Betel
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Betel

Botanical: Piper betel (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Peperaceae

---Synonyms---Chavica Betel. Artanthe Hixagona.
---Part Used---The leaves.
---Habitat---India, Malaya and Java.


---Description---The Betel plant is indigenous throughout the Indian Malay region and also cultivated in Madagascar, Bourbon and the West Indies. It is a climbing shrub and is trained on poles or trellis in a hot but shady situation. The leaves are pressed together and dried, sometimes being sewn up together in packets for commerce.

---Constituents---The chief constituent of the leaves is a volatile oil varying in the leaves from different countries and known as Betel oil. It contains two phenols, betel-phenol (chavibetol) and chavicol. Cadinene has also been found. The best oil is a clear yellow colour obtained from the fresh leaves. The Indians use the leaves as a masticatory (the taste being warm, aromatic and bitter), together with scraped areca nut and lime.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---The leaves are stimulant antiseptic and sialogogue; the oil is an active local stimulant used in the treatment of respiratory catarrhs as a local application or gargle, also as an inhalant in diphtheria. In India the leaves are used as a counter-irritant to suppress the secretion of milk in mammary abscesses. The juice of 4 leaves is equivalent in power to one drop of the oil.

---Dosage---Betel oil, 1 to 2 minims.

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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

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