackling your hair woes or apply them as a paste to your scalp. Tip: To help strengthen your hair and fight dandruff, add the juice of kadi patta to 100 ml of coconut oil, heat the oil till it turns blackish and apply it to your scalp regularly. So, the next time you see curry leaves in your plate, don’t throw them away but eat them to reap their amazing health benefits.
(Culled from the Internet; not intended to be diagnostic in nature – by PS Vaidyanathan)