Can betel leaves really help clear a baby’s nose congestion?

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A Malaysian mum shared this betel leaf home remedy for clogged nose that she says helped clear her baby's congestion.

A blocked nose in a young child is tough on both mommy and baby. Babies find it hard to breathe, eat and sleep, and mommy suffers just watching her child struggle.

As such, many moms search for and try unique home remedies to help their little ones get through mild illnesses, such as cough, cold and congestion.

This is exactly what Malaysian mommy Shikin Jaiz did when her little one had a badly blocked nose. She used a traditional remedy using betel leaves to ease her child's congestion.

We must admit, we were intrigued by her post - just look at all that snot that has come out!

Here's what she did:
  • Gently steam 4-5 betel leaves until they are comfortably warm.
  • Apply a mentholated balm (she used Vicks) on the child's chest in a thin layer.
  • