The curry herb is cultivated in the garden for its pretty yellow flowers. Few of its owners know that it also has healing powers and a wonderful aroma. Some even consider it poisonous. As a result, they miss out on its benefits, even though it thrives within reach. Would you like to change that? Here are a few ideas on how to discover the herb for yourself.
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Is curry herb poisonous?
For someone who has only known the curry herb as an appealing flower, this is a perfectly valid question. Many plants form substances in their roots, leaves, flowers or fruits that are toxic to us humans. No external feature betrays this hidden danger. On the contrary: many of the plants that are poisonous even have the most beautiful flowers. Back to the curry herb: This herb native to the Mediterranean region is definitely not poisonous! It has been valued in its homeland for centuries. Its use is not limited to the vase alone.
Healing ingredients and curry scent
Now that we’ve established that curry herb isn’t poisonous, let’s take a closer look at its ingredients. Perhaps these are even useful for us? And in fact, this is the case in two respects: The essential oils have a healing effect on our organism. And they delight our taste buds with their curry scent. For these reasons, Helichrysum italicum , as the curry herb is botanically called, has been used in its homeland for centuries. Both in the culinary arts and in naturopathy.
How can curry herb be used?
Those who cultivate Helichrysum italicum at home can use freshly picked parts of the plant for cooking and medicinal purposes. However, we can also secure the healing ingredients and the tasty aroma of the curry herb in another form. This allows the yellow flowers to dry well. Depending on the location and the weather, they show up on the bush between the end of June and mid-September. With the large number of flowers can be harvested in abundance.
The Romans gave the curry herb the name Immortelle, which means something like the immortal. A so-called immortelle oil, which is obtained by steam distillation, is commercially sold under this name. If you own a home still and also grow plenty of Italian Helichrysum, another name for the curry herb, you can make smaller batches of the essential oil yourself.
Ideas for use as a remedy
Here are a few ideas on how you can benefit from the healing properties of Helichrysum italicum. Immortelle oil in particular is used here.
A cup of tea that smells like curry is something special in the aromatic world of tea. It’s worth trying just out of curiosity. But especially in the cold season, its ingredients can be useful to us. They reduce the urge to cough.
- 1 tbsp dried flowers
- pour over 250 ml of hot water
- Leave for 5 minutes
- Drink 1-3 times a day
alleviate skin problems
Curry tea also helps externally with skin diseases. Distilled essential oil can also be used for this. Despite the high concentration, it does not cause skin irritation and can be applied pure to smaller areas of the skin. Otherwise soaked compresses are recommended.
- Soak compress in tea
- alternatively, dissolve 10 drops of essential oil in 100 ml of water
Help with sunburn and burns
Sometimes sunbathing was too intense or lasted longer than was good for the skin. You often notice this too late, when it is already unpleasantly reddening and burning. Then the oil of Helichrysum italicum can work wonders. Mix a few drops of immortelle oil with olive oil or almond oil. Rub it into the affected areas of skin. This curry herb mixture can also be used for other minor burns.
rubbing sports injuries
Slight sports injuries such as bruises can also be rubbed with an oil to which 2-3 drops of immortelle oil have been added beforehand. It supports the healing process and relieves pain.
Increase mental well-being
The scent of Helichrysum italicum has a positive effect on our mental well-being. As if we had spent a few relaxing, sunny days in his homeland. Use homemade or store-bought immortelle oil for aromatherapy.
- in a fragrance lamp
- as an additive in a massage oil
- add to bath water
Use curry herb as an insect repellent
One of the ideas for using curry herb relies on the mere presence of the plant. Because the essential oils of the curry herb ensure that the typical scent spreads near the bush. Insects don’t like it at all. The curry herb can thus be used as a herbal insect repellent without having to cut off extra leaves or flowers. Put it on the balcony, terrace or in the house and you will get rid of annoying mosquitoes and flies.
Reduce pain from insect bites
If an insect has already bitten, the bite site can hurt and itch for days. Pick some fresh curry leaves. Rub it on the itchy area. You will soon notice the relief of symptoms.
Use of curry herb in the kitchen
Wherever you think a fine curry flavor is appropriate, you can use Italian helichrysum as an ingredient. Use sparingly at first until you get the hang of the dosage. The herb only develops its full taste potential when it is cooked. When finely crushed, a bitter note spreads quickly. It should only cook for about 5 minutes. It is easier to use whole branches for cooking, which are then removed again.
Curry and rice is a well-known and proven combination. However, the yellow spice powder does not always have to be used for the curry taste. Helichrysum italicum also provides it. However, the rice is not colored yellow, as is the case with the spice mixture. This is ideal if differently colored ingredients should come into their own.
For Asian dishes from the wok pan, Helichrysum italicum can also be used chopped up and eaten afterwards. Due to the short cooking time, no undesirable taste nuances develop. Only the light curry aroma unfolds its power. It is said to taste particularly delicious in combination with the typical Asian cooking ingredient coconut milk.
Season the chicken
Chicken meat can always tolerate seasoning well. Because by itself it is rather mild in taste. Stick a fresh sprig of Helichrysum italicum into the whole chicken or add to the other ingredients. Once the meat is cooked and ready to serve, the branch should be removed. If the curry herb is eaten, sensitive people can experience stomach problems.
Combine with lamb
The curry herb is not an exact copy of the well-known spice mixture. It also brings a fine sage note. It is therefore ideal for seasoning lamb dishes. Here, too, add a whole sprig, possibly combined with other Mediterranean herbs such as thyme or rosemary.
Herb butter with curry herb
Cut a few Helichrysum italicum leaves into small pieces and sweat them briefly in the pan so that they develop the typical curry taste. Then you can mix the curry herb, other desired herbs and butter at room temperature. Leave the fragrant curry butter in the fridge for a few hours before using it as a spread.
Make curry oil
One of the ideas for using the curry herb can please us the same many times. Because with a homemade curry oil you always have the curry aroma of the bush ready to use.
- pick some fresh branches
- clean under water
- let it dry again
- put in a clean bottle
- Pour in the oil
- leave for a few days
For example, you can drizzle the oil over food or use it for salad dressings.