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Vetrilai in English | TamalaPaku | Betel Leaf Uses:
Vetrilai is the Tamil Name of Betel Leaf. It is called as TamalaPaku in Telugu. The scientific name is Piper betle. Vetrilai, also known as Tamalapaku looks beautiful in its heart shape. The betel leaf has a beautiful green color naturally. The leaf is very soft and smooth. Vetrilai Malai is offered to Lord Hanuman(Anjaneyar) in Tamil Nadu widely. You can find betel leaf in Tamil Nadu in any naatu marunthu kadai(country drug stores) and shops outside Temples especially Anjaneyar Temple. The women who sell flowers also sell betel leaf. If you are going to get only 1 or 2 vetrilai when you buy flowers, they will mostly offer it for free. In all wedding halls, Tamalapaku is offered after lunch. Kotta Paakku and Chunnambu are offered along with Vetrilai. Nowadays, sweet beeda has replaced that combination. Since Tamalapaku is good for digestion, it was offered after lunch in functions like wedding. Chunnambu is the Tamil Name of Slaked Lime. Kotta Paakku is the Tamil Name of Areca Nut.
Betel Leaf is also offered whenever we give Tamboolam. All Tamboolam covers will be given with at least 2 betel leaves in it.
According to a journal published, The betel leaf has nutritional properties and contain anticarcinogens.
Reference - http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/JHE/JHE-19-0-000-000-2006-Web/JHE-19-2-000-000-2006-Abstract-PDF/JHE-19-2-087-093-2006-1405-Guha-P/JHE-19-2-087-093-2006-1405-Guha-P-Text.pdf#search=%22betel%20leaf%20neglected%20gold%22
Whereas, according to an article in NCBI, there are different research experiments showing that the leaf extract, fractions, and purified compounds play a role in oral hygiene. It is also said to have anti-diabetic, cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-ulcer, anti-infective etc. Betel leaves were used as an antiseptic, breath-freshener and stimulant.
There were various experiments suggested that there is no harmful effect when Tamalapaku is chewed alone.
Chewing of quid even with betel leaves are not recommended.