8 Health Benefits of Nigerian Curry Leaf (Lemon Basil)

Nigerian curry leaf (lemon basil)

Nigerian curry leaves are tiny leaves used to improve the taste and aroma of food. It may interest you to know that curry powder is not the same as curry leaves. In fact, turmeric is used in making the powder, which is used as spices for our jollof rice, stew, pepper soup, and lots more. What Nigerians know as curry leaf is actually lemon basil leaves. Lemon basil leaves or Nigerian curry leaf is scientifically known as Ocimum basilicum, is a herb grown in parts of Africa for its fragrant lemon scent. [1]

The real curry leaf is another herb globally known as curry leaf, which is also used for culinary purposes. This herb comes from the curry tree, popularly known as the sweet neem tree from the Rutaceae family. In fact, the real curry leaf is native to India and widely used in many dishes, especially the curries. However, as I said earlier, what many Nigerians call ‘curry leaf’ is lemon basil. However, to make this article easier to understand for the average Nigerian, we will be referring to the lemon basil leaf as Nigerian curry leaf. Thus, let us explore the nutritional properties and health benefits of Nigerian curry leaves.

Nutritional Content of Nigerian Curry Leaves (Lemon Basil)

Nigerian curry leaves contain carbs, fiber, amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins, and compounds containing antimicrobial properties. They also contain many vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants such as zeaxanthin lutein, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. African lemon basil are also packed with antioxidants. [2]

Health Benefits of Nigerian Curry Leaves (Lemon Basil)

Nigerian curry leaf (lemon basil)

Although this fragrant herb is used as a seasoning in a variety of dishes, it is known to have lots of medicinal properties and health benefits. Below are some of the health benefits of Nigerian curry leaf.

1. Reduces the risk of heart diseases

An increase in cholesterol or blood pressure levels may lead to severe heart conditions. Adding lemon basil leaves to our diet helps reduces the risk of bad cholesterol levels, which may lead to heart failure. This herb also contains a compound known as Eugenol. The Eugenol in basil is able to block calcium channels, which helps to lower blood pressure. [3]

2. Helps control blood sugar levels

Lemon basil leaf extract is known to possess essential nutrients that reduce blood sugar levels and protect against diabetes and kidney failure. One animal study discovered that an extract of sweet basil leaves was able to reduce high blood sugar levels. The results also showed that sweet basil leaves could be useful in treating the long-term effects of high blood sugar. [4]

3. Protects the liver

Curry leaves are rich sources of antioxidants, which protects the liver from free radicals. The antimicrobial compounds fight against viral infection and other diseases like fatty liver. Multiple studies have shown that this herb has a positive effect on the liver. [5]

4. Helps in weight loss

Nigerian curry leaves (lemon basil) contain a compound that burns fat and lowers cholesterol levels, thereby avoiding obesity. Obesity tends to lead to other diseases like diabetes or kidney damage. Including curry leaves helps regulate our body weight, keeping it in check.

5. Promotes healthy eyes and hair.

As mentioned initially, the leaves are rich in vitamins, which help improve eyesight and strengthens the hair. It is also beneficial for hair growth and getting rid of dandruff.

6. Prevents cancer

Lemon basil leaves contain a lot of powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative stress and kill off cancer cells. The herb contains antioxidants such as Eugenol, limonene, anthocyanins, and beta-carotene, which destroy the free radicals in your body. [6]

 7. Fights inflammation and swelling

Along with the numerous antioxidants, basil leaves contain essential oils such as linalool and citronellol, which help fight against inflammation and swelling in the body. The leaves also have antibacterial properties, which protect you against urinary, respiratory, and skin infections. [7]

8. Good for mental health

Even though there is little research to confirm this health benefit, lemon basil leaves might be helpful in improving mental health. The antioxidants and compounds present in the leaves can ward off anxiety and depression, reduce the risk of age-related memory loss, and boost memory. [8]


Nigerian curry leaves are actually lemon basil. They offer a colorful and flavorful addition to many different dishes such as stews, soups, noodles, and jollof rice. They also have uses medicinally. The health benefits of lemon basil included its ability to protect heart health, lower blood sugar and prevent cancer, etc. It is advisable to eat fresh lemon basil instead of dried ones.




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