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Murraya koenigii


Bergera koenigii, Nimbo meliodes, Chalcas keonigii, Camunium koenigii[1] [3]

Vernacular Names:


Daun kari

English Curry leaf
Thailand Hom Kaek
Lao Dok Kibe
Myanmar Kyaungthwe
India 0 Surabhi Nimbu (Sanskrit); Kathnim, Gandhela, Barsanga; Karhinimb, Goranimb, Karepaku, Karibevu, Bsaango

Mechia-sag; Bhuin Jamun (Danuwar); Baugureti, Bagaino, Bokini (Nepali) Bhenri (Tharu) [1] [3]

General Information


Murraya koenigii is a member of the Rutaceae family. It is a deciduous tree than can reach up to 7 m high. It has a sparse and open crown. The bark is dark brown in colour. The leaves are alternately placed, odd pinnately compound with 11-21 leaflets. The leaflet is oblong-lanceolate to ovate, curved with oblique base. The margins are serrate and the apex pointed. The flowers are in terminal clusters, white and fragrant. There are 5 petals which are oblong-lanceolate in shape. There are 10 stamens alternating long and short, 2-celled ovary, short and thick style. The fruits are subglobose in shape measuring 0.5 cm in diameter, blackish when ripe, oblong berry. The seeds contain 1 or 2 per fruit.

Plant Part Used

Leaves, fruit, shoot and bark [2] [4]

Chemical Constituents

3-methyl-carbazole; 3,3'-[oxybis(methylene)]bis(9-methoxy-9H-carbazole); 3xi-(1xi-hydroxyethyl)-7-hydroxy-1-isobenzofuranone; 8,8' '-biskoenigine;9-carbethoxy-3-methylcarbazole; 9-formyl-3-methylcarbazole;10-aromadendranol;11-selinen-4alpha,7beta-ol;   bismahanine; bismurraya foline E;  bispyrayafoline;  byakangelicol; byakangelicin;   euchrestins B; girinimbilol; girinimbine; gosferol; isomahanine; koenimbine; koeningin;  koenoline;   mahanimbicine; mahanimbinine; murrayanine;;  cyclomahanimbine; bicyclomahanibine; murrayanol; mahanine;  xanthotoxin; isobyakangelicol; phellopterin;  neobyakangelicol;  isogosferol;  murrayanine; murrayakoeninol; koenimbine;  O-methylmahanine; O-methylmurrayamine-A; murrayazolinine;  scopolin;[2] [4] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22]

Traditional Used:

Gastrointestinal Diseases

The leaves of M. koenigii is considered a stomachic, spasmolytic and helps promotes appetite and digestion. The green leaves are taken raw to treat diarhoea and dysentery. It is also useful in the treatment of intestinal worms, abdominal colic and haemorrhoids. The leaves treat digestive disorders like morning sickness, nausea and vomiting where the leaves are mixed with lime juice and honey. Infusion of roasted leaves can stop vomiting. When grounded finely and mixed with butter milk, it helps relieve stomach upset.[2] [4] [6]


The bark and roots have antivenous activity and is used to treat insect and poisonous animal bites. In Nepal a paste of the bark is used for this purpose while in India a decoction of the leaves with bitters if given to those bitten by snakes. The Indians again made use of the juice of the berries mixed with equal portions of lime-juice to effectively treat insect stings and bites of poisonous creatures.[2] [4] [5]

Dermatological Diseases

The barks and roots are considered as stimulants and is used to cure eruptions of the skin. The leaves when applied on the skin help to relieve pruritus. It is also advocated for use to nourish hair roots which could promote the growth of healthy hair with normal pigmentation.[2] [7]

Other Uses

Indians believed that by taking 10 fresh matured leaves for three months, diabetics could help relieve their burdens of the disease. The leaves also purify the blood and is used in fever, tuberculosis and cases of toxicosis. Juice of the roots on the other hand could help relieve kidney pains.[6] [7]

Pre-Clinical Data


Benefical effects of combination of curry leaves with mustard seeds

Curry leaves and mustard seeds form a frequent combination in eastern cooking. Khan BA et all studied their effects on the body using rat models. They finding showed that the combination did not affect the food efficiency ratio, the haematological and blood chemical profiles including hepatic enzyme markers. Histopatholical studied of liver and kidney did not show any abnormal changes. It has beneficial effects on lipid profile with lowering of cholesterol levels, elevated cholesterol phospholipid ratio and increase in liver and faecal bile and neutral sterol contents. On lipid peroxidation there was an significant decrease in malodialdehyde, increase in hydroperoxides and conjugated dienes and SOD and catalase activity in heart and liver. They found the glutathione levels in liver, heart and kidneys to be lowered and glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidise and glutathione S-transferase activity sharply increases.[7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

