Scientific name of betel leaf: Piper betel
Plant part used: Leaves
Medicinal properties of Betel leaf:
Digestive, Cathartic, Taste stimulant, Mouth freshener, Mouth cleansing, aphrodisiac.
Betel leaf information:
- In India, Betel leaf is popularly known by the name ‘Paan,’ meaning leaf. There are ‘Paan’ shops in literally all street corners of every town and city in India.
- Betel leaf is of paramount importance in Hindu religious rituals along with betel nut (Areca catechu) and coconut.
- It is widely used in India after the meals at auspicious occasions like weddings or festive gatherings.
- Betel leaf is an evergreen, perennial but tender climber with dark green foliage.
- The glossy, heart-shaped, smooth leaves have a very peculiar pleasant taste.
- The climber is easy to recognize and can be found creeping along the ground or taking the support of walls or tree trunks.
- There are dozens of different varieties of betel leaf, but the ‘Maghai paan’ is considered the most appropriate for medicinal purposes.
Betel Leaf Benefits & Uses:
- If betel leaf is eaten after a heavy meal, it lightens the stomach.
- If one betel leaf is chewed everyday, it keeps away indigestion plus our body gets a daily dose of calcium.
- In India, different types of Paan preparations are famous, mostly known as ‘Masala paan’ or ‘Meetha paan.’
- Fresh or dried betel leaf is used to prepare different types of Indian mouth fresheners.
Medicinal paan preparation for daily consumption:
Take a maghai paan betel leaf, add a pinch of sesame seeds (Til), dry coconut kernel, fennel seeds (Sauf). Cover the ingredients by closing the leaf, and you can use clove (laung) to seal it up. Chew this medicinal paan thoroughly after dinner or lunch.
Warning: The practice of chewing betel leaf with added tobacco, Lime (Chuna), betelnut and Red kattha can be dangerous to health. It is one of the most significant health, sanitation and aesthetic concerns of the Indian subcontinent.
How to grow betel leaf:
- You can quickly grow betel leaf plant in pots and containers.
- Betel leaf is best grown as a moss stick plant so that climber gets enough room to grow within a pot. The plant can also be produced in hanging baskets.
- Use good quality garden soil mix with extra cow manure to grow betel leaf plant.
- The plant requires full shade to thrive. Do not grow betel leaf plant under direct sunlight. The outdoor shade of trees gives a better result than indoor shade.
- Betel leaf-climber grows very fast and produces lots of leaves for harvesting.
- The plant produces roots on every node that touches the ground or moss or tree bark. Therefore, it can be easily propagated by stem cuttings.
- An old climber can be allowed to grow on trunk coconut tree, a bark of a big tree, on fencing. The plant can be grown on small, wooden trellis.
- Apart from being medicinal, betel leaf is a very good ornamental, foliaceous plant, and can be only grown for its good looks.