Giri Nimb/ Kadi Patta Tree (Murraya koenigii)

Popularly known kadi patta is known as meethi neem in Hindi, curry leaves in English and giri nimb in Sanskrit. It belongs to family Rutaceae. Kadi patta tree is native to India, Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries. This tree is different from European curry plant (Helichrysum italicum syn. H. angustifolium) which belongs to the Asteraceae family.

Plant description: It is a deciduous shrub or tree up to 6 m in height and 15-40 cm in diameter with short trunk, thin smooth grey or brown bark and dense shady crown of leaves. The plant has a peculiar aroma. Stem has grey color longitudinal striations beneath which white bark is present. Leaves are bipinnately compound, approx. 15-30 cm long and bearing 11-25 leaflets which are 2.5-3.5 cm long with an oblique base and irregularly serrated margins. Flowers are bisexual, white, funnel shaped, sweetly scented, stalked with average diameter of fully opened flower about 1.12 cm. Each inflorescence is bearing 60-90 flowers. Fruits are ovoid and wrinkled, 2.5 cm long and 0.3 cm in diameter. Fruits are bi-seeded, green in the beginning and gets purplish black when ripen. Seeds are dark green in color and approx. 11 mm long and 8 mm in diameter.

Chemical composition: The most importantly used part of the plant is leaf which has alkaline, bitter and pungent taste. Leaves are aromatic and contain proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, carotene, nicotinic acid, folic acid and vitamin C. It also contains high amount of oxalic acid, crystalline glycosides, carbazole alkaloids and resin. Fresh leaves contain yellow colored volatile oil which is also rich in vitamin A and calcium. Some other alkaloids are girinimbin, iso-mahanimbin, koenine, koenigine, koenidine, koenimbine, Mahanimbicine, bicyclomahanimbicine, phebalosin, coumarine. Triterpenoid alkaloids like cyclomahanimbine and tetrahydromahanmbine are also reported.

Therapeutically useful part: Leaves, bark and roots.

Therapeutic uses: Leaves and crude organic extracts of leaves are useful in diabetes, hyperlipidemia, diarrhea, dysentery, nausea and peptic ulcer and is a good carminative. It also has anticytotoxic and antioxidant activity with antimicrobial potential. The twigs are very popular for cleaning the teeth and are helpful in gingivitis. Leaves are useful in hair-fall and are known to be effective in treating premature graying. It can also be applied externally to bruises and eruptions and to heal wounds. The calcium content in the leaves helps to strengthen the bones.

Doses: Leaves — 3 to 6 grams twice a day.

Dr. Pratibha Mamgain, Department of Ayurvedic Medicine