Curry Leaves: Medicinal Benefits, Uses & a Poem in Ode to this Ayurvedic Herb

Dylan Smith Sitting in siddhasana on Deer Skin
Leaves from the curry leaf tree are one of my favourite spices.

Obviously raw is not the nicest,
but when you fry it in ghee, the bitter and astringent leaves acquire a sweet cooling breeze.
Light to digest,
Kaiḍarya कैडर् (sanskrit name) stimulates the digestive fire (dīpana) and appetite (rochana), and metabolises toxins (pachana) in the gut, kidneys and chest.
This spice balances your hormones so you can properly rest,
and enhances immunity, good body physique and strength(1), of which I can attest.
O leaves of Murraya koenigii (botanical name), you improve the voice and soothe sore throats,
like the swan gracefully glides on the smooth water as it floats. (Hamsapadi 🦢) (2)
You even boost intelligence and wisdom(1) in those who eat your leaves,
are hypoglycaemic(3), help in dysuria and purify the kidneys.
You also purify the blood really well,
protect the liver,(4) reduce blood pressure(5) and strengthen the red blood cells.
My sweet curry leaf tree, so many benefits and blessings do you unravel,
I seem to recognise you from afar mostly everywhere I travel.
You generously disperse your trees and offer an abundance of leaves,
it makes me wonder why they sell you at high prices for such abundant spices.
Some people don’t swallow your leaves and leave them on their plate,
unfortunately, they are oblivious to the potential for a healthy fate and the nourishment they could create.
So dear friend, please forage sustainably a mature, well dressed tree,
so you can enhance your food with the tasty and medicinal kaiḍarya leaves.

Alternative Names

Sanskrit - Kaidarya / kaiḍarya कैडर्
Other names:
“Sweet neem” - in a related family to neem Meliaceae)
“Parvata nimba” - edible variety of nimba (neem)
Botanical names: Murraya koenigii and Bergera koenigi - named after a couple botanists.

Ayurvedic Properties

Rasa: kshaya, tikta, madhura
Vīrya: shīta .
Vipaka: Katu (5)
Doṣas: KP-
Gunas: Laghu
Karmas: Deepana, pacana, rochana
Digestion:
  • atisāra
  • dīpana
  • pachana
  • When used with buttermilk it helps to cure ulcers in the digestive system.
Balance hormones.
Curry Leaf Tree
Curry Leaves

Medicinal Qualities

Immunity

These enhance good body (physique), intelligence, strength and wisdom. - Susruta
hema śvetavacā kuṣṭham arkapuṣpī sakāñcanā // (47.2)hema matsyākṣakaḥ śaṅkhaḥ kaiḍaryaḥ kanakaṃ vacā / (48.1)catvāra ete pādoktāḥ prāśā madhughṛtaplutāḥ // (48.2)varṣaṃ līḍhā vapurmedhābalavarṇakarāḥ śubhāḥ / (49.1)
हेम श्वेतवचा कुष्ठम् अर्कपुष्पी सकाञ्चना ॥ (४७.)हेम मत्स्याक्षकः शङ्खः कैडर्यः कनकं वचा । (४८.)चत्वार एते पादोक्ताः प्राशा मधुघृतप्लुताः ॥ (४८.)वर्षं लीढा वपुर्मेधाबलवर्णकराः शुभाः । (४९.)
This article translates it as such:
“Kaidarya is given mixed with honey and ghee along with other drugs to bestow good growth, intelligence, strength, complexion and goodness for children up to 1 year.”
  • - Astanga Hrdaya (6)
This is similar to a more complex baby immunisation herbal remedy: Pusya Drops
Pusya Drops by Vital Veda

Hamsapadi (Good for the Voice)

Good for the voice (hamsapadi) - improves voice and soothes sore throats.
Hamsa = “Swan”
Padi = “Feet”
How to swan gracefully glides, swan is easy and smooth.
(Caraka Samhita)

Liver Health

Protects the organs, especially liver (hepato-protective) effect - anti-hepatotoxicity - has the ability to prevent damage to the liver.
Great blood purifier.
Hyperacidity
Krimi Roga (helps in parasites)
How to Use:
Simply fry the curry leaves (we like fresh, but dry is also okay), in ghee or oil with other spices, then add to your dish.
Just like we do in our kitchari or mung dahl recipe.

