Who isn’t famous with the lines, "O khaike paan banaaras waala; Khul jaaye band akal kaa taala"?
Not only among Bollywood fans, Paan is famous in almost all corners of India. It is a renowned mouth-freshener that has a history of approximately 4000 years.
Something so old is still relevant? How is that possible?
Perhaps it is our cultural rituals that have kept this leafy plant so fresh, just like its taste. For example, betel leaves are offered to gods and elders in the family as a mark of respect during festivals and functions.
Paan is a rich source of vitamin C and can improve your digestion.
In this blog, we will learn the following things about betel leaves: -
- Interesting facts about betel leaf or paan
- How to grow paan plant at home in India
- Care guide for paan plant
- Health benefits of betel leaf or paan
Sounds exciting, isn’t it? Let’s get started then.
Interesting facts about betel leaf or paan
- The betel or Piper betle is a vine of the family Piperaceae, which includes pepper and kava
- The betel plant is native to Southeast Asia
- Paan is an evergreen, dioecious perennial plant. The distinct glossy heart-shaped flowers cannot be missed.
- Do you know that Bengali brides guard their eyes with paan leaves while entering the wedding mandap and do not remove it till the gaze of the groom falls on her?
- It is fascinating to learn that the betel farming industry, supports about 400,000 – 500,000 agricultural families, as per reports.
- There is a tradition of commencing events using beterl leaves in many Hindu cultures. Do you know why? That’s because paan or betel leaves signify prosperity and freshness.
- Across Indian wedding in various regions, there is use of betel leaves and areca nuts. Why? As marriage is a bond that lasts forever, the leaves and nuts together represent the idea of a married couple who are forever together.
How to grow paan plant at home in India
Finding betel leaf seeds is really challenging. There are therefore, only two ways to plant Betel leaf. Either you can purchase the plant from a local nursery store or propagate it from cutting.
Here are the steps you need to follow to grow paan plant at home in India from a stem cutting: -
- The paan plant should be grown in October as this is the ideal season for open-system cultivation
- Use a sharp knife to make a 45-degree incision beneath the leaf node to remove a stem of about 18 cm from a betel leaf plant
- Remove all of the leaves from the stem at this time, leaving only the top two
- Once your cutting is prepared, place it on a windowsill where it can enjoy indirect sunshine after being soaked in water
- Keep in mind to change the water every few days
- You can plant a plant in a large pot or on your garden soil after you notice the emergence of roots
To plan directly for a container or hanging basket, take the following steps: -
- A betel leaf plant's main stem can reach a height of 1 m
- For hanging basket or container gardening, cut stems 25 cm long and remove the plant leaves from the bottom half of the stems
- Now, bury them in potting soil halfway up their length and keep it moist
- Place the pot in a spot that is slightly shaded as well
Care guide for paan plant
The betel leaf plant, or paan, is an easy-to-grow plant at home. It requires the minimal care mentioned below: -
Paan plants grow best in a soil that is slightly acidic, sandy-loamy, and lightly damp. You should therefore use a well-draining potting mix soil that is rich in organic matter, like aged manure. Mix some coarse sand to improve drainage because waterlogging is harmful for this plant.
Paan is a tropical creeper and thus enjoys hot and humid temperatures. The ideal temperature would be between 10 and 30 degrees Celsius.
You should water in such a way that the soil remains moist, but there should not be waterlogging. Waterlogging will lead to fungus growth on the plant. You can therefore let the topsoil dry a bit before watering.
The paan plant doesn’t require fertilizer feeding. But for shiny and healthy growth of leaves, you can provide a balanced liquid fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 every 4-6 weeks. Also, you can apply well-rotted cow manure 2-3 times a year.
Betel plants require sunlight, but not continuously. Just a few hours of morning sun will help the plant’s growth, but mild shade is also required.
There is no need for pruning if you frequently pick paan leaves. But begin plucking the leaves when your plant is 1.5 to 2 meters tall. The act of pruning will promote the development of new leaves.
The paan plant grows best under filtered sunlight. A place in your terrace, garden, or balcony that receives sunlight in a scattered or shaded way will be best. That's because prolonged exposure to the hot afternoon sun will cause the plant's foliage to burn. But also stay away from setting it up on a totally dark site.
Health benefits of betel leaf or paan
Paan has numbing and pain-relieving properties. Betel leaves have been shown in studies to be effective in reducing headaches. If a paste of paan is applied, the pain may be reduced.
Source of vitamin C
Betel leaves are rich in vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, and carotene. They are also a great source of calcium. Therefore, the risks of chronic diseases, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and iron deficiency are mitigated. Plus, immunity is also boosted.
High in water content
Betel leaves have a high water, low fat, and low calorie count. Thus, when you want to beat the summer heat, it is recommended to have paan because it will cool the body internally.
May have anti-cancer properties
According to studies, the phenolic-related substances in betel leaf extract may be able to stop the development of malignant cells. To determine whether betel leaf use affects cancer, however, more research is needed.
Treats fungal infections
Hyroxychavicol (polyphenol), a bioactive substance found in betel leaves, may prevent fungal growth. Still, further research on betel leaves' antifungal properties in people is needed.
May decrease blood sugar
There is a possibility that paan may be useful in decreasing diabetes. Studies done on rats have shown that betel leaves are helpful in reducing the levels of blood sugar. Further studies and their results are awaited if that is applicable for human too.
Removes bad breath
Traditional medicine experts say that paan removes bad breath, thus improving oral health. It also helps in reducing toothache and tastelessness.
Betel leaves, or paan, are advised to be consumed after meals for a reason. Ayurveda claims that it aids in enhancing digestion and eliminates any possibility of bloating. Paan aids in boosting metabolism, which enhances circulation and stimulates the absorption of essential vitamins and nutrients, promoting gut health.
You can gain a lot of advantages from paan leaves. Betel leaves are really lovely to look at. As a result, they improve the aesthetics of any location where they are kept. Betel leaf plants are excellent for beginners because they require little maintenance. You might grow and maintain a betel leaf plant with the help of this blog.
FAQ regarding paan pr betel leaf plant
Is paan leaf good for health?
Research says that yes, paan leaves can be good for health. It is low in calories and heavy in water. It also contains modest amounts of protein and little fat. It is also claimed to be rich in vitamins and minerals such as nicotinic acid, iodine, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2.
What are the advantages of betel leaf?
Betel leaf contains fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and minerals. That’s why they are effective in healing wounds, relieving headaches, treating constipation, and curing fungal infections.
Is betel leaf lucky?
Yes, betel leaves are considered lucky in Indian culture. That’s why they are used in all our religious festivals.
Are betel leaves easy to grow?
Yes, betel leaves are easy to grow. You can grow it from a stem cutting and offer it partial shade in a hot and humid environment for proper growth.
What does paan symbolize?
In Indian tradition, paan symbolizes love and unity. Paan and areca nuts are used in most Indian weddings because they are an unbreakable pair and stand for steadfast love and a strong tie.