Hepatoprotective activity

The aqueous extract plus isolates (carbazole alkaloids and tannin) of M. koenigii had modulating effects on liver metabolizing enzymes, reduction in lipid peroxidation and decreased cellular damage are contributing factors to the hepato-protective activity of M. koenigii. [23]

Acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity

Mahanimbine is a carbaxole alkaloid isolated from the petroleum ether extract of the leaves of M. koenigii. Kumar NS et al[24] found that this compound possesses anti-acetylcholinestarase activity in a dose dependent manner.

Pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity

Birari R et al[25] found that three (DCM, EtOAc and MeOH) extracts of the leaves of M. keonigii exhibited antilipase activity greater than 80%. From these extracts they isolated four carbazole alkaloids viz. mahanimbin, koenimbin, koenigicine, and clausazoline-K which proved to be responsible for this activity.

Antidiarrhoeal activity

Kurryam and koenine are two bioactive carbazole alkaloids isolated from n-hexane extracts of the seeds of M. koenigii. These two compounds significantly inhibit castor oil induced diarrhoea and PGE(2)-induced entropooling in rats. They were found to reduce gastrointestinal motility significantly.[26]

Nootropic activity

Vasudevan et al[27] subjected young and aged mice to feeds of M. koenigii leaves to determine its effects on cognitive functions, total serum cholesterol levels and brain cholinesterase activities. This diet resulted in significant improvement in memory scores of young and old mice and a significant reduction in amnesia induced by scopolamine and diazepam. The brain cholinesterase activity and total cholesterol were also reduced. The nootropic effects of the leaves is attributed to the pro-cholinergic activity and cholesterol lowering property.

Immunomodulatory activity

The methanol extract of the leaves of M. koenigii exhibited immunomodulatory activity by stimulating humoral immunity and phagocytic function. This is evidenced by the significant increase in NO production by mouse peritoneal macrophages and an increase in the phagocytic index indicating increased phagocytic activity. There was also increased in antibody titre against ovalbumin and protection towards cyclophasphamide induced myelosuppression indicating stimulation of the humoral immunity.[28]

Inotropic activity

Shah KJ et al[29] demonstrated the presence of positive inotropic effect on isolated frog heart. This effect was not affected by theophylline, imidazole, propranolol and sildenafil; there was not alteration in K+ and Na+ concentration and not abolished by lignocaine. This effect was inhibited by Ca++ depletion and potentiated when Ca++ concentration was increased significantly. Verapamil was found to inhibit the response. This indicates that the ethanol extract of M. koenigii has the ability to mobilize Ca++ from extra cellular sites.

Cytotoxic activity

9-carbethoxy-3-methylcarbazole and 9-formyl-3-methylcarbazole showed weak cytotoxicity against both mouse melanoma B16 and adriamycin-resistant P388 mouse leukemia cell lines.[17] Khan BA[9] found that rats stimulated with 1,2-dimethylhydrazine(1,2 DMH) and treated with M. koenigii leaves + Brassica juncea seeds had low incidence of colon and intestinal neoplasms. Mahanine[29] is another compound in Murraya koenigii with cytotoxic capabilities. At a dose of 10 microM it caused complete inhibition of cell proliferation and the induction of apoptosis is time dependent in human myeloid cancer cells (HL-60). The cell death caused by mahanine is characterized by changes in nuclear morphology, DNA fragmentation, activation of capase like activities, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage, release of cytochrome C into cytosol and stimulation of reactive oxygen species generation. Basically it downregulates cell survival factors by activation of capase-3 through mitochondrial dependent pathway, and disrupts cell cycle progression. Ito et al[30] concurred on this and recognized two other carbazole alkaloids (pyrayafoline-D and murrafoline-I) to have similar effects. Battacharya et al[31] noted that mahanine also has anti-proliferative activity in acute lymphoid (MOLT-3) and chronic myeloid (K562) leukaemic cell lines and in primary cells of leukemic and myeloid patients with minimum effects on normal immune cells including CD34+ cells.

