Sirih-Pinang, or Paan (from Sanskrit parṇa meaning “leaf”

It is a preparation that combines betel leaf with areca nut widely used in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Taiwan. It is chewed for its stimulant and psychoactive effects. After chewing it spits or is swallowed. It has many variations. Some South Asian preparations include katha pasta or mukhwas to freshen the breath.

Chewing the mix of areca nut and betel leaf is a tradition, custom or ritual that goes back thousands of years from India to the Pacific.

Betel is a tree that is cultivated in the same way as grapes; Betel has no fruit and is grown only for the sake of its leaves.

To take the betel leaves, put them in your mouth and chew them. A little chalk on them (the dried lime paste (chunnam) is commonly added to join the leaves), and chews them along with the betel. “

The habit to chew betel nuts, known as “buai pekpek” in Papua New Guinea, is often considered an eyesore. Because of this, many places have banned selling and chewing “buai”.

In urban areas, paan chewing is generally considered a nuisance because some chewers spit paan in public areas: compare the ban with the chewing gum in Singapore and the ban on smoking. It is known that the red spot generated by the combination of ingredients when chewed makes a colourful stain on the floor. This is becoming an unwelcome offense in Indian cities like Mumbai, although it is an integral part of Indian culture.

According to traditional Ayurvedic medicine, chewing the betel leaf is a remedy against bad breath but can lead to oral cancer.


The menginang tradition or betel nut chewing is widespread among Indonesian ethnic groups, especially among Javanese, Balinese and Malay; it goes back more than 3000 years. Records of travellers from China showed that betel and areca had been consumed since the second century BC. C.

In the Malay Archipelago, the chewing of menginang or betel nut has become an activity venerated in the local tradition; Being a ceremonial gesture to honour the guests.

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