“Apple a day keeps doctor away,” Dan took a big bite of Fuji apple.
“Or chew a leaf to keep antacids away,” Juggernaut started chewing a heart shaped shiny leaf.
“That smells strong, what kind of leaf was that?”
“This is Betel leaf from Betel Pepper plant, a distant relative of black pepper plant; hundreds of millions of people in Asia chew these leaves on a regular basis,” Juggernaut continued to chew with his eyes half closed as if he was experiencing euphoria.
“Eating Apple or any fruit for that matter is healthy but never heard chewing a leaf is good for you.”
“This is not any leaf, Betel leaf was in use over 5000 years ago in South Asia; people chew a leaf or two after meals to aid digestion particularly spicy Indian food, chewing a Betel leaf is cheaper and better than using Tums or Prilosec for acid stomach.”
“I just read on the internet that chewing Betel nuts causes all kinds of cancers,” Dan was still on the internet.
“Betel nuts are from Areca Palm trees and no relation to Betel plant; since crushed Areca nuts were chewed with Betel leaf, the nuts were wrongly labeled as Betel nuts, it is misnomer to call Areca Palm nuts as Betel nuts.”
“Is it necessary to eat Betel leaf with Areca nuts?”
“Not necessarily, during thousands of years of Betel leaf use, to get a kick, people improvised Betel leaf with crushed Areca Palm nuts, liquid lime, and tobacco powder.”
“Was it not cumbersome to get all the ingredients together to chew?”
“I am sure it was but ingenious humans made it easy by putting all the ingredients together and wrapped with Betel leaves in a shape of small cone and called Paan; it is handy and small to carry several of them in a pocket and easy to pop into mouth like a large corn candy.”
“It is the most fascinating thing I heard but what it makes Paan chewing carcinogenic?”
“Certainly not the Betel leaves used as wrap to make the Paan; the contents such as crushed Areca Palm nuts, powder tobacco along with lime paste could cause cancer.”
“An old movie Betel Juice has any connection to Betel juice from chewing Paan?”
“The lime paste in the Paan reacts with phenolic compounds in Betel leaf and Areca Palm nuts to produce brick-red dye that turns saliva into bright red Betel juice from chewing Paan,” “The Betel Juice turns the teeth, tongue and lips into bright red and disgusting when spit on the streets leaving large red stains.” “In the movie Betel Juice, two people not knowing they were dead continue to live creating horror in a comical way; the real brick-red Betel juice is the spit from chewing Paan while induce temporary euphoria can lead to cancer,” Juggernaut finished chewing the Betel leaf hoping the spicy curry goat he had for dinner causes no heart-burn.