The betel belongs to the family Piperaceae. It is classified as Piper betle. The betel nut palm belongs to the family Arecaceae (or Palmae) and is classified as Areca catechu.
Betel, common name for a tropical vine (see Pepper), sometimes called betel pepper. In Asia and the East Indies the leaves of the plant, together with a little quicklime, are used to wrap the seed kernel (called betel nut or areca nut) of the betel palm. Chewing this preparation (also called betel) stains the saliva bright red and eventually darkens the teeth. An alkaloid in the nut acts as a stimulant and a tonic.
Elderly people in the Philippines invariably remember a time in their youth when offering a tray of buyo or hitso (native terms for the betel chew) was the essence of urbanity, an act of courtesy and politeness in every house especially in the homes of the wealthy. A homeowner would never fail to offer betel to anyone who entered his house for to do so would be a serious breach of hospitality. On formal occasions, the ingredients of the quid would be served in precious metal trays (bandejados or buyeras) or boxes offered by servants, daughters of the household or even the lady of the house herself.
The betel plant can be a source of various nutrients and chemicals that can be used for medicinal purposes.
Betel oil can be extracted from the leaves. The oil contains chemicals such as; chavicol, betelphenol,eugenol, allyl pyrocatechin, terpene, cineol ,caryophyllene, cadinene, and menthone.
The plant also contains hydroxychavicol, hydroxychavicol acetate, allypyrocatechol, chavibetol, piperbetol, methylpiperbetol, piperol A and piperol B.
Betel leaf is a heart shaped leaf that exhibits unmatched medicinal properties. Betel leaf’s medicinal uses are hugely underrated, but highly efficient. Take a dive into the world of betel leaf uses and get amazed.
Betel leaf is an amazing analgesic that offers relief from pain. It can be used to alleviate pain caused due to cuts, bruises, rashes, inflammation (internal as well as external), indigestion, constipation, etc. You can simply make a paste of betel leaf and apply to it the bruised area (meant for external application). You can also chew betel leaves and drink its juice to get relief from internal pain.
2. Improves Digestion
Betel leaf is good for digestion. Its carminative, intestinal, anti-flatulent, and gastroprotective properties made chewing the leaf after a meal very popular. The essential oil can be massaged on the stomach as it helps in the secretion of digestive acids and gastric juices. For children suffering from indigestion, boil betel leaf with a little pepper in water. Strain it, and give two teaspoons of this mixture to children twice a day for an instant cure.
3. Reduces Gastric Pain
Betel leaf is essentially very helpful in improving GERD. It keeps the duodenum free of harmful free radicals and toxins. This further reduces acidity caused due to imbalanced PH levels of the stomach. Optimal PH levels ensure that bloating is eased. Fowl gas passes through sphincter contraction and expansion. This ensures that gastric reflux is eased. Hence, gastric pain subsides easily with constant use.
4. Promotes Oral Health
The betel leaf helps to refresh breath, protects against germs, bacteria and other oral pathogens in the mouth. When you chew a betel leaf, it cleanses the mouth. It prevents tooth decay. It helps to strengthen the gums and reinforces the teeth. It prevents oral bleeding. This protective shield can be enhanced by gargling, morning and night, daily, with one drop of betel leaf oil mixed in one cup of warm water. You can also boil some betel leaf in water and use it as a rinse and gargle. It also helps to treat sore mouth.
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