Betel leaf plant health benefits and side effects (Paan ka patta)

Betel leaf plant is an evergreen, perennial vine that has dark green, glossy, heart-shaped leaves along with white flowers. The leaves are 15 cm long. They grow well in the shade and needs moist soil with good irrigation. Water must not stand for more than half-an-hour. Here, we will talk about betel leaf health benefits and side effects.

Betel leaf health benefits and side effects

They grow to a height of 5-6 meters in 4-5 months and begin to branch. The stem is woody, dichotomous, swollen, and articulate. It remains rooted at the nodes.

The leaves are simple spiral, exstipulate with 5mm long petioles, channeled with blades oval to oval-oblong. They have secondary nerves in three pairs.

Common name

Its common name is betel leaf. In Hindi, people also call it Paan ka patta.

Botanical name or family

The botanical name for this plant is Piper betle. It belongs to the Piperaceae family.

Geological regions where betel leaf plant grows

The betel leaf plant grows in South and Southeast Asia. It is native to central and eastern Malaysia. You can find it growing in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, and all countries in the region up to Papua New Guinea. Growing betel leaf plant requires hard work.

Betel leaf health benefits for curing disease

Betel leaf has a host of medicinal properties. People eat this after their meal to enhance the digestion. It is a symbol of respect and offered for all religious occasions and celebrations.

1. Carminative

The betel leaf protects the intestine and stomach. The oil from the betel leaf has anti-flatulent properties that assuage the stomach lining and coaxes the gas in the intestines out.

It augments the digestive process since it has the ability to increase the action of the gastric juices. If children have indigestion, boil some betel leaves with pepper and give 2 teaspoons full of this juice to them.

You can use it for relieving constipation. Make a suppository with castor oils and betel leaf stems. Introduce this into the rectum and this enhances the bowel movement. It helps relieve the symptoms of constipation.  For better effect, add cardamom, betel nuts, and quicklime to the betel leaf. For mild action, foment the stomach with the heated leaves.

2. Stimulant

Betel leaf chewing promotes a sense of well-being and heightened alertness. It improves salivation and promotes the capacity of the body to work. By producing a hot sensation in the body, it increases the sweating and helps remove the toxins.

The mechanism behind these effects is still under study. Betel leaf chewing increases the heart rate and widespread cortical desynchronization. This is a state of arousal. This occurs due to the presence of guvacine and arecaidine that inhibit the GABA uptake.

3. Use as an antiseptic

The antibacterial property of the ingredients of the betel leaf helps to restrict the growth of bacteria. You can use the juice of the betel leaf on the wounds and cuts to prevent the onset of infection. Add some honey to the crushed leaves and place it on burns.

4. Use for treatment of malaria

If you have malaria, then you can use the preparation of the betel leaf to get relief from the fever. This is due to its intrinsic anti-pyretic property. Boil some leaves in water with some peppercorns and add honey. Have this twice a day until the fever is gone.

5. Use as an anti-lactagogue (reducing breast milk)

This is useful for nursing mothers who have problems due to infection. They can get relief by having a preparation of betel leaves with honey and milk. Using it, you can reduce the milk production.

6. Use as cardiotonic

The betel leaf promotes heart health. Chew a few leaves daily, and you will get good benefit.

7. Clear the airways

Use the betel leaves as an expectorant to clear the excess phlegm in your chest and throat. Boil some betel leaves in water with peppercorns. Reduce the water and add some honey.

Have this morning and night to get relief from a cough and colds. It helps open your airways and keep them clear of congestion. It also works as mouth freshener.

8. Treat water retention

Betel leaf is a good diuretic. Crush some betel leaves and mix it with diluted milk. Drink this twice a day to get relief from water retention. It also helps people who have scanty urination.

9. Good for the skin

The betel leaf shows nice restorative properties for the skin health. It includes remedial action for scarring due to acne and discoloration due to blackheads and pimples.

Wash the face with water in which you boiled some betel leaves. This will help to prevent the formation of acne, pimples, blackheads, and restore the pH balance of the facial skin.

10. Use of betel leaf to lower blood pressure

Paan leaves contain an aromatic volatile oil. This essential oil has blood pressure lowering, cardiac as well as a respiratory depressant and cardiotonic properties. It is powerful antiseptic due to the presence of the phenol called chavicol. You use this oil as a counter-irritant in swellings, bruises, and sores.

External uses of betel leaf

  • Headaches: The pan leaves have analgesic and cooling nature, you can apply them on the temporal regions to relieve headaches.
  • Night blindness and eye injuries: Mix some of the juice of the leaves with some honey and use it as eye drops.
  • Heal wounds: Use the poultice of the leaves on boils, blisters, and ulcers of the skin to heal them fast.
  • Ease throat irritation: When you have hoarseness of the voice or irritation in the throat, you gargle some water to which you added some juice of the betel leaves. This helps to soothe the throat and give you relief.
  • Respiratory problems: If congestion of the chest trouble you and you have breathing difficulties, soak some betel leaves in mustard oil overnight and apply this oil to the chest.

Side effects of chewing betel quid

Betel quid is the combination of betel leaf, areca nut, slaked lime, and scented ingredients. Often, it contains tobacco in various forms that people use to excess.

This destroys the gums and leads to cancer. Half the oral cancer cases in India remain related to quid chewing. It accounts for the highest mortality rate in India from oral cancer in the age group 30-69 years.

Read all betel leaf health benefits and side effects and use as per your need.



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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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