English Name: Betel
Nepali Name: Pan
Sanskrit Name: Tambul, Nagabllarai, Saptasira
The betel plant is slender, aromatic creeper, rooting at the nodes. The branches of the palnt are swollen at the nodes. The plant has alternate, heart shaped smooth, shining and long stalked leaves, with pointed apex. It has five to seven ribs arising from the base; minute flowers and one seeded spherical small berries.
An analysis of the betel leaf shows it to consist of moisture 85.4%, protein to be fullfilled.
Healing power and curative properties:
Betel leaves have been used from ancient times as an aromatic stimulant and antiflatulent. It is useful in arresting secretion or bleeding and is an aphrodisiac. Its leaf is used in several common household remedies.
Scanty or obstructed urination:
Betel leaf juice is credited with diuretic properties. Its juice, mixed with dilute milk and sweetened slightly, helps in easing urination.
Weakness of Nerves:
Betel leaves are beneficial i the treatment of nervous pains, nervous exhaustion and debility. The juice of a few leaves, with a teaspoon of honey, will serve as a good tonic. A teaspoon of this can be taken twice a day.
The betel leaf has analgesic and cooling properties. It can be applied with beneficial results over the painful area to relieve intense headache.
Betel leaves are useful in pulmonary affection in childhood and old age. The leaves, soaked in mustard oil and warmed, may be applied to the chest to relieve cough and difficulty in breathing.
In the case of constipation in children, a suppository made of the stalk of betel leaf dipped in castor oil can be introduced in the rectum. This instantly relieves constipation.
Local application of the leaves is effective in treating sore throat. The crushed fruit or berry should be mixed with honey and taken to relieve irritating cough.
Applied locally, betel leaves are beneficial in the treatment of inflammation such as arthritis and orchitis that is inflammation of testes.
Betel leaves can be used to heal wounds. The juice of a few leaves should be extracted and applied on the wound. Then a betel leaf should be wrapped over and bandaged. The wound will heal up with a single application within in two days.
The herb is also an effective remedy for boils. A leaf is gently warmed till it gets softened, and is then coated with a layer of castor oil. The oiled leaf is spread over the inflamed part. This leaf has to be replaced, every few hours. After a few applications, the boil will rupture draining all the purulent matter. The application can be made at night and removed in the mornings.
A hot poultice of the leaves or their juice mixed with some bland oil such as refined coconut oil can be applied to the loins with beneficial results in lumbago.
Problem of Breast milk secretion.
The applicaiton of leaves smeared with oil is said to promote secreciton of mild when applied on the breasts during lactation.
Precaution: cancer of the mouth and lips has been found to be more frequent in areas where the betel chewing habit is widely prevalent. Other ill effects of Pan or Betel leaf chewing habit is pyorrhoea, cancer of the tongue and cheeks have also been observed amongst excessive chewers.
Pan or betel leaf is used with Supari or betel nut, commonly known as Pan-supari, in many auspicious occasions and even in some feasts and festivals. In Pan-supari, sliced betel nut is wrapped in a betel leaf, smeared with lime and chewed. Sometimes, a clove and other species such as cinnamon and cardamom are added. When chewed after meals, it sweetens the breath and acts as a gentle stimulant.
5 to 10 ml