An overview of India’s most Favourite digestive material - Paan
An overview of India’s most Favourite digestive material - Paan | Credit: Desi Dairies

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An overview of India’s most Favourite digestive material - Paan

Aug 13, 2018

Paan and Paanwalas are always on the list of Indians while returning after delicious dinner in restaurant or while attending a wedding or some other party. For Paan lovers it is like dessert or a most effective digestive material. The Paanwalas who are generally from Lucknow, Banaras or Bihar are the experts in their work. They make the paan of your favourite flavour within no time. Whether you demand a ‘meetha paan’ or the real one with supari and katha or some other flavour, they will customise it for you readily. Every Indian might have tasted this mouth-freshener at least once. Do you want to know more about it? Let’s have an overview which will present you with some interesting information about it.

Know about ‘Paan’

It is said that, there are different varieties of Paan being used; however, the most constant one is betel leaf. The material used along with changes accordingly. For example, considering Banarasi Paan, it has large number of alterations when it comes to filling material, but the meetha or sweet Paan is the most favourite one. It is important to note here, betel leaf not only has digestive properties, but also have numerous medicinal properties. It is an effective remedy for ‘kapha dosha’. It is a rich source of calcium. It is capable of controlling sugar level, curing cough and cold. In many of the countries, betel leaves are used to get relief from joint pains and headaches. These leaves can also be used for the treatment of toothache and asthma. So, it can be included in Indian food as medicine. 

Credit: Hungryforever
Credit: Hungryforever

Mythological connection

It is believed that Lord Krishna was an expert of Paan. So, the consumption of betel leaf has a mythological connection. May be, this is why Paan is used as a part of some Indian ceremonies and rituals. In recent times, Noor Jahan, the mother of Shah Jahan brought the culture of Paan in Mughal Empire. She mostly loved it for its lip-colouring property.

Drawbacks

For everything in this world, there are good qualities as well as some drawbacks and Paan is not an exception. The purest form of the Paan contains supari which is known as areca. It can cause dizziness. Therefore, it has made mandatory to mention on all areca packets, that it is dangerous to health. It also proven through studies that it contains carcinogenic substances, so the excessive consumption can cause oral cancer. So, it is better to avoid supari in Paan and go for moderations like meetha Paan, Chocolate Paan, etc. 

Credit: Dailyo
Credit: Dailyo

Know the terms related to Paan

  • Bhandar- Paan bhandar is the Paan shop.
  • Meetha Paan- It is Sweet Paan made using the filling material like sugar, Gulkhand, fennel and some fragrant materials.
  • Gulkhand- It is made from rose petals immersed in sugar. Along with Paan, it can be added to numerous sweet dishes like Gulab jamun and ice-cream.
  • Katha- It is Hindi word for catechu. It is used in Paan as for mouth-freshening property.
  • Mukhwas- As the name suggests, it is mouth-freshener. It is made up of fennel, grated coconut, sesame seeds, etc. and can be eaten after the meals.

Different types of leaves or Pathas

Patha is a Hindi word used for betel leaf. There are three different types of leaves used in Paan Bhandars. Let’s have a look at them.

Bangla Patha- It comes from West Bengal. The colour is darker and it is considered as the best among all varieties.

Jagannathi- These leaves are grown in Odisha.

Maghai- This variety of betel leaves comes from Bihar. They are light green in colour and are famous for melting easily in the mouth. It is the widely used variety in North India.

This is all about Paan. Now, when you have gathered enough knowledge, next time the Paan will give you more pleasure.