Aromatic deciduous shrub or tree growing to 20 ft (6 m). Has strongly scented leaves, clusters of small, fragrant white flowers, and pink to black berries.
Habitat & Cultivation
Curry tree is native to subtropical forests in much of southern Asia. It is widely cultivated in India for its leaves.
Curry tree contains over 20 alkaloids, a glycoside (koenigin), volatile oil, and tannins.
History & Folklore
Curry tree, also known as curry patta, is a common flavoring in Indian food.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Curry tree leaves increase digestive secretions and relieve nausea, indigestion, and vomiting. They are also used to treat diarrhea and dysentery. Curry tree aids healing, for example in gastric ulcers, and the leaves are applied as a poultice on wounds and burns. It helps to stabilize blood-sugar levels and is useful for type 2 diabetes.
The very bitter leaves of cosmetic bark (M. paniculata) are taken to treat stomach ache, dysentery, toothache, and bruises.