7 Surprising Medicinal Benefits of Betel Leaves
From using it in religious rituals and eating it in the form of a ‘Paan’, betel leaves comprise a spectrum of curative properties and healing health benefits. Betel leaf is a vine obtained from the family of Piperaceae, mostly had along with Areca Nut as a ‘Paan’.
In India, a sheaf of betel leaves are offered to Gods, elders in the family as a gesture of respect during important occasions and festivals. These glossy, heart-shaped and aromatic creepers are mostly ignored for the umpteen health benefits they render to human beings.
From the host of medicinal benefits, antioxidant and aphrodisiac properties to potent mouth fresheners, the benefits of betel leaves are power-packed.
Betel leaf comprises 85-90% water, which means it has high moisture content and low on calorie. About 100 grams of betel leaves provides 44 calories, 0.5-1% fat and 3-3.5%. The leaves are imbued with essential nutrients like vitamins C, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, carotene and ample amount of calcium. It can be easily grown as an ornamental plant in the kitchen garden and derive the maximum benefits from the same.
Apart from these, it also contains organic compounds and essential oils such as betel oil, chavicol, betel phenol, eugenol, terpene and campene. These organic compounds possess indispensable medicinal properties that are beneficial in treating various ailments and disorders.
Read through this article to get an overview of the astounding health incentives of betel leaf and why you should use them on a regular basis.
Medicinal Benefits of Betel Leaves
Promotes Respiratory Health
Betel leaves hold a significant role in treating respiratory disorders like chest congestion, asthma, common cough and cold. It possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which helps in the management of asthma. Moreover, studies have disclosed that the anti-histaminic activity of betel leaf helps in lowering symptoms associated with asthma. Boil fresh 4-5 betel leaves with pepper and cardamom into a thick concoction, take this mixture to get respite from respiratory problems and chest congestion.
Several studies have revealed that betel leaf powder has the potential to lower blood sugar spikes in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients. Betel leaf is a strong antioxidant that helps in combating oxidative stress and lower inflammation caused due to uncontrolled blood glucose and supports in the management of diabetes mellitus.
Betel leaves when taken with tobacco and betel nuts is the causative factor for increasing the risk of oral cancer. However, it should be noted that betel leaf alone is packed with valuable phenolic compounds that possess antioxidant, anti-mutagenic and anti-proliferative properties. Aside from this betel leaves also contain a wealth of phytochemicals that possess cancer-fighting benefits. Moreover, studies have shown that the chemopreventive potential of betel leaves inhibits the growth of cancer cells and also avert the spread to different organs.
Betel leaves have been used since times immemorial as a natural remedy for stimulating the central nervous system function. The presence of aromatic phenolic compounds in betel leaves stimulate the release of catecholamines which supports in enhancing the sense of well-being and uplifts mood. Therefore chewing betel leaves alone is a simple way to beat depression.
Improves Dental Health
Betel leaf is a quite popular natural remedy to treat dental caries and works as an amazing mouth freshener. Bacteria and pathogens build-up in the mouth are responsible for dental cavities and infections. Evidence has disclosed that chewing betel leaves can inhibit the growth of bacteria. Furthermore, betel leaf guards against dental caries by hindering the acid secretion.
Betel leaves when applied topically over a wound helps in speeding the healing process by increasing the wound contraction rate and total protein content. The potent antioxidant properties of betel leaves reduce oxidative stress and help in quick wound healing. It is also widely used in ayurvedic medicine for treating boils and burns.
Betel leaf is a good analgesic which helps in alleviating pain. Massaging the lower area of the body with betel leaf juice mixed with coconut oils helps in providing relief from sciatica and also easing muscular cramps. Furthermore, the cooling property of betel leaves when applied topically offers respite from headaches.
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