Scientific name: Piper betle. Name in different languages:- English: Betel, betel pepper. French: Poivrier betel. Dutch: sirih. Malaysian: Daun sirih. Sanskrit: Nagavalli, tambula. Hindi: Tambuli, Paan. Telugu: Tamalapaku. Gujarati: Naagarvel na paan. Urdu: Paan. Bengali: Pan. Tamil: vettrilai, Vetrilai. Kannada: Veeleyada yele. Malayalam: Vettila.
Betel leaf is an important part of many rituals. The botanical name of betel leaf plant is Piper betle and belongs to the Piperaceae family. Piper betle (betel leaf plant) grows well in marshy lands. The leaves of betel plant have innumerable medicinal values. It also contains proteins, carbohydrates, and alkaloids like tannin, phenol-arakene. Phenol –arakene has the ability to destroy germs. The oil of betel leaf has compounds such as cardarine and chavibetol. Chewing betel leaf is a good way to ward off bad smell in mouth and also a remedy for bleeding due to weak gums. Chewing aromatic ginger wrapped in betel leaves helps to cure breathing problems. Betel leaf is also good to cure rheumatism.
There are many varieties of Piper betle (betel leaf plant), which make it popular among farmers. The wines of Piper betle (betel leaf plant) are planted seasonally. Betel leaf wines are prone to certain diseases like infestations by worms or beetles, wilting of leaves etc. since the betel leaf is edible, it is not advised to spray pesticides on the betel leaf plant. In case of wilting of leaves we can spray 0.5% Bordeaux mixture on to the plant. For pest infestations spraying neem oil is the remedy. For removing mites that eat leaves, a mixture made out of the juice of Indian borage (panikoorkka), turmeric powder and gruel water is diluted and sprayed. Betel leaf plant is cultivated widely due to its herbal values.
Piper betle (betel leaf plant) can be grown in any type of soil. Rain is an important factor in the cultivation of betel leaf plant. Also the the organic content and moisture in soil are very important factors in cultivating betel leaf. Places with sufficient water must be selected to grow piper betle (betel leaf plant). After planting the wines the soil should not go dry at any cost. The soil should be ploughed thoroughly and channels should be made of three fourth meter to plant the betel wines. If there are more channels, the distance between them must be 1 meter each. These channels are filled with top soil, organic manure, animal manure, and heaped 60 cm from the ground. The wines are separated from the parent plant which is 2 to 3 years old. The wines used for planting should have at least 2 or 3 nodes and 1 node should go under the soil while planting. Wines are planted keeping distance and shade is necessary for the wines at this stage. Moisture in the soil should be retained and support should be given to the wines to grow upwards. Leaves of gulmohar and other leaves can be added at the base and cow dung mixed in water can be added twice in a month. Also ash must be added biweekly. During harvest, betel leaves can be plucked for about a week.