Piper betle Linn. is a perennial and dioecious creeper with woody stems, which climb by means of short adventitious roots. Leaves are 10-20 cm long, broadly ovate, slightly cordate, and often uneven at base. Leaves are bright green or yellowish in color. Petiole is stout and 2-2.5 cm long. Plant is propagated through the vegetative cutting from 2 years old plant and it occurs in September to October.2
P. betle is cultivated in warmer and damper parts of India such as Assam, west Bengal, Bihar, U. P., Karnataka and Kerala.1 It is also native to Malaysia.2
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Ground leaves of P. betle are applied topically on infected area for the treatment of scabies in District Hyderabad (Sindh).
P. betle leaves contain starch, diastases, sugars, and essential oil. The specific strong pungent, aromatic flavour in leaves is due to the presence of phenol and terpenoids.8,9 Essential oil of leaves is composed of safrole, allyl pyrocatechol monoacetate, eugenol, terpinen-4-ol, and eugenyl acetate as the major components.10,11 Alkaloids, carbohydrate, amino acids, tannins, and steroidal components are also found in leaves.12 Middle part of the leaf contains largest quantity of tannin. Terpenoids in leaves include 1,8-cineole, cadinene, camphene, caryophyllene, limonene, pinene, chavicol, pyrocatechol, carvacrol, safrole, eugenol, and chavibetol. Fresh leaves contain more amount of essential oils, diastase enzyme, and sugar as compared to older leaves.13,14,15
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/ Scientific studies:
Piper betle L. exhibits antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties.1, 16-21 It also has cardio protective and gastro protective and antioxidant activities.15, 22, 23, 24
Piper betle L. leaves are smeared with ghee or medicated oil and applied as a dressing for blistered surfaces or inflamed areas of wounds.2 Leaf is aromatic, carminative, stimulant, astringent and also used as a preventive in snake bite.3 Leaves stimulates brain, lungs and heart.4 It is antiseptic, laxative, and expectorant in cough.5, 6Piper betle L. is used to cure worms. According to traditional ayurvedic medicine, chewing areca nut and betel leaf is a remedy to prevent bad breath.7
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Dhiman, A. K. (2006), Ayurvedic Drug Plants, p. 375-376, Daya Publishers, Delhi-110 035, India.
Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal Plants, p. 307, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt.Ltd.66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
Bhattacharjee, S. K. (2004), Handbook of Medicinal Plants, p. 268, Pointer Publisher Jaipure 303003 (Raj), India.
A. Duke, 2002, Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, II, 73, CRC press, New York, Washington, DC, U.S.A.
Joshi, C. (2007), Handbook of Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 73, Scientific Publisher, Jodhpur 34200, India.
Patnaik, N. (n.d.). An Introduction To The Healing Plants of India. p. 70.
Bajpai V., Sharma D., Kumar B., Madhusudanan K.P., 2010, “Profiling of Piper betle Cultivars by direct analysis in real time mass spectrometric technique”, Biomedical Chromatography, 24(12), pp. 1283-1286.
Bissa, S., Bohra A., Songara, D., (2007), “Traditions in oral hygiene: Chewing of betel (Piper betle) Leaves”, Scientific correspondence, 92(1), pp. 24-28.
Chopra, R. N., Chopra, I. C., (1958), Indigenous Drugs of India. Pub- Academic Publishers 2nd Edition”, pp. 372.
Kanjwani, D. G., Marathe, T. P., Chiplunkar S.V., Sathaye, S. S., 2008, “Evaluation of Immunomodulatory Activity of Methanolic Extract of Piper betel”, Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, 67, pp. 589–593.
Sugumaran, M., Poornima, M., Venkatraman, S., Lakshmi M., Srinivasansethuvani., “Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of sirugamani variety of Piper betle Linn Leaf oil”, Journal of Pharmacy Research, 2011, 4(10), pp. 3424-3426.
Kumar, N., Misra, P., Dube, A., Bhattacharya, S., Dikshit, M., Ranade, S., “Piper betle A maligned Pan-Asiatic plant with an array of pharmacological activities and prospects for drug discovery”, Current science, (2010), 99(7), pp. 922-932.
Chaurasia S., Kulkurni G.T., Setty L.N.,“Phytochemical studies and invitro cytotoxicity screening of Piper betle leaf (PBL) extract”, International Research Journal of Pharmacy, (2010), 1(1), pp.384-391.
Dwivedi B.K., Kumar S., Nayak C., Mehta B. K., “Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) analysis of the hexane and benzene extracts of the Piper betle (leaf stalk) (Family:Piperaceae) from India”, Journal of MedicinalPlants Research, (2010), 4(21), pp.2252-2255.
Jesonbabu, J., Spandana, N., Lakshmi, K. A., “In vitro antimicrobial potentialities of chloroform extracts of Ethanomedicinal plant against clinically isolated human pathogens”, J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci., (2012), 4(3), pp. 624-626.
Agarwal, T., Singh, R., “Evaluation of Antimicrobial Activity of Piper betel cultivars”, Novus International Journal of PharmaceuticalTechnology, (2012), 1(1), pp. 50-58.
Chakraborty D., Shah B., “Antimicrobial, antioxidative and antihemolyticactivity of Piper betel leaf extracts”, Int. J. Pharm. Pharm., (2011), 3(3), pp. 192199.
Ali I., Khan F. G., Suri K.A., Gupta B.D., Satti N. K., Dutt P., Afrin F., Qazi G. N., Khan I.A., “In vitro antifungal activity of hydroxychavicol isolated from Piper betle”, Annals of ClinicalMicrobiology and Antimicrobials, 2010 ,9(7), pp. 1-9.
Trakranrungsie, N., Chatchawanchonteera, A., Khunkitti, W., “Antidermatophytic Activity of Piper betle Cream”, Thai J Pharmacol., (2006), 28(3), pp. 16-20.
Sharma, K. K., Saikia, R., Kotoky, J., Kalita, J. C., and Das, J., “Evaluation of Antidermatophytic activity of Piper betle, Allamanda cathertica and their combination: An in vitro and in vivo stud”, International Journal of PharmTech. Research, (2011), 3(2), pp. 644-651
Verma, S., Gupta, M. L., Dutta, A., Sankhwar, S.,Shukla, S. K., and Flora S. J., “Modulation of ionizing radiation induced oxidative imbalance by semi-fractionated extract of Piper betle: an in vitro and in vivo assessment”, Med. CellLongev., (2010), 3(1), pp. 44-52.
Antimicrobial Activity of Psidium Guajava and Piper betle Extracts on Selected Foodborne Bacteria. http://psasir.upm.edu.my/133/. 12 May, 2006.
Manigauha, A., Ali, H., and Maheshwari, M. U., “Antioxidant activity of ethanolic extract of Piper betel leaves”, Journal of Pharmacy Research, (2009), 2(3), pp.194-95.