Betel Leaves
Botanical Name: Piper betle Indian Name: Pan

The betel plant is a aromatic creeper, rooting at the nodes. The plant has heart shaped, smooth, shining and longstalked leaves, with a pointed apex. It has five to seven ribs arising from the base; minute flowers and one seeded spherical small berries. The use of betel leaf can be traced as far back as two thousand years.

Betel leaves contain tannins, sugar and an essential oil. The essential oil is a light yellow liquid of aromatic odour and sharp burning in taste. It contains a phenol called chavicol which has powerful antiseptic properties.

Curative Properties

Respiratory Disorders 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.

Sore Throat
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 coughs.
Scanty or Obstructed Urination. Betel leaf juice has diuretic properties. Its juice, mixed with diluted milk and sweetened slightly, helps in easing urination.

Headaches The betel leaf has analgesic and cooling properties. Applied over the painful area to relieve intense headache.

Applied locally, betel leaves are beneficial in the treatment of inflammation such as arthritis and orchitis, that is inflammation of the 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 2 days.

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. The leaf has to be replaced, every few hours. After a few applications, the boil will rupture.

A hot poultice of the leaves mixed with some bland oil such as refined coconut oil can be applied to the loins .

Cancer of the mouth and lips has is frequent in areas where the betel chewing is a habit. Other effects of pan chewing like pyorrhoea, cancer of the tongue and cheeks have also been seen in habituated chewers.

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