Karpooravalli is a very highly aromatic perennial herb that is found in warm tropical countries like India, Australia and Africa. Karpooravalli is a succulent plant that can reach almost a meter in height and can be seen growing wildly in villages in India. If you visit any village in South India, you will find karpooravalli plants very easily.
We have plenty of karpooravalli plant growing wildly in our farm. The leaves are fleshy and highly aromatic, they have oregano like smell. They can be used as substitute for oregano in cooking. If we just touch karpooravalli leaves, the beautiful refreshing smell will linger in our hands for a long time. An essential oil is also distilled from the leaves and it also has amazing medicinal uses due to the presence of large amounts of bio active compounds.
It is sold under the name of “Indian Borage Essential Oil”. We can easily grow karpooravalli plant in small pots in our homes. It grows well in full sunlight and also in partial shade so it can be grown easily in a balcony. Karpooravalli needs a well drained soil, if we over water the plant the root will start to root. It is usually propagated by stem cuttings and it can withstand long duration’s of drought and needs little to no maintenance at all.
Karpooravalli Botanical & Common Names:
Karpooravalli Traditional Uses:
- Karpooravalli is traditionally used for treating cold and cough. This is one home remedy that we resort to first when we get a cold and cough, I have given the method of making karpooravalli cough medicine along with the dosage below.
- Karpooravalli is used for treating fevers especially malaria fever. It is a common practice to give karpooravalli rasam to people suffering from cold, cough and fever. At home, we grind the fresh leaves along with little water and consume it for treating all respiratory problems.
- Traditionally karpooravalli is also used for treating skin diseases. We apply the fresh leaf paste as a poultice on the affected area. It helps treat boils and wounds very quickly.
- Karpooravalli is extensively used for treating chest congestion in both Infants and babies. The vapor inhaled by boiling the leaves in water is very effective in removing the chest congestion in babies, you can also apply the juice on the chest.
- Karpooravalli is used for treating headache too. The juice of the leaves when applied on the fore head is a very good home remedy for headache, this is a very popular practice in Tamil Nadu.
- Karpooravalli is also used for treating hair problems. During winter season karpooravalli can be added to the ingredients for making oil bath, it prevents cold and headache during winter season and it also treats dandruff.
- Karpooravalli is also used in the treatment of hiccups, mouth ulcers, skin infections, colic asthma and indigestion.
Karpooravalli Chemical Constituents:
a. Karpooravalli Essential Oil
b. The Whole Plant
The whole plant extract showed the presence of phenolic acid, flavonoids, monoterpene hydrocarbons, oxygenated monoterpenes, esters, etc. Some of the important phenolic acids present are caffeic acid, gallic acid, rosmarinic acid, etc. Some of the important flavonoids present are chrysoeriol, cirsimaritin, eriodictyol, leutolin and rutin, etc.
Karpooravalli Medicinal Uses:
1. Antibacterial Properties:
2. Anti Fungal Properties:
3. Anti Viral Properties:
4. Treats Respiratory Problems:
In India, karpooravalli is widely used for treating respiratory problems like cough, asthma, cold and sore throat. Both the water decoction and fresh leaf extract is used and now even the essential oil is use. This is due to the presence of high amounts of thymol and carvacrol, they are both excellent expectorants.
5. Antioxidant Properties:
6. Wound healing Properties:
Karpooravalli has wonderful wound healing properties too. Traditionally the leaf is pounded into a paste and then applied as a poultice over the wound. Karpooravalli when applied externally for wound healing improves collagen deposition, increases wound contraction and also reduces epithelialization period!
7. Anti Inflammatory & Analgesic:
The reason keelanelli is so effective while taken during cold and flu is due to it’s anti inflammatory and analgesic properties. It helps reduce headache, body pain and also inflammation that is very common during cold and flu. If you are recovering from fever or cold, try drinking karpooravalli rasam or soup for a few days, it will greatly help…
8. Treats Oral Diseases:
9. Treats Skin & Hair Diseases:
Karpooravalli treats many skin and hair problems. It treats hair problems like dandruff and itchy scalp, for treating dandruff, mix the essential oil with a base oil and apply. Karpooravalli treats many skin problems including cuts, burns and allergies when applied as a poultice.
10. Treats Insect & Animal Bites:
Karpooravalli is applied externally for treating scorpion bites and centipede bites. The juice got by bruising the leaves when applied on the skin also acts as a natural mosquito repellent and the leaves can also can be carried if you are going camping to ward of mosquitoes.
11. Anti Malarial Properties:
Karpooravalli is not only effective against warding off mosquitoes when applied externally but also helps treat malaria fever which is a mosquito borne disease. The effect was dosage dependent and it varied from 75 % to 90 % depending on the dosage. You can read the study that supports this claim here.
12. Anti Cancer Properties:
Both karpooravalli and karpooravalli essential oil have powerful anti cancer properties! Karpooravalli leaf extract has been proven to inhibit the growth breast cancer cells and the karpooravalli essential oil has been proven to be effective against lung cancer. You can read the study that proves it here.
13. For Diabetic Patients:
14. Treats Digestive Problems:
15. For Arthritic Patients:
Karpooravalli Side Effects:
Karpooravalli has low toxicity and has been used in traditional medicine for a long time so it is considered very safe. But I would suggest consuming it in the dosage and duration mentioned. We don’t consume karpooravalli daily, we mainly use it as a medicine. I found a study in which a lady developed skin allergy after regular long term use of karpooravalli leaf extract and once she stopped using it, the ulcer healed fast. But this incident is very very rare and I have never seen anyone reacting to karpooravalli like this.
Where To Buy Karpooravalli?
We get karpooravalli powder in many herb shops and also some departmental stores in Tamil Nadu regularly stock karpooravalli powder. If you visit any village in India, you will find this plant growing abundantly. You can collect, dry them till crisp under hot sunlight and use it year round. We can buy the essential oil easily through online shops.
3 Top Ways To Use Karpooravalli:
1. Karpooravalli Cough Syrup:
2. Karpooravalli Rasam:
To make karpooravalli rasam, take a small lemon sized tamarind and soak it in 11/2 cups of water for 15 minutes to soften it. Now take 2 large garlic cloves, 1/4 tsp of peppercorns, 2 small green chillies, 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds and pound coarsely in a mortar and pestle. Finally add in 6 to 7 karpooravalli leaves and pound everything together a few more times. Heat a tsp of ghee in a pan, add in 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp of asafoetida, once mustard seeds splutters, add in 1 red chilli broken and 1 finely chopped ripe tomato and fry till tomato turns mushy. Now add in the pounded spices and fry for a few more seconds. Finally add in tamarind water along with salt and let it boil in low to medium flame till the raw smell disappears. Don’t let it boil, once it is about to start boiling, switch off. This karpooravalli rasam is amazing for treating all cold related problems.
3. Karpooravalli Chutney:
To make karpooravalli chutney, take 3 teaspoons of urad dal and fry in a tsp of oil till golden and remove. You can also add in equal part urad dal and chana dal too instead of adding only urad dal. Now add in 2 red chillies to the left over oil in the pan and fry till it changes color and remove. Finally add in a handful of washed karpooravalli leaves and fry till it is wilted and then add 1/4 cup of freshly grated coconut and a small piece of tamarind and fry for a minute or two and remove. Now add very little water and required amount of salt and grind to a thick but coarse paste. This chutney is usually served along with rice and a small amount of ghee. It tastes wonderful and helps reduce inflammation and pain greatly!