Betel is the leaf of a vine belonging to the Piperaceae family, which includes pepper and kava. It is valued both as a mild stimulant and for its medicinal properties.
It is mostly used in asian countries and the word Betel is derived from malayalam word vettila (Vetel means Betel and ila means leaf in Malayalam).
Also known as Pan in Bengali, Paan in Hindi, Tambula and Nagavalli in Sanskrit, and Tanbul in Persian. Some of the names in the regions in which it is consumed are: Vetrilai (Tamil வெற்றிலை), (vettrilai – வெற்ற (vettri, “victory”) + இலை (ilai, “leaf”)),Tamalapaku తమలపాకు (Telugu), विड्याचे पान or “नागलीचे पान”(Marathi), નાગરવેલ ના પાન or Naagarvel na paan (Gujarati), veeleyada yele ವೀಳೆಯದ ಎಲೆ (Kannada), Vettila (Malayalam), Kun (ကွမ်း) in Burmese, Plū (Mon), Malus (Tetum), Maluu (Khmer), Plū (Thai: พลู), Bulath බුලත් (Sinhalese), Malu (Tokodede), Bileiy (Maldivian: ބިލެތް), bulung samat (Kapampangan), daun sirih (Malaysian), daun sirih/suruh (Indonesian),Kebui(Palauan), Pupulu (Chamorro), Ikmo (Tagalog), Gawed (Ilokano),Pu (ພູ) in Lao, and Trầu (Vietnamese), Gaweud/Gawed in (Kalinga), Buyo (Bikol).
In Sanskrit Betel leaf is known as Nagavallari ( a vine which creeps like a naga or serpent), Sapthashira (a leaf which contains seven veins), Tambulam, Vasya (helps you attract people) and Kamajanani.
Properties of Betel Leaf
- It works as antioxidant and thus as an anti-aging agent.
- Rancidity, condition produced by aerial oxidation of unsaturated fat present in foods and other products, marked by unpleasant odour or flavour. Drop a betel leaf to prevent the Rancidity of fats, fatty acids and edible oils.
- Fresh betel leaf essential oil contains Chevicol, which helps to control the bacterial growth.
- Important Note: When you eat the betel quid, it is advisable for young women who want to have children to remove the center vein in the leaf which can lead to infertility.
- Betel leaf works like a medicine. So, the intake should be limited. It was proved in a research that, one who consumes 5-10 leaves a day for 2 years, will become addictive.
- People with high blood pressure should also limit the usage of quid as the Slaked Lime used in it will show an adverse affect on the central and autonomic nervous system.
- Chewing tobacco with the betel quid can lead to Oral submucous fibrosis is a chronic, complex potential potent pre-cancerous ( appox 20% may have chances ) condition.
Betel Leaves Health Benefits & Usages
Did you know that chewing betel leaves can help you lose weight too? When combined with pepper this mixture becomes a potent weight loss tool that shows results in about eight weeks.
Grind 7 betel leaves with salt into paste and mix with water. Take this daily for better results.
Swarna Ksheeri (Argemone Mexicana),Vidanga (Embelia ribes),Ingileekam(Cinnabar), Gandhakam ( Sulphur), Chakramardha ( Cassia tora), Chengalva Kosthu (Safflower), Sindhoor(Vermilion), Ummetta leaves (Datura Metal), neem bark and betel leaves. Mix all these into paste and apply to cure all kinds of skin diseases.
Prepare a fine paste with betel leaf juice, drumstick leaves juice, root of Vinca rosea (Ganneru), pod of Albizia lebbeck (Dirisana Patta) and honey and apply it for eyes in doctor’s supervision.
Common cold and cough
Mix betel leaves juice, Tulasi leaves juice, ginger root juice, black pepper powder and honey and take few times a day.
To get relief from congestion for children, make a hot pack with betel leaf and castor oil on the chest.
For people suffering from headache, the betel leaf is a good cure. It has analgesic and cooling properties. You can apply the betel leaf on your forehead to ease headaches. You can also use betel leaf oil.
For children suffering from hard stool problem, a suppository made of the stalk of betel leaf dipped in castor oil can be introduced into the rectum. (under the doctor’s supervision)
Betel leaves come loaded with goodness of antibiotics. These antibiotics leads to dilated phlegm and reduce the inflammation caused due to constant cough. This improves the digestion. It promotes the oral health.
Take the betel leaf juice mixed with hone to reduce the short temper.
Take 1 teaspoon of betel leaf juice to regularize the abnormal or irregular heartbeat. (Don’t forget to talk to your doctor)
Make a drink with betel leaf juice and sugar and take it to strengthen your heart.
Take a small piece of betel tree bark in your mouth and swallow the juice. Singers and people who give speeches will get a sweet and pleasant voice.
Eliminate Acne with Betel Leaves
First wash your face to get rid of dirt. Boil 5 betel leaves in 250 ml of water.
Boil until the leaves are wilted and water becomes brown in color.
Apply paste of those wilted leaves on Acne and leave for 15 minutes.
Immerse a clean towel in that warm water and clean Acne spots with that to eliminate Acne smoothly.
Erectile dysfunction in men
The use of these leaves in conditions like erectile dysfunction (dhwaja bhanga) are highly appreciated in texts of ayurveda. Chewing 1-2 leaves after meals help to overcome this condition. A mixture of saffron, cardamom, dry coconut gratings, raisins and powdered sugar candy can be wrapped in these leaves to enhance its aphrodisiac properties. This is a known natural herbal remedy for erectile dysfunction.
Simply chewing a betel leaf can help one in quenching excessive thirst.
Eating pan is part of ancient Indian tradition. It is mentioned as a part of healthy routine by Charaka and Sushruta when consumed in limit.