Murraya koenigii – Curry Leaf Tree
The curry leaf tree is a tropical to sub-tropical tree which is native to India and Sri Lanka. Its leaves are used in many dishes in India, Sri Lanka, and neighbouring countries.
It is a small tree, growing 4–8.7m tall, with a trunk up to 81 cm diameter. The aromatic leaves are pinnate, with 11–21 leaflets, each leaflet 2–4 cm long and 1–2 cm broad. The plant produces small white flowers which can self-pollinate to produce small shiny-black berries containing a single, large viable seed. The berry pulp is edible and has a sweet but “medicinal” flavour. However neither the pulp nor seed is used for culinary purposes, only the aromatic leaves.
The leaves are highly valued as seasoning in Indian cuisine and Sri Lankan cuisine, especially in curries where the leaves are usually fried along with the chopped onion in the first stage of the preparation.
They have a short shelf life and do not keep well in the refrigerator. Hence its best to grow the curry leaves in your garden or in a pot.
The leaves are also widely used by Industry and in Ayurvedic medicine for its wondrous medicinal properties as eating 3 leaves a day is excellent for diabetics as the nutrients in the leaves helps to control natural insulin levels. In India many use the leaves to make a hair conditioner as it makes you hair silky smooth.
In Ayurvedic medicine, curry leaves are believed to have several medicinal properties such as anti-diabetic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and hepato-protective (capability to protect liver from damage) properties. The roots are also used for treating body aches and the bark is used for snake bite relief.
Due to the high folic acid found in them, which is responsible for aiding in the absorption of Iron, hence it is a great supplement for alleviating anaemia.
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