Betel Vine
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Betel Vine
P Native Photo: Saroj Kasaju
Common name: Betel Vine, Betel • Hindi: पान Paan, Nagar-bel • Kannada: ವೀಳೆಯ Veeleya, ವೀಳೆಯದೆಲೆ/ಗಿಡ Veeleyada ele (leaf) ಗಿಡ (plant), ತಾಂಬೂಲ Taamboola • Malayalam: ബീടലാ Beetla, Vettila • Manipuri: ꯀ꯭ꯋꯥ Kwa • Marathi: खाव्याचे पान Khavayache-pan, naagavaela • Nepali: पान Paan • Sanskrit: ताम्बूल Tambula, नागवल्ली Nagavalli • Tamil: வெத்திலை Vettilai, Akilatam, Vetrilai • Urdu: Desi paan دیسی پان • Mizo: Panruang
Botanical name: Piper betle    Family: Piperaceae (Pepper family)
Synonyms: Piper chawya, Piper malamiris, Piper densum

Betel Vine is an evergreen and perennial creeper, with glossy heart-shaped leaves, producing woody stems 5-20 m long. The stems produce adventitious roots, with which they can adhere to other plants etc for support. Leaves are light green to bright green, glossy, deeply veined and hairless. They are heart-shaped with entire leaf margin. Lleaf stalk is reddish like the stem. Flowers are white catkins developed on the nodes, erect or pendulous. Flowers are small, without sepal and petal. Fruits are fleshy, spherical to ellipsoidal. The primary use of betel leaf is as a wrap for chewing of betel nut or tobacco where it is mainly used to add flavour. Betel vine is native to India and SE Asia.
Medicinal uses: The leaves, roots and seeds are all used for medicinal purposes in Asia. Leaf preparations and the leaf sap are applied to wounds, ulcers, boils and bruises. Heated leaves are applied as a poultice on the chest against cough and asthma, on the breasts to stop milk secretion, and on the abdomen to relieve constipation. The leaves are also used to treat nosebleed, ulcerated noses, gums and mucous membranes while the extract from the leaves is applied for wounds in the ears and as an infusion for the eye. A decoction of the leaves is used to bathe a woman after childbirth, or is drunk to lessen an unpleasant body odour.

Identification credit: Saroj Kasaju Photographed in Kalimpong, West Bengal.

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