Other Health Benefits

Restores consciousness (samjnada).
Used in dhupana (fumigation therapy) in apasmara (epilepsy) cikitsa (treatment).
Reduces hypertension (significantly)
http://52.172.27.147:8080/jspui/bitstream/123456789/31140/1/03_A023_67173.pdf

Purifies the Kidneys
Hypoglycaemic - diabetes type 2
“Parvata nimba” - edible variety of nimba.  is useful.
Nimba is the best for Prameha.
Acts at the mulasthana of the mutravaha srotas - medas.
Good for kaphaja mutra krcchra (dysuria- juice of kaidarya + honey + ela (cardamom)"
- (Caraka)

Mung Dahl Recipe

Mung is an easy to digest lentil that provides adequate protein. Used for both cleansing and building in Ayurveda, one can eat mung dahl everyday and not only will you gain complete nutrition and satisfaction, but soon this will be the stuff you crave!

Anti-Flatulence

Mung is the only legumes that is “vata balancing.” This means that, unlike every other type of beans or lentils, they will not produce any intestinal gas. They naturally are much easier to cook, digest, and assimilate.

Promotes Sattva ("Purity")

Sattva is a quality in us that translates to “purity.” If Sattva is increased, then so is our inner stillness, clarity of mind and contentment. Love radiates and flows back to us in abundance, while the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “bonding or loving hormone”) is simultaneously secreting. Fresh, seasonal whole foods are predominately Sattvic, thus increases the Sattvic quality in us, based on the Ayurvedic law of “Like Increases Like.”

This is why Mung Dahl is considered to facilitate spiritual growth and effectively detox the body. It has long been used to nourish babies and the elderly, the sick, and the healthy during special times of detox, cleansing, and deep spiritual practice.

Ingredients

serves 3-4

  • 3/4 cup of whole green mung dahl (with green skin on) (green gram)
  • 2 or more types of any fresh seasonal vegetables finely chopped - e.g. zucchini, kale, silver-beet, spinach, dandelion, cauliflower,  broccoli etc. - by using seasonal foods, nature is providing the antidote to the harsh qualities that the season may manifest.
  • salt to taste

Spices:

  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 1-2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1-2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • leeks, spring onion or onion - all finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped - make sure to purify by removing the inner green sprout.
  • Ghee - Approx. 1-2 tablespoons.

Method

  1. Wash mung dahl and soak in a generous amount of water it for 2 hours. Even 1-6 hours of soaking is ok. The longer you soak the quicker it will cook.
  2. Boil mung dahl in a pot of water - allow water level to be about 1 inch above the food. You can need to add more water as you go.
  3. When the mung dahl is getting more soft (test my squishing a lentil with your fingers), add vegetables that take a bit longer to cook (e.g. thick leafy green stems, broccoli stems, cauliflower, carrot etc.). (add as many vegetables as you like).
  4. After the "vegetables that take a bit longer to cook" are basically cooked, add turmeric + black pepper + salt + hing + quicker to cook vegetables such as leafy greens.
  5. Once the dahl and veggetables are cooked, in a separate pot fry the other spices in ghee along with onion, garlic and curry leaves.
  6. Add the spices in the main pot, mix well for 5 minutes to infuse the spices in the dahl.

You are adding the vegetables in the pot in a timely matter so that when the vegetables are finished cooking so are the lentils.  (Everything is ready and cooked by the end).

Garnish with fresh coriander and fresh lemon.

Make the Meal a Complete Protein

Serve with a carbohydrate such as fresh bread and/rice or quinoa etc.
When you mix grain + legume you have all nine essential amino acids which make up a complete protein.

This explains how ancient cultures like India and Africa have been living off beans and rice for decades.

General Ratio:

  • 50% vegetables (at least)
  • 25 % protein
  • 25 % carbs

Enjoy this warming, comforting and super tasty dish that leaves you feeling energetic and satisfied after you eat.

Less cravings, sustainable energy levels and moving towards perfect health.