Indigestion is a common problem in urban living. It makes us feel full even when we haven't eaten anything. But, what causes it? Indigestion is caused when the acid in the stomach flows back to the oesophagus. It is also caused when your stomach is inflamed and leads to irritation. It can cause great discomfort like fullness, pain, heaviness and even nausea if not treated well. One cannot completely rely on medications as they may solve the problem temporarily, but may not be very helpful in the long run. But, worry not! There are many natural foods and drinks that may help you calm your tummy without any side effects, and betel leaf is one of them.
Chewing a paan or betel leaf after meal is an ancient food tradition in India. People, post their meals, usually make their way to nearby paan shops to eat paan, while some make them at home by wrapping gulkand, chopped areca nut, dry roasted fennel seeds, coconut powder, honey, cloves and cardamom pods. But, this heart-shaped leaf is much more than just a mouth freshener. It is also known to ease indigestion, constipation and gastric pain. According to Ayurveda, chewing paan after meals eases digestion as it increases secretion of digestive juices, reduces bloating of stomach, relieves constipation and destroys intestinal parasites.
(Also Read: 7 Amazing Home Remedies For Indigestion)
Betel leaf has properties that are carminative, gastro-protective and anti-flatulent, all of which are known to accelerate good digestion. It stimulates the release of saliva, which is the first step of digestion, as various enzymes in it break down food, making it easy-to-digest. But, for the ones who don't like its strong mint-like flavour, the best way of reaping its benefits is by creating oil out of betel leaf and massaging it on your stomach, which will help the secretion of gastric juices and digestive acids.
Betel leaves are full of vitamins and antioxidants like vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and carotene and are a great source of calcium. These antioxidants help manage the pH level of stomach. All you have to do is to soak the betel leaf in water and store it overnight. Drink the water on an empty stomach next morning or you can just chew the soaked betel leaf.
Traditionally, paan was consumed due to its digestive properties. The tradition of eating paan post meals is still in practice. However, it is advised to maintain a gap of at least 30 minutes between consumption of paan and your meal.