The usage of betel leaf is cited as far back as two thousand years. It was found a place in the most ancient Srilankan historic book ‘Mahawamsa’ written in Pali. Betel is originated from central and eastern parts of Malaysia. At a very early date, betel spread throughout Asia’s tropical region and to Madagascar and east Africa. Betel is grown widely in many parts of India. The betel plant is attractive, aromatic slender creeper, betel has an alternate, heart shaped, smooth, shining, and long stalked leaves with pointed apex.
Betel morsel (betel nut and other ingredients folded in betel leaf) or pan supari is extensively taken in south Asia. Offering betel morsel to guests and visitors is a common courtesy in Indian sub-continent. Betel is bit sour in taste but is a popular mouth freshener. Betel leaves usually used as masticatory. It is stimulant, digestive, carminative, anti flatulent, anti inflammatory, invigorating, anti phlegmatic, pain reliever. It eliminates foul smell and is an antiseptic. According to Hakeem Hashmi, outstanding unani physician, betel leaves have been used from ancient times as an aromatic stimulant and anti flatulent. It is useful in preventing secretion or bleeding and is an aphrodisiac, betel leaf is used in several common house hold remedies.
1. Stomach disorders:
Taken betel morsel (pan supari) prepared with catechu, quick lime, betel nuts, cardamom etc. after meals cures digestive problems and eliminates flatulence (caution: do not add tobacco in this).
Fomenting the stomach (incase of children) with heated leaf of betel cures stomach ailments.
Boil 3 betel leaves with little black pepper in 250 GMS water and strain it. Taking 2 tsp. of this decoction twice a day cures indigestion.
ground paste of betel leaves applied on temples relieves headache. One or two drops of betel juice put in the nostrils eliminate headache.
inserting the stalk of betel leaf dipped in castor oil in the rectum, helps in easy movement of bowls and cures constipation in children.
the juice of few leaves should be extracted and applied on the wound. Then a betel leaf should be wrapped over and bandaged. This will heal up the wound with a single application within two days.
5. For new mothers
during lactation, the betel leaves, smeared with oil applied on the mother’s breast helps to promote secretion of milk.
6. Cold & cough:
Eating betel leaves with clove relieves cold & cough.
Eating little bishop weed’s seeds with betel leaf eliminate frequent coughing.
Heat some betel leaves rub with oil (either sesame oil or Castor oil) and keep in layers on the chest. This gives instant relief in cough.
According to Hashmi, to preserve the freshness of mint, coriander leaves and greens etc, for a long time put some betel leaves along with them.