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Paan which is prepared using tender green betel leaf and areca nut is very popular and widely consumed in many countries of South and South East Asia such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia. There are many variations to the preparation, some might contain tobacco, slaked lime paste also known as choona and a paste that is known as kattha which is a breath freshener.
The betel leaves used to make paan have a range of healing and curative benefits. The leaves contain vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, vitamin C and many more. Chewing paan can, therefore, have a good impact on your health.
- Digestive Health: The chewing action when consuming paan helps to stimulate the salivary glands. This causes the secretion of saliva which contains the enzymes necessary to ensure that the food is properly broken down. This aids in a good digestion. Betel leaves are also very effective in relieving constipation. The extract of these leaves also have good gastro-protective properties and can, therefore, be used for treating gastric ulcers.
- Oral Health: The various variations or ingredients of paan such as the addition of cloves or fennel work as a mouth freshener. The betel leaf too helps to reduce or get rid of bacteria that cause bad breath. Chewing paan maintains ascorbic acid levels in saliva which can prevent and lower the risk of oral cancer. Ascorbic acid is an antioxidant which works to reduce the levels of free radicals in the body, this prevents cancer.
- Treatment for warts and boils: In the practice of ayurvedic medicine in India, betel leaves have been used as a cure for warts and boils. Treatments using betel leaves can permanently remove a wart without any scars. Therefore chewing betel leaves can help to cure and prevent boils and warts from forming in the mouth and other parts of the body.
- Treatment for common ailments: The analgesic properties of the betel leaf has made it very popular in traditional medicinal remedies in India for various ailments such as cough, headache and in the treatment of small cuts and wounds. The slight bitter taste of the leaf has an anti-diabetic property and can be used to control blood sugar levels.
- Treatment for skin disorders: The antimicrobial properties of the betel leaf make it a good natural treatment option for skin disorders such as rashes, acne, itching and body odours.
As with all things chewing paan can be both good but excess of the same can be bad. The health benefits of chewing paan are not widely known and they can be further enhanced by using ingredients that are good for your health. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a General Physician.