Antioxidant activity

Most of the healing properties attributed to M. koenigii is due to the antioxidant activity. Of the many compounds isolated the carbazole alkaloids afford the most significant antioxidant activity based on studies of several workers. Tachibana et al[32] [33] recognized euchrestins B, bismurraya foline E, mahanine, mahanimbicine, mahanimbine, koenimbine, O-methylmurrayamine A, O-methylmahanine, isomahanine, bismahanine, bispyrayafoline from the methylene chloride extracts significantly prolonged the oil stability index (OSI) with ability of radical scavenging against DPPH radical. Ningappa[34] purified antioxidant proteins from the leaves of Murraya koenigii and identified them as PI, PII and PIII. PII is the most active as shown by its ability to inhibit lipoxygenase activity, effectively prevented diene, triene and tetraene lipid formation and scavenged about 85% hydroxyl and DPPH radicals. It also reduced cytochrome C and ferric ion, chelated ferrous ion and inhibited ferrous sulphate:ascorbate-induced fragmentation and sugar oxidation to 80-90%.

Antidiabetic activity

To the Indian traditional practitioners M. koenigii has both preventive and curative activity against diabetes. Today, many workers had shown that the leaves of M. koenigii indeed have active antidiabetic properties in their animal models. Its antidiabetic properties is expressed at various levels. Bhat M et al[35] showed that it has significant alpha-amylase inhibitory property thus helping in preventing the sudden surge in glycaemia. Ponnusamy et al[36] found that their isopropanol extract had similar inhibitory effects on the enzyme. Khan et al[37] attributed their hypoglycaemic activity of M. koenigii to be due to increased glycogenesis and decrease glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis in the liver of their rat models. This was evidenced by the increased activity of glycogen synthetase and decreased activity of glycogen phosphorylase and guconeogenic enzymes. Vinuthan[38] noticed that there was an increased in insulin activity in their alloxan-induced diabetic rats on the 43rd and 58th days of treatment with aqueous and methanol extract. They postulated that this effect could be due to either stimulation of insulin synthesis and/or secretion from the beta cells of pancreatic islets of Langerhans. Arulselvan[39] [40] concurred with this and went on to say that the antioxidant defence system was responsible for this effect by decreasing oxidative stress and pancreatic beta-cell damage. Yadav[41] found that curry leaves did not reduce blood glucose levels in normal rats as it does in mild to moderate diabetic rats. However, Kesari found this to be untrue in their rabbit model.[42] Another plus point for M. koenigii is its ability to control cholesterol levels as evidenced in studies done by Kesari[43], Lawal[44] and Birari[45]. To date no one had isolated any potential compound that could be responsible for the antidiabetic activity of M. koenigi.


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

Close monitoring of patients on anti-diabetic drugs should be exercise for fear of developing hypoglycaemia. [41]

