According to bhagvad gita, the food that promotes longevity, virtue, strength, health and happiness are juicy, smooth, substantial and agreeable to stomach. Betel leaf perfectly fits into this description. It is important not only in religious ceremonies but is also beneficial for health. let us see the valuable Health Benefits of Betel leaf ( Pan / Paan ka patta / Tambulam ).
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Betel leaf most commonly known as paan is embedded in people’s mind because of the famous song “Khai ke paan banaraswala”. But betel leaf has been cultivated in India for thousands of years and has seeped into Ayurveda.
The betel plant is a creeper, with heart-shaped leaves. You will find betel plant mainly in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Betel leaves have a huge importance in Indian customs. It is one of the ingredients used for auspicious ceremonies. Betel leaves symbolise freshness and prosperity. Along with this, Indians believe many deities reside in betel leaf.
Chinese medicine use betel leaves to treat various disorders. They claim betel leaves have detoxification, antioxidant and anti-mutation properties. Paan treats cold too.
There are white and black tinted betel leaves. The black variety might be constipative for some. And the white variety is good for digestion and cold.
Nutritional content of Betel leaf
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
Health benefits of Betel leaf :
Betel leaf gives relief from pain. It alleviates pain caused by cuts, bruises, rashes, inflammation, indigestion, constipation, etc. Make a paste of betel leaf and apply to it the bruised area. For internal pain chew betel leaves and drink its juice.
betel leaf neutralises the body’s pH which normalises the stomach function. Betel leaf is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants remove toxins from the body via stools. To relieve constipation, just chew the betel leaf and consume its juice on an empty stomach daily. You can also blend the betel leaves with water, keep it overnight and consume it first thing in morning. This will also cure constipation. Also read – How to treat constipation instantly.
Betel leaves are high in fiber. The essential oil in the betel leaf if applied on the stomach helps in the secretion of digestive juices. Boil betel leaf with a little pepper in water and consume 2 teaspoons daily twice to improve digestion. Betel leaf also increases the body’s metabolism. Increased metabolism promotes healthy circulation of vital nutrients in the body. Read – How to get instant relief from gas and indigestion
Acne Cure and Other Skin Disorders:
Betel leaf has antimicrobial and antiseptic property. This is a good remedy for acne, black spots, etc. It reduces skin ulceration, allergies, itchiness, and body odour. Just crush and extract juice from few betel leaves. Add a pinch of turmeric and apply the paste on the acne and allergies. You can also boil betel leaves in water and use that water to wash face or bathe to treat skin problems. Read – How to treat Acne and How to get rid of Acne scars with multani mitti .
Gives relief from gastric pain:
Betel leaf has antibiotic properties. This helps to keep duodenum to get rid of unwanted bacteria. It also balances the pH of the intestines, which reduces the inflammation and pain caused by acidity. It helps release gas from the intestines thereby reducing bloating and pain. Chewing of paan twice or thrice a day helps relieve from gastric pain. Read – How to treat Acidity and GERD .
Upset stomach is accompanied by reduced appetite. The betel leaves triggers the normal gastric secretions that triggers hunger at regular intervals. Betel leaf restores the normal pH levels of the stomach by flushing out all the toxins. Thus, it increases appetite and promotes good gastric environment.
Good for Respiratory Problems and cough:
Betel leaf is said to help treat cough and cold. It relieves chest and lung congestion. Betel leaf is also helpful for asthmatic patients. It reduces inflammation caused by constant coughing. Its antibiotic properties reduce the mucus production. Warm the betel leaf and keep it on chest to reduce cough. You can also boil betel leaves with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves to prepare a concoction to treat cough and cold. Consume this at least three times a day to have proper relief. Read – How to improve immunity in winters.
It is an Antiseptic:
Betel leaf is rich in polyphenols named chavicol. It is a good antibiotic. Thus, it can be applied on cuts to kill germs. The polyphenols reduce the inflammation. Thus, it is helpful in inflammatory disorders like arthritis. Local application of the betel leaf gives relief from pain and reduces the inflammation caused by arthritis. Read – Indian diet plan for Arthritis.
Promotes oral health:
Chewing betel leaf gives fresh breath and cleanses the mouth. The antimicrobial and antiseptic properties protect against oral germs, bacteria and other pathogens in the mouth. It also helps to treat with tooth decay and gives strength to gums. Gargling with water boiled with betel leaves twice a day will improve oral health.
Prevents carcinogenesis in the oral cavity:
Chewing betel leaves increases ascorbic acid secretion in saliva. Ascorbic acid being a potent antioxidant reduces the free radical damage in oral cavity. This reduces the chances of oral cancer. But again betel leaves if consumed in excess quantity with betel nut can lead to carcinogenesis.
Betel leaf use in Ayurveda:
According to the Sanskrit vedas, betel leaf juice was often prescribed as a remedy for infected ears and pus formation and can cure a headache by applying it on the forehead.
Ayurveda believes, betel leaves contain certain elements that help to cure diseases caused by air and bile. A betel leaf contains vitamin C, iron, carotene, fibre, potassium, iodine and thiamine and hence is used widely in Aryuvedic medicines to prevent bad teeth, treat ulcers and acne, help in relieving coughing and even to cure respiratory disorders like bronchitis.
Ayurveda generally uses betel leaf to:
- Give relief from constant coughing
- Eliminate bad breath
- Prevent damage to the teeth
- Treat a nosebleed
- Cure bronchitis
- Treat ulcers
- Relieves itching and red eyes due to irritation
- Stopping the bleeding gums
- Treating acne and eliminate acne
Betel leaves have numerous health benefits but yet they should be used in a limits. Studies show that continuous eating of pan & nut powder leads to oral cancer. A wise selection and method to consume betel leaves is a key to gain maximum benefits from the leaf.