The Betel Leaf is an aromatic, anti-bacterial, stimulant herb, with a spicy, clove-like flavor. Belonging to the pepper family, the betel vine, represent goodness of wealth in Hindu mythology.

A recent research carried out at the Pharmacognosy Research Laboratory, at the University of Calcutta, revealed that the Betel Leaf prevents degeneration of cells. The result of the study revealed that three local varieties of betel leaf “ the Bagerhati, Ghanahgete and Kauri have immense potential in preventing cellular damage than tea. An experiment carried on the rats at the Jawarharlal Nehru University, Delhi, reveals that the leaf has the ability to forage free radicals.

Chewing the leaves of the herb while increasing the flow of saliva, also, protects against intestinal parasites. Quite a few studies have even revealed the anti-oxidant properties of the leaf.

Dr. Kamala Krishaswamy, the President of Nutrition Society of India, says that Betel Leaf is a good source of calcium, carotene and iron and also helps in digestion. She clarified that betel leaf, by itself, has no adverse affects, as is otherwise believed to be so.  It is only when chewed with tobacco that they prove harmful. The betel nut which is used in ˜paan is believed to contain carcinogen, a substance that causes cancer, although there is no strong evidence to prove this.

Smearing a dash of lime on a betel leaf and adding quarter teaspoon each of grated dry coconut, a pinch of peppermint extract, fennel and a tiny spot of rose preserve and aniseeds on to the leaf, and folding it in the form of a quid and savouring it after a heavy meal, has its own health benefits.