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

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  1) Cultivation


    1. George Staples, Micheal S. Kristiansen Ethnic Culinary Herbs: A guide to Identification and Cultivation in Hawaii University of Hawaii Press  Honolulu 1999 pg. 67
    2. Narain Singh Chauhan Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Himachal Pradesh M.L. Gidwani, Indus Publishing Company New Delhi 1999 pg. 275
    3. Peter Hanelt Mansfeld’s Encyclopedia of Agriculture and Horticulture Crops Volume 5 Springer-Verlag Berlin 2001 pg 1012
    4. C.P. Khare Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary Springer-Verlag Berlin 2007 pg. 426
    5. N.P. Manandhar, Sanjay Manandhar Plants and People of Nepal Thimber Press Inc. Portland 2002 pg. 326
    6. Saligrama Ramachandran Rao Encyclopedia of Indian Medicine: Materia Medica – Herbal Drugs Volume 4 Popular Prakash New Delhi 2005 pg. 116
    7. Dr. H.K. Bakhru Indian Spices & Codiments as Natural Healers Jaico Publishing House Mumbai 2007 pg. 67 – 68
    8. Khan BA, Abraham A, Leelamma S. Haematological & histological studies after curry leaf (Murraya koenigii) & mustard (Brassica juncea) feeding in rats. Indian J Med Res. 1995 Oct;102:184-6.
    9. Khan BA, Abraham A, Leelamma S. Murraya koenigii and Brassica juncea--alterations on lipid profile in 1-2 dimethyl hydrazine induced colon carcinogenesis. Invest New Drugs. 1996;14(4):365-9.
    10. Khan BA, Abraham A, Leelamma S. Role of Murraya koenigii (curry leaf) and Brassica juncea (Mustard) in lipid peroxidation. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1996 Apr;40(2):155-8.
    11. Khan BA, Abraham A, Leelamma S. Biochemical response in rats to the addition of curry leaf (Murraya koenigii) and mustard seeds (Brassica juncea) to the diet. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1996 Jun;49(4):295-9.
    12. Khan BA, Abraham A, Leelamma S. Anti-oxidant effects of curry leaf, Murraya koenigii and mustard seeds, Brassica  juncea in rats fed with high fat diet. Indian J Exp Biol. 1997 Feb;35(2):148-50.
    13. Kureel SP, Kapil RS, Popli SP. Terpenoid alkaloids from Murraya koenigii Spreng. IV. Structure and synthesis of  mahanimbinine. Experientia. 1970 Oct 15;26(10):1055.
    14. Kureel SP, Kapil RS, Popli SP. Two novel alkaloids from Murraya koenigii spreng: mahanimbicine and bicyclomahanimbicine. Chem Ind. 1970 Jul 18;29:958.
    15. Kureel SP, Kapil RS, Popli SP. Terpenoid alkaloids from Murraya koenigii Spreng. II. The constitution of cyclomahanimbine, bicyclomahanibine, and mahanimbidine. Tetrahedron Lett. 1969 Sep;44:3857-62.
    16. Wassmuth-Wagner I, Kalinowski HO, Jork H. Isolation and identification of 11-selinen-4alpha,7beta-ol and 10-aromadendranol  in the essential oil of Murraya koenigii. Planta Med. 1995 Apr;61(2):196-7.
    17. Chakrabarty M, Nath A, Khasnobis S, Chakrabarty M, Konda Y, Harigaya Y, Komiyama K. Carbazole alkaloids from Murraya koenigii. Phytochemistry. 1997 Oct;46(4):751-5.
    18. Ramsewak RS, Nair MG, Strasburg GM, DeWitt DL, Nitiss JL. Biologically active carbazole alkaloids from Murraya koenigii. J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Feb;47(2):444-7.
    19. Adebajo AC, Reisch J. Minor furocoumarins of Murraya koenigii. Fitoterapia. 2000 Jun;71(3):334-7.
    20. Wang YS, He HP, Shen YM, Hong X, Hao XJ. Two new carbazole alkaloids from Murraya koenigii. J Nat Prod. 2003 Mar;66(3):416-8.
    21. Rahman MM, Gray AI. A benzoisofuranone derivative and carbazole alkaloids from Murraya koenigii and their antimicrobial activity. Phytochemistry. 2005 Jul;66(13):1601-6.
    22. Chakraborty M, Saha S, Mukhapadhyay S. Murrayakoeninol--a new carbazole alkaloid from Murraya koenigii (Linn) Spreng. Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Mar;4(3):355-8.
    23. Sathaye S, Bagul Y, Gupta S, Kaur H, Redkar R. Hepatoprotective effects of aqueous leaf extract and crude isolates of Murraya koenigii against in vitro ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity model. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2010 May 18. [Epub ahead of print]
    24. Kumar NS, Mukherjee PK, Bhadra S, Saha BP, Pal BC. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitory potential of a carbazole alkaloid, mahanimbine, from Murraya koenigii. Phytother Res. 2010 Apr;24(4):629-31.
    25. Birari R, Roy SK, Singh A, Bhutani KK. Pancreatic lipase inhibitory alkaloids of Murraya koenigii leaves. Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Aug;4(8):1089-92.
