Betel is an evergreen, perennial climber widely grown all over the Sri Lanka. The commercial product is the leaf, mainly used for chewing with Arecanut, slaked lime, tobacco and some other ingredients. Betel chewing habit in Sri Lanka goes dates back to 340 B.C and during that time betel was a prestigious item used by the prestigious society of the country. The origin of betel is believed to be in Malaysia or in surrounding East Asian region and it is said to have been introduced to Sri Lanka and other South Asian Countries by Chinese and Arab merchants. However, over ten wild relatives of betel are found in Sri Lanka.
Products and Uses
The leaves of this plant have a higher economical and medicinal value but from ancient times it has been mostly used for chewing purposes and ceremonial events along with other condiments. This chewing combination in the form of a betel quid could be varied with different ingredients from country to country.
Several value added products from betel has been formulated and those include betel mixed mosquito repellent coils and cream, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, face cream, instant betel quid and pellets.