Tambul – Pan Chewing: Right Method, Benefits, Contra Indications

Tambul is called pan or betel leaf. Pan chewing is part of ancient Indian custom. It is also mentioned as a part of a healthy daily routine both by master Charaka and Sushruta. Needless to say, it comes with its own bunch of benefits.

pan chewing


Ingredients of pan – Tambula –
Tambula leaf – fully grown, fresh – one or two.
Half a teaspoon (small spoon) of powders of
Edible camphor
Betel nut
Kankola (Piper cubeba) – These are the ones that are mentioned by master Charaka and Vagbhata.
Now-a-days, many other ingredients like fennel, mint, etc are added along with lime powder, to make it more tasty.

Sanskrit verse

Quality of betel nut

As per Ayurveda Mahodadhi, the areca nut used for the purpose of tambula should be at least 3 months old. The nut that exceeds the third month will have the constituents of arecanut in their fullest form and is considered to be cardiac and pleasant to mind.

Time of administration

It is administered after meals, once or twice a day.
The best time for consumption of the tambula is after food, preceded by drinking water and when a person has indulged in heavy quantity of food.  The ideal time would be 1 ghatika [24 minutes] after the intake of food, to be specific.

Ayurveda Mahodadhi

The supari betel  is to be prepared with the powder of  following ingredients –karpoora, kankola, cloves, arecanut, jatiphala, dried ginger, slaked lime, khadira sara, kasturi, chandana powders.

The betel leaf supari prepared with above ingredients improves the complexion of skin, promotes health, intellect, memory, stimulates the appetite as a digestive.

Hence, it is advised to partake tambula both in day and night time after consuming food.

The betel leaf controls the vata; arecanut controls the secretion of the kapha dosha and the khadira sara addresses the pitta dosha. The aforesaid tambula, thus  addressing  all the three doshas, is hence being adviced for regular usage after meals to promote the health of an individual.


It helps to mask  bad breath caused by indigestion, gastritis, due to foods with a strong smell like onion and garlic.
It helps to take out excess secretion of saliva. It brings about clarity of mouth.
Soon after finishing meals, there will be Kapha Dosha dominance. Pan leaf with the said spices helps to keep Kapha in balanced condition.
It helps in digestion of food taken.
In ancient times, at night, the wife prepared a special tambula for the husband. Because of ingredients like camphor, tambula also acts as aphrodisiac.
It brings about pleasant sensation in the senses. It strengthens them.
Useful in sore throat, cough and toothache. Chewing Pan is one of the best home remedies for toothache.

Side effects

Because of its aphrodisiac effect, it is not indicated in students.
Excess of lime powder should be avoided.
Excess may cause burning sensation in the tongue.
Betel leaf is contraindicated in dysuria ( difficulty in passing urine)It is avoided in children, because they feel difficulty in speaking, after having pain.
Avoid excess sweet ingredients. Pan nowadays is made excessively sweet. But it is undesirable as it may increase kapha and suppress the Kapha balancing effects of cardamom and camphor. Excess sweets take away the digestive nature of the pan.
Usually the pan is taken at night. Highly sweet pan is especially bad for night, because excess sweets are better avoided at night.


The tambula sevana is contraindicated in persons suffering from the eye diseases,  hemorrhagic conditions, phthisis, poisonous conditions , tuberculosis inebriated state, stupor, giddiness and dyspnea. – Ayurveda Mahodadhi.

As per Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrathana 2nd chapter,

ताम्बूलं क्षतपित्तास्र रूक्षोत्कुपितचक्षुषाम् ।

विषमूर्छामदार्तानामपथ्यं शोषिणामपि ॥ ७ ॥

tāmbūlaṃ kṣatapittāsra rūkṣotkupitacakṣuṣām |

viṣamūrchāmadārtānāmapathyaṃ śoṣiṇāmapi || 7 ||
Chewing of betel leaves is contraindicated in those suffering from
Kshata – wounds,
Pittasra – bleeding diseases,
Roukshya – dryness,
Utkupita chakshu – inflammation of eye,
Visha – poisoning,
Murcha – unconsciousness,
Mada – intoxication and
Shosha – emaciation.

Tambula sevana as per Bhojana Kutuhalam

When the betel leaves and betel nut are taken in equal quantity it produces color(redness). when the betel nut is more in quantity there is loss of color.

When the lime is in excess it produces bad unpleasant odour, and when the betel leaves are in excess it results in a good fragrance. At night one should consume tambula having betel leaves in excess.

