Betel Leaves (Paan): 11 Medicinal Health Benefits, Uses And Side Effects

Betel Leaf, which is also known as “Paan ka patta” in Hindi, is a very common India plant. It is an important part of Indian culture because of its wide range of medicinal properties. It also has a great place in many religious activities.  Betel leaves are offered as a symbol of respect and greeting, especially in cultural ceremony like wedding, festivals, or any spiritual occasions.

Health benefits of betel leaves:

In ancient time, primary purpose of betel leaf was as a mouth freshener. But there are various uses of betel leaves which came into light later. Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, is using these leaves from 1000 of years. Here are some amazing health benefits of betel leaves:

1. Anti-diabetic properties:

Betel leaf tend to induce the level of blood sugar low which is great help for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Having 50 ml juice of betel leaf can lower blood sugar level. Diabetic patient also suffer from oxidative stress. Anti-oxidants of betel release that free radical and provide relief and sense of well being.

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2. Lower blood cholesterol:

Betel leaves are rich in eugenol. Eugenol is phenol derivative which helps is cholesterol metabolism. Eugenol also inhibits cholesterol production through liver. Betel also produces lining of intestine which inhibits cholesterol absorption through intestine.

3. Anti cancerous properties:

Anti cancerous properties of betel leaf are still in doubt. Because excessive chewing of paan (mouth freshener dish of Indian sub continent) can causes mouth cancer. On the contrary, the juice of betel reduces chances of intestine cancer. Hypothesis is this; betel leaves have anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic and anti-proliferative component. High anti-oxidants in betel leave help to flushes out free radical which is one of the causative factors for cancer. All these properties help in preventing cancer.

4. Anti-biotic and Anti-microbial properties:

Phenolic compound and phyto-chemical of betel leaves have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. In various researches betel leaves extract found to be effective in gram negative and gram positive bacteria.

5. Wound healing:

Phenolic compound of betel are five times more effective than carbolic acid in Anti-infective properties. Direct application of paste of betel leaves shows rapid wound healing and less blood loss. Betel leaves are also anti-inflammatory and analegic. Hot paste of betel leaves has been found effective in chest pain due to cough congestion.

6. Heart disease:

Betel leaves reduce bad cholesterol and sugar level. It also releases free radical through body. All these help to maintain heart healthy. Betel leaves increase heart rate to some extent and also increases cardiac muscle tone.

7. Cough and Asthmatic attach-

Antibiotic properties of betel reduce chances of pneumonia and other respiratory tract infection. It also has expectorant properties, which help to release sputum easily. Anti-histamine property of betel also controls allergic reaction, thus helps to control asthma attack.

8. Depression:

Depression is an on-going issue of modern society. There are various drugs available known as anti-depressant, but all of them have some or other side effects. Betel leaves is one of the ayurvedic and herbal remedy for depression. Chewing it, activates the central nervous system which causes soothing effect on mood. Aromatic phenolic compound of betel leaves stimulates catecholamine release which refreshes mood and enhance the sensation of well-being.  

9. Oral health:

There is no surprise that betel leaves are one of best medicine for oral health and hygiene. In India, it is a general culture to give betel leaf after meal as it reduces the chance of gum infection and dental carries due to food contains in mouth.

10. Digestive system:

Anti bacterial and anti-microbial properties of betel leaves help to heal stomach ulcer. Stomatitis and intestine infection are mainly due to H.pylori infection. Anti Bacterial content of betel leaves are effective in killing in H.pylori infection, thus helping to heal ulcer and infection.

11. Anti-malarial content-

Terpenes, one of the effective content of betel leaf, shows strong anti-malarial properties. Taking betel leaves with anti-malarial drugs prevent malarial complications and causes minimum side effect.

Betel leaves uses:

There are mainly three forms in which betel leaves are used.

  • Paste- Paste can be applied on external wound, swelling and other health condition.
  • Juice- Boil 1 or 2 leaves of betel with water. Mash leaves in water and drink this solution. You can also have crushed leaves directly and squeeze it and have 2-3 spoon juice of this.
  • Paan- Paan is very delicious Indian dish, which you can find in every corner of India. To make it, betel leaf is used as base, and various ingredients like betel nut, fennel seeds, cardamom, cherry, sugar syrup and more are used as toppings to enhance its taste. All these things are wrapped in one betel leaf and fold it in triangular shape and pin it with cloves. It is mostly consumed after the meal.

Also Read- Onion: Nutrition And Benefits for Hair, Skin and Health

Betel leaves side effect:

Side effect of betel leaves are clearly mention in Ayurveda text too. According to Ayurveda, betel leaf is ushn and teekshn (hot and strong pungent). Excessive consumption of either leaves or juice may cause side effect.

  • Oral cancer- Excessive chewing or chewing with tobacco and lime contents can cause ulcer. Even chewing only leaf for long time is harmful as it is hot in nature and causes ulcer.
  • Heart attack- Betel is not good for patient with low blood pressure and low pulse rate, as it may causes bradycardia.
  • Bleeding disorder- Excessive intake can initiate bleeding in previously diagnosed bleeding case like blood injury, hematemesis (blood in vomit), and haemoptysis (blood in cough or sputum).
  • Renal disorder– Betel is not a good herbal remedy for patient of renal infection as it may cause painful urination.
  • Severe allergy– Some people may be severely allergic to any of betel content. Although it is very rare.


Above article is only for knowledge purpose. Please contact your healthcare provider before using any of above medicine or method. For any query or personal consultation according to your health condition Please Contact Us.

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