Updated: December 11, 2022

Curry plants are known for their fragrant leaves that can add a distinct flavor to any dish. These plants are native to the Mediterranean region and have been used in cooking for centuries. In this article, we will explore the origin of curry plants and their role in culinary history.

History of Curry Plants

The curry plant, also known as helichrysum italicum, is a member of the sunflower family. It grows as a small shrub with silver-grey leaves and yellow flowers. The plant is native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, North Africa, and western Asia.

Curry plants have been used in cooking for thousands of years. Ancient Greeks and Romans used the plant for medicinal purposes, and it was also popular in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine. The plant was first introduced to Britain in the early 1800s, where it was used as a decorative plant rather than a culinary herb.

Culinary Uses

Curry leaves are an essential ingredient in South Indian cuisine. They are used to flavor many dishes such as curries, soups, stews, and chutneys. The leaves are often fried in oil or ghee before being added to the dish to release their flavor.

In Western cuisine, curry plants are not as commonly used as they are in South Asian cooking. However, they can be added to dishes such as roasted vegetables or used as a garnish for soups and salads.

Growing Curry Plants

Curry plants are easy to grow and care for. They prefer well-draining soil and full sun exposure. The plants can be grown from seeds or cuttings and should be watered regularly.

Curry plants can also be grown indoors in pots. They require bright light and should be placed near a sunny window. When growing curry plants indoors, it is important to keep them well-watered but not waterlogged.


Can curry plants be used in tea?

Yes, curry leaves can be used to make a fragrant and flavorful tea. Simply steep a few leaves in hot water for several minutes and enjoy.

Are curry plants and curry powder related?

No, curry plants and curry powder are not related. Curry powder is a blend of spices commonly used in South Asian cooking, while curry plants are a type of herb used for flavoring.

Can I use dried curry leaves in cooking?

Yes, dried curry leaves can be used in cooking. However, they have a slightly different flavor than fresh leaves and may need to be soaked in water before using to rehydrate them.

In conclusion, the origin of the curry plant can be traced back to the Mediterranean region. It has been used in cooking and medicine for thousands of years and continues to be a popular herb today. Whether you are growing it in your garden or adding it to your favorite dishes, the curry plant is sure to add a unique flavor to your culinary creations.