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Herbs > Ayurvedic Herbs > Betel Leaves

By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

The colloquial name for betel leaves is pan and its botanical name is piper betle. Betel leaves are known to Indian culture from ages. They are specially included in all ritual performances. Offering pansupari (betel morsel) to honor guests is a common practice.

Betel leaves are not famous in the western world because western food habits are much different than that of eastern. In India and few other Asian countries it is common practice to eat masala pan ( betel leaves stuffed with sliced betelnut and other spices) after food. Betel leaves are in black list of allopathic doctors because many people eat them with tobacco which is injurious to health. One more hurdle is oral hygiene. Overeating of masala pan is bad for oral hygiene. It can start dental caries. It can be a cause of gingivitis, stomatitis, leukoplakia i.e. formation of white spots or patches on the mucous membrane or tongue and oral cancer. If one will take due care of oral hygiene after eating pan/masala pan etc, then betel leaves are a boon to digestive system.

The betel plant is called nagvalli in sanscrit language meaning serpentine growth. The betel plant is a slender creeper which has alternate, heart shaped, smooth, lustrous dark green leaves with pointed apex. Leaves are edible part of plant which is bitter in taste but aromatic. A cultivated taste creates pan lovers but overeating leads to addiction.

Betel leaf is in use from ancient times as a digestive edible. It is anti-flatulent and mouth freshener. It induces secretion of saliva and digestive juices and generates peristaltic wave which is very important for digestion. It helps digestive tract in functioning well.

Betel leaf is considered aphrodisiac i.e. an agent which stimulates sexual desire. It is a common practice to offer masalapan to newly married couple before retiring to bed. It adds to love making and pleasures is a common belief.

It has a diuretic property also. Betel leaf juice given with milk or honey helps in easing urination.

One ayurvedic school has suggested use of betel leaf in aches and pains, especially nervous in origin. It has analgesic and cooling properties. Consuming masalapan after food or after energetic drinks gives relief from exhaustion, travel fatigue or mental tensions. Applying betel leaf over forehead can give instant relief from headache. Betel leaf is a common household remedy used for arresting unwanted foul smell secretions and oozing. In trauma/contusion betel leaf can be a good solution though of a temporary nature. Tying betel leaf with haldi ( turmeric) on minor injuries helps in stopping bleedings. Applying juice of leaves on wound is a common rural practice. In treatment of gout (a metabolic disease marked by acute arthritis and inflammation of great toe with/without other joints), arthritis (pain+ inflammation of joints), orchitis (pain + inflammation of testis) betel leaf can play a good role. This herb is also an effective external application for boils.

In rural areas it is used as a suppository for paediatric hard stool problem. Here it is stuffed with castor oil for better result.

In childhood and geriatric accumulated cough syndrome, external use of lukewarm betel leaf processed with muster oil helps in relieving cough.

Juice of betel leaves with honey or gulkand (rose pedal marmalade) is a good tonic.

In short betel leaves are considered as general stimulant, aphrodisiac and vigor producing. When chewed after food they act as breath freshener.

For further information on Ayurveda and Visit India Herbs For Genuine Ayurvedic Medicines and Nutritional Supplements or contact Dr. Satish Kulkarni




Index
Quick Reference
Alfalfa
Aloe Vera
Arnica
Asafoetida
Betel Leaves
Bishop’s Weed
Blessed Thistle
Burcock
Cascara Sagrada
Cardamom
Chamomile
Chaparral
Chicory
Cinnamon
Comfrey
Coriander
Curry Leaves
Dandelion
Damiana
Echinacea
Euphrasia
Fenugreek
Garlic
Ayurvedic Garlic
Ginger
Aurvedic Ginger
Ginko Biloba
Ginseng
Gotu Kola
Guarana
Henna
Holy Basil
Hoodia Gordonii
Horny Goat Weed
Hyssop
Isapghula
Kalonji
Kava
Lavender
Liquorice
Mullien
Sage
Sandalwood
Sarsaparilla
St Johns Wort
Tee Tree
Thyme
Tribulus
Turmeric

 
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