Curry leaves are small, shiny, dark green leaves which grow in clusters. The curry tree is small and bushy, with an average height of 2 feet. The plant is native to India, where it grows wild, especially in the southern states. Curry leaves are used ubiquitously in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine.
Curry leaves are a good source of lutein. Lutein is the substance which gives the leaves their green color. Lutein has been shown to reduce clogging of the arteries, and is being studied for possible immune boosting properties. A study has suggested that lutein may help prevent certain eye diseases.
Because of their high calcium content, curry leaves are advantageous for young women, to help avoid osteoperosis later in life. Calcium is a necessary nutrient in bone development, and for strong teeth and fingernails.
Folic acid is responsible for ensuring sufficient production of red blood cells. An insufficiency of folic acid can lead to anemia. It is especially important during times of rapid cell division, such as pregnancy. Curry leaves are a good source of folic acid.
Niacin is found in curry leaves. Niacin is utilized in DNA repair, and is involved in metabolism at the cellular level. Niacin is also required for proper adrenal function.
B-carotene is found in curry leaves. This is important for the prevention of night blindness. B-carotene is also an immune booster, helping to strengthen the immune system.
Curry leaves are traditionally recommended for upset stomachs and for constipation. A mixture of lemon juice, honey and curry leaves can be taken to help with these problems. Curry leaves can also be mixed with milk, and ground into a paste for use as a soothing skin ointment.
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