Curry leaf - western medicine

The traditional use of the curry leaf tree to treat diabetes has attracted a great deal of interest. Special compounds have been found which might make it an effective new medice for diabetes sufferers.


There is an enzyme present in our digestive systems which helps breakdown the starch that we eat in our diet to a simple sugar, glucose. It is called the pancreatic alpha-amylase enzyme. Recent research has shown that the curry leaf tree contains special compounds that inhibit this enzyme. This means that the rate at which starch is broken down by the enzyme can be slowed.

This is potentailly a breakthrough for diabetes sufferers. A patient with diabetes cannot control the levels of glucose in their blood. This is usually because they do not produce enough insulin to deal with the rises in levels of blood glucose that occur after eating a meal or sugary snack. Slowing the rate of starch breakdown, by blocking the alpha-amylase enzyme, can lower the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream from the intestine. This breakthrough could lead to the development of a new drug for diabetes. This is important because more and more people, especially young people, are developing diabetes because they are eating food that contains too much sugar. New drugs which have few side-effects are constantly being sought. It may not be too long before the curry leaf emerges as a new a innovative medicine.