Botanical name:Murraya koenigii (Linn.) Sprengel.
Family name: Rutaceae
Indian names are as follows:
Hindi:Kathnim, Mitha neem, Curry pata, Gandhel, Barsenga
Bengali:Barsanga, Curry pata
Marathi:Karhinimb, Poospala, Gandla, Jhirang
Gujarati:Goranimb, Mitha nimb, Kadhilimbdo
Oriya:Bhursunga patra, Barsan, Basango
The composition of leaves is as follows:
Fat (ether extract):1.0 %
Ash (mineral matters):4.2 %
Vitamin A (carotene):12600 I.U./100g
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid):4 mg/100 g
Nicotinic acid:2.3 mg/100g
Volatile oil:0.5 to 0.8 %.
The leaves are a fair source of vitamin A; they are also a rich source of calcium, but due to presence of oxalic acid in high concentration (total oxalates 1.35 % and soluble oxalates 1.15 %), its nutritional availability is affected. More over the presence of oxalates may cause kidney stones.
It is also reported that with advancing maturity, there is a gradual decrease in volatile oil and oleoresin (acetone extracted), and thus there is progressive increase in all other items. Vacuum self-drying of curry leaves gives a better product of greenish color than those dried by other methods.
The free amino acids present in the leaves are asparagines, serine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, threonine, alanine, proline, tyrosine, tryptophan, histidine etc. The leaves also contain a crystalline glucoside, koenigin and a resin. Twigs and leaves contain 0.8 % potash on dry matter basis.
Fresh leaves, on steam distillation under pressure yield 2.6 % of a volatile oil, which may find use as a fixative for heavy type of soap perfume; distillation at ordinary pressure gives very poor yield of oil, while distillation with superheated steam yields a dark colored foul-smelling oil. Rectified curry leaf oil is deep yellow in color with a strong spicy odor and pungent clove like taste.
The leaves of this plant have been used for centuries mostly in South India and to the lesser extent in rest of India as a natural flavoring agent in various curries and chutneys. Besides fresh leaves dried leaves and powdered leaves are also used.
The use of essential oil as flavor or perfume is not yet popularized. There is a good scope to create demand considering its virtues. In fact, the oil also has medicinal virtues also.
The leaves, bark and the root of the plant are used in indigenous medicine as a tonic, stomachic, stimulant and carminative. The leaves taken with pepper early in the morning in empty stomach reduces blood sugar. An infusion of the roasted leaves is used to stop vomiting. The dry leaves are ingredient for many herbal medicines. The juice of the root is taken to relieve pain associated with kidney.
The wood is grayish white, hard, even, close grained and durable. It can be used as timber for manufacture of many types of products.
The plant therefore is a multi-product source. If it can be utilized in a planned manner a chain of rural industrial units can be planned and implemented. With a number of schemes in place it is not difficult to go ahead.