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Review Article

A Review on Curry Leaves (Murraya

koenigii): Versatile Multi-Potential
Medicinal Plant
Satish Chand Saini* and Dr. Gopu Bala Show Reddy

Shri Venkateshwara University, NH -24, Rajabpur, Gajraula, Distt. Amroha, Pin Code No. 244236
(U.P.), India

Objective: The aim of this review study is to update information
about pharmacognostical, Phytochemical and pharmacological
studies of Murraya koenigii. To evaluate the versatile multi-potential
medicinal use of Murraya koenigii.
Methods: Literature of Murraya koenigii was collected and
Results: Murraya koenigii is having broad types of characteristics
such as antibacterial activity, antifungal activity, antiprotozoal
Address for activity. The medicinal utilities have been described especially for
Correspondence leaf, stem, bark and oil. The present review incorporates the
description of Murraya koenigii, its phytochemical constituents and
Shri Venkateshwara various pharmacological activities of isolated compounds as well as
University, NH -24, bioactivity of extract studies carried out by various numbers of
Rajabpur, Gajraula, laboratories.
Distt. Amroha, Pin Conclusion: As per available literature and its readily availability,
Code No. 244236 Murraya koenigii can be used to cure the symptoms of variety of
(U.P.), India. diseases.
info@svu.edu.in Keywords: Murraya koenigii, Phytochemistry, Biological activity,
Rutaceae, Medicine, Ayurvedic, Plant extracts, Review.

Murraya koenigii, commonly known constituents from every part of the plant
as curry leaf or karipatta in Indian dialects, have been extracted. The most important
belonging to Family Rutaceae which chemical constituents responsible for its
represent more than 150 genera and 1600 intense characteristic aroma are P-
species1. Murraya koenigii is a valuable gurjunene, P-caryophyllene, P-elemene and
plant for its characteristic aroma and O-phellandrene. The plant is rich source for
medicinal value. It is an important export carbazole alkaloids2. Bioactive coumarins,
commodity from India as it fetches good acridine alkaloids and carbazole alkaloids
foreign revenue. A number of chemical from family Rutaceae were reviewed by

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Ito3. Murraya koenigii is widely used in mahanine13, koenine, koenigine,

Indian cookery from centuries and have a koenidine , girinimbiol, girinimibine15,

versatile role to play in traditional medicine. koenimbine, O-methyl murrayamine A, O-

The plant is credited with tonic and methyl mahanine, isomahanine,
stomachic properties. Bark and roots are bismahanine, bispyrayafoline16 and other
used as stimulant and externally to cure phytoconstituents such as coumarin
eruptions and bites of poisonous animals. glycoside viz., scopotin, murrayanine17,
Green leaves are eaten raw for cure of calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine,
dysentery, diarrhoea and vomiting. Leaves riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C, carotene and
and roots are also used traditionally as bitter, oxalic acid. The essential oil from leaves
anthelmintic, analgesic, curing piles, yielded di- alpha phellandrene, D-sabinene,
inflammation, itching and are useful in D-_-pinene, dipentene, D-_-terpinol and
leucoderma and blood disorders4,5. Several caryophyllene18. It is reported to possess
systematic scientific studies are also being antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal,
conducted regarding the efficacy of whole larvicidal, anticarcinogenic, hypoglycemic,
plant or its parts in different extract forms anti-lipid peroxidative, hypolipidemic,
for the treatment of different diseases. antihypertensive activity19 and proactive
Murraya koenigii contains a number of effect against carbon tetra chloride- induced
chemical constituents that interact in a hepatic damage in rats38. It is also reported
complex way to elicit their to contain 5, 8-dimethylfuranocoumarin, 1-
pharmacodynamic response. A number of al, 3[6’, 6’ dimethyl 5-hexene] carbazole
active constituents responsible for the and _-sitosterol20.
medicinal properties have been isolated and
characterized. This plant has been reported Plant description and habitat
to have anti-oxidative, cytotoxic, The plant is distributed and
antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti ulcer, cultivated throughout India. It is found wild
positive inotropic and cholesterol reducing from Himalaya’s, Uttarakhand, Sikkim to
activities6-10. Therefore the present review Garhwal, Bengal, Assam, Western Ghats
summarizes the available literature till date and Travancore- Cochin. Propagation is
on isolation of phytoconstituents, biological done by seeds, which germinate freely under
activities of the isolated compounds and partial shade. Is also available in other part
pharmacological actions of extracts along of Asian region like in moist forests of 500-
with the clinical studies. Murraya koenigii 1600 mheightin Guangdong, S Hainan, S
(Rutaceae) commonly known as Meethi Yunnan (Xishuangbanna), Bhutan, Laos,
neem, is an aromatic more or less deciduous Nepal, Pakistan,Sri Lanka, Thailand,
shrub or a small tree up to 6 m in height Vietnamurraya Together with South Indian
found throughout India up to an altitude of immigrants, curry leaves reached Malaysia,
1500 m and are cultivated for its aromatic South Africa and Réunionisland. Outside the
leaves11. In traditional system of Medicine, Indian sphere of influence, they are rarely
it is used as antiemetic, antidiarrhoeal, found. Murraya koenigii is an unarmed,
dysentery, febrifuge, blood purifier, tonic, semi deciduous aromatic shrub or small tree
stomachic, flavoring agent in curries and with slender but strong woody stem and
chetneys. The oil is used externally for branches covered with dark grey bark,
bruises, eruption, in soap and perfume leaves are imparipinnate, glabrous, and very
industry12. The phytoconstituents isolated so strongly aromatic. Leaflets 9-25 or more,
far from the leaves are alkaloids viz., short stalked, alternate, gland dotted and

