Curry leaves are popular spice and flavoring agent that come from Murraya koenigii Spreng, a tropical tree that belongs to the Rutaceae family.
Also known as Kari patta or sweet neem, these leaves have been used in cooking for their unique flavor. Depending on the purpose, curry leaves can be used dried, fried, or fresh.
Apart from being a great cooking ingredient, curry leaves also possess numerous health benefits. They have been an important part of Ayurvedic medicine due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-carcinogenic properties.
This article looks into some potential health benefits of curry leaves, nutritional value, and the potential side effects they might have.
Nutritional Profile of Curry Leaves
Curry leaves have a rich profile of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, B, B3 (nicotinic acid), C, and E, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, etc. They also contain carbohydrate and fiber.
Curry leaves have chemical compounds named carbazole alkaloids that are responsible for the leaves’ antioxidant effects. The alkaloids include murrayanol, O-methylmurrayamine A, mahanimbine, isomahanine, bispyrayafoline, etc. 
Health Benefits of Curry Leaves
1. Curry Leaf May Aid in Weight Loss.
Curry leaves can be an excellent option if you want to lose weight in a healthy way, thanks to the carbazole alkaloids.
A 2017 study published in BioFactors states that carbazole alkaloids can reduce LDL cholesterol and prevent obesity. 
When consumed regularly, both dried and fresh curry leaves can help you to lose some extra fat.
2. It Can Improve Your Digestive System.
Curry leaves have been a popular remedy for the gastrointestinal issues in Ayurveda due to their mild laxative properties. It means consuming this flavorful spice can also prevent constipation. 
Besides, sweet neem leaves possess potent antidiarrheal compounds. An animal test published in 2010 shows that carbazole extracts effectively controlled castor-oil induced diarrhea in lab rats. 
These leaves can stimulate digestive enzymes, promoting healthy bowel movement.
3. Curry Leaf Can Prevent Morning Sickness and Nausea.
Morning sickness is quite common for most women during the first trimester of their pregnancy. Curry leaves can be a lifesaver for those who want to get rid of this discomfort. 
As curry leaves can treat digestive issues, they can also help soothe morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting. These leaves can help in increasing digestive secretion that can reduce these symptoms.
4. It May Eliminate Bacteria.
Bacterial infections and oxidative stress are responsible for various illness. Curry leaves can be used as an alternative treatment to soothe those infections.
Carbazole alkaloids found in curry leaves are known to have antioxidants, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Due to the antioxidants and the vitamins, curry leaves can fight the free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. 
The antibacterial properties of sweet neem can help heal different kinds of wounds, cuts, bruises, skin irritations, etc.
5. Curry Leaf Can Help Control Diabetes.
Curry leaves have long been popular for treating diabetes. The minerals in these leaves such as copper, iron, and zinc can help protect the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas and the damage caused by free radicals.
According to research published in An International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, curry leaves effectively controlled blood glucose level in diabetic rats. 
The anti-hyperglycemic properties present in sweet neem were responsible for the anti-diabetic effect. 
6. It May Fight Cancer.
Regular consumption of curry leaf may fight different types of cancers such as prostate cancer, leukemia, and colorectal cancer, thanks to its phenol compounds.
A 2014 study published in the Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology proves the efficacy of phenols in fighting cancer. 
The carbazol alkaloids in curry leaves can also help fight cancers, particularly colon cancer.
7. Curry Leaf Can Protect Your Liver.
The antioxidants in curry leaves can protect your liver from free radicals, as well as bacterial and viral attacks.
Carbazole alkaloids and tannins exhibit good hepatoprotective compounds that are beneficial for your liver. 
8. It is Good for Your Eyes.
Curry leaf is rich in vitamin A, meaning that it is good for your eyesight.
Vitamin A is essential for your eyes as it has carotenoids that protect the eye surface, as well as the cornea. 
Using curry leaves in your cooking regularly can also prevent the early onset of cataract.
9. Curry Leaf May Prevent Anemia.
Iron deficiency is one of the main reasons for anemia worldwide. 
Being a good source of iron, curry leaf can be beneficial for those who are anemic. Besides, curry leaf has a significant amount of folic acid, which helps your body in absorbing iron.
Side Effects of Curry Leaves
- Curry leaves may cause allergy to some people, particularly those who have pollen.
- Do not consume curry leaves if you have asthma.
- Topical application may be harmful to your hair in the long term.
- Do not eat curry pods that come from the leaves as they are believed to be poisonous.
Curry leaves have a high demand in Indian cuisine, and for good reasons. Several research have proved that consuming these natural flavoring agents can be beneficial for your health.
Using them in your recipes will help you create a delicious and healthy meal while giving it a pleasant aroma.
Starting from treating your digestive issues, controlling blood sugar to fighting cancer, curry leaves have a lot to offer when used correctly.