San: Kalasakh, Kaidaryah
Hin: Mithinim, Katnim
Mal: Kariveppu, Karuveppu
Tam: Kariveppilai, Karuveppu
Kan: Kari Baeva
Ass: Narasingha, Bishahari
Importance: Curry leaf, a plant of homestead gardens has gained importance as a commercial crop and is cultivated for its culinary and medicinal value. The plant is highly esteemed for its leaves which promote appetite and digestion and destroy pathogenic organisms. It is reported to be useful in emaciation, skin diseases, hemopathy, worm troubles, neurosis and poisons. They are useful in vitiated conditions of kapha and pitta, hyperdipna, colic, flatulence, diarrhoea, dysentery, vomiting, inflammations and foul ulcers. “Kaidaryah” drug is prepared using this plant which improves voice, stimulates digestion and destroys concocted poisons in the system. The important preparations using the drug are Kalasadi kasayam, Pamantaka tailam, Jatyadi tailam, Jatyadi ghrtam, etc (Sivarajan et al,1994).
Distribution: Curry leaf is seen in the foot of the Himalaya and Bashahi eastwards to Sikkim and Peninsular India, upto 1700m. It is also found in Sri Lanka, Burma, Indo-China, South China and Hainan. Commercial cultivation in India is limited to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states.
Botany: The genus Murraya of the family Rutaceae includes the following species:
M. Koenigii (Linn.) Spreng. syn. Bergera koenigii Linn.
M. Exotica Linn. syn. M. paniculata (Linn.) Jack.
Murraya koenigii is a small aromatic tree with dark grey bark and closely crowded spreading dark green foliage. Leaves are imparipinnate and alternate. Leaflets are alternate, obliquely ovate or somewhat rhomboid, gland dotted and strongly aromatic. Flowers are white, arranged in much branched terminal corymbose cymes and fragrant. Fruits are subglobose or ellipsoid berries, purplish black when ripe and 2-seeded (Warrier et al, 1995).
Agrotechnology: Curry leaf tree does not choose a specific climate and can come up even in dry climate too. In places where minimum temperature goes below 13 C, the growth of the shoot will be slightly affected. It comes up well in light textured red soils. DWD-1 and DWD-2 are two improved varieties released from UAS, Dharwad. Curry leaf is propagated by seed. Main field is to be ploughed repeatedly. A spacing of 90-120cm is followed on either side. Pits of size 30cm3 are dug out one month before planting and filled with top soil mixed with well decomposed FYM at the time of planting. Healthy seedlings are planted in the centre of the pits. Then long furrows are formed connecting all the pits to facilitate easy irrigation. The seedlings are irrigated once in 5-7 days upto 3 years and once in 15 days afterwards. The field should be kept free from weeds. Plants may be trained and pruned to maintain a bush of 1m in height. For better growth and yield, each plant is fertilised with 20kg of FYM besides 150:25:50g of N, P2O5, K2O/ year. Attack of aphids in the vegetative stage can be controlled by spraying of dimethoate at 2ml/l of water. Leaves from such sprayed plants should be harvested only after 10 days. Spraying carbendazim at 1g/l can take care of leaf spot diseases. The crop comes to first harvest at the end of first year. The yield of leaves account to 400kg/ha at the end of first year, 2000 to 2200kg/ha in the second and third year harvested at an interval of four months and 2500kg/ha in the fourth year harvested at three months interval. From fifth year onwards it is harvested at 2.5-3 months interval giving an yield of 3500-5000kg/ha (Kumar et al, 1997).
Properties and activity: All parts of the plant, especially the leaves are rich in carbazole alkaloids. These include members with (i) C13 – skeleton -murrayanin, mukoeic acid, mukonine and mukonidine; (ii) C18 – skeleton including gerinimbine, koenimbine, murrayacine, koenigine and koenigicine (koenidine); and (iii) C23- skeleton containing mahanimbine, mahanimbicine, iso- mahanimbicine, mahanine, mahanimbinine, murrayayazoline, murrayazolinine, murrayazolidine, cyclomahanimbine and bicyclomahanimbicine. Other carbazole bases include mukoline, mukolidine (C13 group, from roots), mukonicine (C18 from leaves), the biogenetically significant mukonal (C13, stem-bark), mahanimboline (C23, root-bark), iso- murrayazoline (C23, stem-bark). The leaves gave a coumarin glucoside, scopolin also. Essential oil from leaves contained -caryophylline, -gurjunene, -elemene, – phellandrene, -thujene as major constituents.
The roots, bark and leaves are bitter, acrid, astringent, cooling, aromatic, demulcent, depurative, anthelmintic, febrifuge, stomachic, appetising, carminative, antiinflammatory and antiseptic. Aerial part is spasmolytic and antiprotozoal. Root is antiprotozoal, CVS active and has effect on nictitating membrane. Leaf is hypoglycaemic (Hussain et al,1992).