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strongly aromatic. The stem of Murraya mahanimbine, murrayanol and mahanine,

koenigii is an aromatic and more or less which has shown mosquitocidal,
deciduous shrub or small tree upto 7 meters antimicrobial and topoisomerase I and II
in height and 14 to 42 cm in diameter21. The inhibition activities34.
main stem is dark green to brownish. The
bark of the stem can be peeled off Antifungal activity
longitudinally which exposes the white The essential oil from leaves of
wood underneath. Flowers are small, white Murraya koenigii showed antifungal activity
fragrant ebracteate, calyx deeply five cleft, against C. albicans, C. tropicalis, A. niger,
pubescent. Petals five, free, whitish, A. fumigates, Microsporum gypseum and
glabrous and with dotted glands. Fruits Murraya koenigii was effective against C.
occur in close clusters, small ovoid or sub- albicans even at a dilution of 1:500. The
globose, glandular, thin pericarp enclosing ethanolic extract of the leaves showed
one or two seeds having spinach green fungitoxicity against Colletotrichum
color22. falcatum and Rhizoctonia solani35. The
ethanolic extract of the roots and also the
Traditional uses whole plant excluding roots of Murraya
Fresh leaves, dried leaf powder, and koenigii, however, did not show any
essential oil are widely used for flavouring antifungal activity against Cryptococcus
soups, curries, fish and meat dishes, eggs neoformans, Trichophyton mentagrophytes
dishes, traditional curry powder blends, and Microsporum canis36,37.
seasoning and ready to use other food
preparations. The essential oil is also Antiprotozoal activity
utilized by soap and cosmetic aromatherapy Ethanolic extracts (55 %) of
industry23. Curry leaves are boiled with Murraya koenigii whole plant excluding
coconut oil till they are reduced to blanked roots (extract A) and roots alone (extract B)
residue which is then used as an excellent were screened for their pharmacological
hair tonic for retaining natural hair tone and actions. Extract A showed antiprotozoal
stimulating hair growth. It is traditionally action against Ent. Histolytica,
used as a whole or in parts as antiemetics, antispasmodic effect on isolated guinea pig
antidiarrheal, febrifuge, blood purifier, ileum, whereas extract B showed
antifungal, depressant, anti-inflammatory, antiprotozoal activity against Ent.
body aches, for kidney pain and vomiting.24- Histolytica and as well as antihypertensive
. activity in cat/dog39. (See table 1.)

Pharmacological studies CONCLUSION

Antibacterial activity Keeping in view the tremendous
The essential oil from Murraya pharmacological activities and availability
koenigii leaves showed antibacterial effect of literature, Murraya koenigii may be
against B. subtilis, S.aureus, C. pyogenes, P. utilized to alleviate the symptoms of variety
vulgaris and Pasteurella multocida. The pure of diseases as evident from the pre-clinical
oil was active against the first three data. Although crude extract from various
organisms even at a dilution of 1: 50033. The parts of Murraya koenigii have numerous
acetone extract of the fresh leaves of medical applications, modern drugs can be
Murraya koenigii on fractionation gives developed after extensive investigation of its
three bioactive carbazole alkaloids named as bioactivity, mechanism of action, pharmaco-

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therapeutics, toxicity and after proper extract on an isolated perfused frog heart.
standardization and clinical trials. The Indian Journal of Experimental Biology,
available literature and wide spread 2006; 44:481- 484.
availability of Murraya koenigii in India 11. Anonymous, The Wealth of India: A
thus makes it an attractive candidate for Dictionary of Indian Raw Materials and
Industrial Products. Publication &
further pre-clinical and clinical research. Information Directorate, New Delhi: CSIR,
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 12. Prajapati ND, Purohit SS, Sharma AK,
Kumar T. A Handbook of Medicinal Plants.
The authors are highly thankful to Jodhpur: Agrobios, 2003: 352-353.
the management of Herbal Research and 13. Narasimhan NS, Paradkar MV, Kelkar SL.
Development Institute (HRDI), Selaqui, Alkaloids of Murraya koenigii, Structures of
Dehradun (UK) India and Management of mahanine, koenine, koenigine and koenidine.
Samarth Analytical Laboratory, Nasik Indian J Chem. 1970; 8:473-476.275.
(MH), India for providing necessary 14. Narasimhan NS, Paradkar MV, Chitguppi VP,
facilities. Kelkar SL. Alkaloids of Murraya koenigii,
Structures of mahanimbine, koenimbine,
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Table 1. Active compounds of Murraya koenigii and their activities

Murraya koenigii compounds Source Biological activity

Lutein Leaves Antioxidant activity

Leaves Antioxidant activity
Leaves Hepatoprotective
Carotene Leaves Antioxidant activity
Koenimbine Leaves Antioxidant activity
Isomahanine Leaves Anticaries
Mahanine Stem and bark Antimicrobial
Leaves Mosquitocidal
Leaves Anti-microbial
Murrayanine Stem bark Antifungal
Stem bark Anti-cancer
Girinimbine Stem bark Antifungal and antibacterial
Leaves Hepatoprotective

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