Indian scientists unlocking betel leaf’s health secrets

Kolkata, Jan 31 (IANS) The next time you hear the words “Meetha patta” or “Madrasi patta”, don’t ignore the humble heart-shaped popular mouth-freshener. Paan or betel leaf could provide the key to unlock an arsenal of anti-inflammatory drugs, claim Indian researchers.

Scientists at University of Calcutta and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology here have examined nine varieties of betel leaf and identified the ones that can reduce inflammation.

A part of India’s food culture, ayurvedic texts have mentioned the medicinal properties and therapeutic effects of betel leaf.

“Usually people generalise paan as one variety and don’t know that some varieties could be causing them harm in the long run,” Ena Ray Banerjee of the university’s Immunology and Regenerative Medicine Research Laboratory told IANS.

“Among the nine varieties, five showed anti-inflammatory properties, one showed the tendency to cause inflammation and three didn’t show significant anti-inflammatory activity,” Banerjee said on the sidelines of the “Frontiers in Translational and Regenerative Biology” conference on Sunday.

The findings were presented at the conference and, according to Banerjee, will pave the way for the “possible development of new class of anti-inflammatory drugs”.

Inflammation, such as pain, soreness or swellings, are important immune responses and several naturally occurring products as leafy greens have the power to curb inflammation and prevent diseases.

Banerjee said the study also links environmental influence to the anti-inflammatory attributes of paan.

“The soil and nutrient conditions, climate and farming profile impacts the kind of functional role the leaves have,” Banerjee said, adding that focused biodiversity conservation policies should be a major thrust area.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of or any employee thereof. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here