One must take tambula along with jati, lavanga, karpura, takkola and katuka. a person who desires good appetite, clearing of mouth and fragrance should hold this in mouth. The overuse of tambula leads to physical weakness, pallor, ophthalmic disorder and usnaroga(Daha).

Systemic Action

 Digestive system – Cleanses the mouth, Can be used as a mouth freshener, Stimulates the salivary glands, Carminative, Purgative, Anti helminthic, facilitates normal movement of doshas.
Circulatory System – Cardio tonic, decreases Hypertension, Indicated in Cardiac Arrhythmias, weakness of cardiac muscle. It can be used with Digitalis.
Respiratory system – Expels out excessive kapha dosha, Indicated in rhinitis, Cough, Asthma, etc.
Excretory system – Increases urine output, by increasing the blood flow to the kidneys and by stimulating the cells. Indicated in chronic renal disorders and in Dysuria.
Reproductive system – Aphrodisiac, Indicated in Erectile dysfunction
Satmikarana – Balya, improves body strength by promoting digestive fire
Tapakrama – Sita prasamana, Jvaraghna (Indicated in fever)

24 comments on “Tambul – Pan Chewing: Right Method, Benefits, Contra Indications

  • Naresh Bulchandani

    05/09/2014 - 7:39 pm

    Pan Betal leaves etc. are cause of mouth cancer is it right?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      14/10/2014 - 1:05 pm

      Only if unhealthy tobacco is used in making of pan, then it may cause cancer.

      Reply to comment
  • Sowmya Vijaya Kumar

    06/10/2014 - 10:06 pm

    Tambul is taken by Pregnant Woman and Lactating Mothers – can we more insight on this. Which Dosha it increases?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      20/10/2014 - 7:05 pm

      Hi, Tambul can be had by pregnant mother and lactating mother. Regarding betel leaf details, I am going to write an article very shortly.

      Reply to comment
  • anwar popi

    22/02/2015 - 8:00 pm

    eating paan is craziest thing and it straight effects mouth and 6 other cancers ,its known as bad habit

    Reply to comment
  • aditi

    02/02/2016 - 8:33 pm

    whats the right way to have paan with orwithout its veins?

    Reply to comment
  • Samil

    07/04/2016 - 9:16 pm

    is there any measurement for the above please?

    Reply to comment
  • Ash

    21/10/2017 - 1:23 pm

    I chew betel leaves only. Only the leaf and my tongue feels rough. My taste buds also pop up a little swollen on my tongue and my tongue feels burnt

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      23/10/2017 - 6:14 pm

      Hi, It is better to restrict its chewing to only once or twice a week.

      Reply to comment
  • Gaurav

    13/12/2017 - 12:20 am

    Does wonders for digestion, and elimination…
    One additional tip: “Katha” is very harmful, but “Chuna” is panacea.

    Reply to comment
  • Gaurav

    04/04/2018 - 10:57 am

    It may help to include shredded coconut and fennel seeds along with betel leaves to reduce swelling/burning effect. And a tinge of gulkand too if sweet taste is not undesirable.

    Reply to comment
  • Gaurav

    04/04/2018 - 11:02 am

    Betel leaves are very beneficial. It is the “kattha” (blackish paste) that causes cancer and other harm. Chuna (limestone) is actually very beneficial, but needs to be taken in very minute quantity – less than size of a wheat grain per day.

    Reply to comment
  • IamJiva

    12/07/2018 - 5:25 am

    The most mistake in India – is to add Tobaco everywhere
    I do not know how you were so deceived.
    As a result, you spoil Betel and Ganja – which fit for puja to Krishna or Shiva, by “Godless Nasa”- Tobaco – the poison of the fools, plant of uncivilized peoples of ancient america, that cheats the whole western pishachi world.

    Reply to comment
  • Pramod

    15/08/2018 - 9:08 pm

    Thank you Dr.

    Reply to comment
  • Prashanth

    22/10/2018 - 11:48 pm

    I have been having beetal leaf along with wheat grain equivalent chunna from past 1 year now. My wife also ate during pregnancy and after delivery. To realise real benefit one has give it some time. It is working for me…..

    Reply to comment
  • Muhammad Ansari. M

    15/07/2019 - 8:07 pm

    Is there any ayurvedic company make tamboola choorna or anything like that to have with betal leaf?

    Reply to comment
  • Pramod Patil

    17/07/2019 - 10:15 pm

    Yes,In Maharashtra city,Satara-415001 a product called tambul vida is manufactured by Bhave Supari Badishep

    Reply to comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Easy Ayurveda Video Classes

Buy Online Video Courses

Buy Easy Ayurveda Books