It is a small tree, growing 4-6 m (13-20 feet) tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm (16 in) diameter. The aromatic leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm (0.79-1.57 in) long and 1-2 cm (0.39-0.79 in) broad. The plant produces small white flowers which can self-pollinate to produce small shiny-black berries containing a single, large viable seed. Though the berry pulp is edible with a sweet but medicinal flavor in general, neither the pulp nor seed are used for culinary purposes.The species name commemorates the botanist Johann Knig. The genus Murray commemorates Johann Andreas Murray who died in 1791.
HOW TO GROW
- Curry leaf plants may be grown from cuttings or seed. The seed is the pit of the fruit and can either be cleaned or the entire fruit may be sown. Fresh seed shows the greatest rate of germination. Sow the seeds in potting soil and keep them damp but not wet. They will need a warm area of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 C.) to germinate. Growing curry leaf tree from seed is not an easy task because germination is fickle. Other methods are more consistent.
- You can also use fresh curry leaves with petiole or stem and start a plant. Treat the leaves as a cutting and insert into a soilless potting medium. Take a piece of stem from the tree that is about 3 inches long and has several leaves. Remove the bottom 1 inch of leaves. Immerse the bare stem into the medium and mist thoroughly. It will root in about three weeks if you keep it warm and moist. Growing curry leaves to produce a new plant is the easiest method of propagation.
- Growing curry leaf tree in the home garden is only advisable in areas without freezes. Curry leaf plant is frost tender but it can be grown indoors. Plant the tree in a well drained pot with good potting mix and place in a sunny area. Feed it weekly with a diluted solution of seaweed fertilizer and trim the leaves as needed.
- Watch the plant for mites and scale. Use an insecticidal soap to combat the pests. Curry leaf requires moderately moist soil. Curry leaf care is quite straight forward and even suitable for a beginner.
- Plant the tree in a well drained pot with good potting mix and place in a sunny area. Feed it weekly with a diluted solution of seaweed fertilizer and trim the leaves as needed.
- Watch the plant for mites and scale. Use an insecticidal soap to combat the pests. Curry leaf requires moderately moist soil.
- Stops Diarrhea: Experiments on lab rats showed that carbazole extracts from curry leaves had significantly controlled castor oil-induced diarrhea. A bunch of curry leaves can be ground up and the paste can be eaten or the juice of the leaves can be consumed.
- Gastrointestinal Protection: Use of curry leaves is recommended as a cure for gastrointestinal issues in Ayurvedic methodology. One important is due to the fact that they are considered to possess mild laxative properties. Make juice out of a bunch of curry leaves and add lime juice. This mixture is to be consumed for indigestion or a paste made from the leaves can be added to buttermilk and taken every morning on an empty stomach.
- Antioxidant Properties: t curry leaves or Murraya Koenigii is a good source of antioxidants. The presence of various vitamins like vitamin A, B, C and E help in reducing oxidative stress and free radical scavenging activity. Curry leaves can be added to your curries, vegetable stews and soups. They are also available in dried powder form.
- Anti-Diabetic Properties: Research conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Madras, Chennai had shown that the anti-hyperglycemic properties of curry leaves were beneficial in controlling blood glucose levels in diabetic rats
- Fights Cancer: The chemical constituents found in curry leaves such as phenols are helpful in fighting cancers such as leukemia, prostate cancer and colorectal cancers. Research on curry leaves at the Department of Medical Chemistry at Mejio University, Japan showed evidence of cancer fighting properties in the carbazole alkaloids extract from curry leaves.
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels: Curry leaves are also known to reduce bad LDL cholesterol level. Studies conducted at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Kerala, India have shown that curry leaves have the potential to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
- Good for Hair Growth: Curry leaves are believed to help in strengthening hair roots. Dry curry leaf powder mixed in oil can be applied to your hair with a quick massage.