    26. Mandal S, Nayak A, Kar M, Banerjee SK, Das A, Upadhyay SN, Singh RK, Banerji A, Banerji J. Antidiarrhoeal activity of carbazole alkaloids from Murraya koenigii Spreng (Rutaceae) seeds. Fitoterapia. 2010 Jan;81(1):72-4. Epub 2009 Aug 18.
    27. Vasudevan M, Parle M. Antiamnesic potential of Murraya koenigii leaves. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):308-16.
    28. Shah KJ, Juvekar AR. Positive inotropic effect of Murraya koenigii (Linn.) Spreng extract on an isolated perfused frog heart. Indian J Exp Biol. 2006 Jun;44(6):481-4.
    29. Roy MK, Thalang VN, Trakoontivakorn G, Nakahara K. Mechanism of mahanine-induced apoptosis in human leukemia cells (HL-60). Biochem Pharmacol. 2004 Jan 1;67(1):41-51.
    30. Ito C, Itoigawa M, Nakao K, Murata T, Tsuboi M, Kaneda N, Furukawa H. Induction of apoptosis by carbazole alkaloids isolated from Murraya koenigii. Phytomedicine. 2006 May;13(5):359-65. Epub 2005 Sep 15.
    31. Bhattacharya K, Samanta SK, Tripathi R, Mallick A, Chandra S, Pal BC, Shaha C, Mandal C. Apoptotic effects of mahanine on human leukemic cells are mediated through crosstalk between Apo-1/Fas signaling and the Bid protein and via mitochondrial pathways. Biochem Pharmacol. 2010 Feb 1;79(3):361-72. Epub 2009 Sep 12.
    32. Tachibana Y, Kikuzaki H, Lajis NH, Nakatani N. Antioxidative activity of carbazoles from Murraya koenigii leaves. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Nov;49(11):5589-94.
    33. Tachibana Y, Kikuzaki H, Lajis NH, Nakatani N. Comparison of antioxidative properties of carbazole alkaloids from Murraya koenigii leaves. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Oct 22;51(22):6461-7.
    34. Ningappa MB, Srinivas L. Purification and characterization of approximately 35 kDa antioxidant protein from curry leaves (Murraya koenigii L.). Toxicol In Vitro. 2008 Apr;22(3):699-709. Epub 2007 Nov 17.
    35. Lawal HA, Atiku MK, Khelpai DG, Wannang NN. Hypoglycaemic and hypolipidaemic effect of aqueous leaf extract of Murraya koenigii in normal and alloxan-diabetic rats. Niger J Physiol Sci. 2008 Jun-Dec;23(1-2):37-40.
    36. Ponnusamy S, Ravindran R, Zinjarde S, Bhargava S, Ravi Kumar A. Evaluation of traditional Indian antidiabetic medicinal plants for human pancreatic amylase inhibitory effect in vitro. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011. pii: 515647. Epub 2010 Sep 23.
    37. Khan BA, Abraham A, Leelamma S. Hypoglycemic action of Murraya koenigii (curry leaf) and Brassica juncea (mustard): mechanism of action. Indian J Biochem Biophys. 1995 Apr;32(2):106-8.
    38. Vinuthan MK, Girish Kumar V, Ravindra JP, Jayaprakash, Narayana K. Effect of extracts of Murraya koenigii leaves on the levels of blood glucose and plasma insulin in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2004 Jul;48(3):348-52.
    39. Arulselvan P, Senthilkumar GP, Sathish Kumar D, Subramanian S. Anti-diabetic effect of Murraya koenigii leaves on streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Pharmazie. 2006 Oct;61(10):874-7.
    40. Arulselvan P, Subramanian SP. Beneficial effects of Murraya koenigii leaves on antioxidant defense system and ultra structural changes of pancreatic beta-cells in experimental diabetes in rats. Chem Biol Interact. 2007 Jan 30;165(2):155-64. Epub 2006 Dec 2.
    41. Yadav S, Vats V, Dhunnoo Y, Grover JK. Hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic activity of Murraya koenigii leaves in diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Oct;82(2-3):111-6.
    42. Kesari AN, Gupta RK, Watal G. Hypoglycemic effects of Murraya koenigii on normal and alloxan-diabetic rabbits. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Feb 28;97(2):247-51. Epub 2005 Jan 12.
    43. Kesari AN, Kesari S, Singh SK, Gupta RK, Watal G. Studies on the glycemic and lipidemic effect of Murraya koenigii in experimental  animals. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jun 13;112(2):305-11. Epub 2007 Mar 24.
    44. Lawal HA, Atiku MK, Khelpai DG, Wannang NN. Hypoglycaemic and hypolipidaemic effect of aqueous leaf extract of Murraya koenigii in normal and alloxan-diabetic rats. Niger J Physiol Sci. 2008 Jun-Dec;23(1-2):37-40.
    45. Birari R, Javia V, Bhutani KK. Antiobesity and lipid lowering effects of Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng leaves extracts and mahanimbine on high fat diet induced obese rats. Fitoterapia. 2010 Dec;81(8):1129-33. Epub 2010 Jul 23.

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