Mysuru, with unique weather, soil conditions and talented people, is home to 18 GI(Geographical Indication) products, and one among them is “BETEL LEAF ” grown exclusively in and around Mysuru city. This article is introduced in two parts as a docu-series. The first part will shed some light on this leaf and in the second part will talk about how the government can help promote the betel-leaf as a “SUPER FOOD” to make its consumers “SUPER HEALTHY”, and to bring “GOOD FORTUNES” to the growers.
Betel leaf – an introduction
Consuming betel leaves has been the culture of Bharathias (Indians) since time immemorial. It is used during hindu religious functions and festivals as an auspicious thing offered to God at the time of pooja. A sheaf of betel leaves is traditionally presented as tamboola as a mark of grace, respect and auspiciousness in the Bharatiya Culture.
There are many varieties of betel leaves grown across the country, each comes with its own taste, flavor and texture. It is generally consumed along with betel nut, lime and with or without tobacco.
Betel leaves as per the tradition
The heart shaped betel leaf is mentioned in the millenia old “Skanda Purana”. The legend says that during the churning of the ocean by Devas (divine forces) and Asuras (evil forces), betel leaves came from the depth of ocean along with other things which Goddess Lakshmi brought to the fore from the bottom of ocean. Hence it (betel leaf) is considered pious by sanatanis.
Mysuru betel leaf (ಮೈಸೂರು ವೀಳ್ಯದೆಲೆ)
Mysuru variety betel leaf is of heart shape grown in and around the of Mysuru city.
Mysuru betel leaves are said to differ from other varieties of betel leaves due to their smooth texture and hot taste. They are protected by the government of India.
The Mysuru variety of betel leaves had a humble beginning over 50 years ago when it was grown in the gardens of the Mysuru Maharaja. It was later spread to 100 acres from Poorniah Choultry in Old Agrahara to Vidyaranyapuram junction, which connects the Mysuru-Nanjangudu Road in Mysuru. Gradually, it was spread to over 500 acres around Mysuru. Unique climate and soil in this stretch is thought to have given the leaves a unique taste that earned it the name ‘Mysore Chigurele’ (Mysore sprout leaf). The leaf has a smooth texture and hot taste.
Every produce has exclusivity and Mysuru betel leaf is no different. It has one, and in order to make sure farmers of Mysuru have exclusive right to brand their betel leaves as Mysuru betel leaf and sell at a premium. The growers association and the Department for Horticulture under the government of Karnataka registered for the Mysuru betel leaf trademark/ brand at the Office of the Controller-General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Chennai. The registration was done under the GI of Goods Act (1999), and in the year 2005 GI tag was granted to Mysuru betel leaf.
Because of this GI tag, farmers on Mysuru are able to sell their produce at a premium, thus making more money than their counterparts from other places.
Benefits of Betel leaf
The betel leaves pack enough nutrition to boost immunity and heal many diseases. Let’s know what these leaves have got
Betel Leaf Nutrition
In a 100g serving of Betel leaf, the nutrients are
- Calories: 61
- Fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 6g
- Fiber: 1.8g
- Protein: 3g
- Besides being a good source of calcium, the leaves also contain vitamins like vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and riboflavin
Betel leaves does the following
- Manages diabetes
- Heals injuries and wounds
- Decreases bad cholesterol levels in the body
- Prevents Asthma attacks
- Protects body from deadly viral/ bacterial attacks
- Helps in overcoming depression
- Treats erectile dysfunction and increases sperm-count
- Improves fertility in women.
Betel Leaf Benefits For Skin
- Nourishes skin by making it hydrated
- Prevents Acne
- Brightens skin
- Removes excessive oil
Betel leaves benefits for hair
- If used regularly, Vitamin C in betel leaves helps in reducing hair fall, promoting hair growth, and preventing premature graying of hair
It is unbelievable that simple heart shaped betel leaves pack a heavy nutritional punch. No wonder, our forefathers made it a habit to eat at least once a day post dinner before hitting the sack. The government should promote it as a food supplement in order to stay healthy and live happily.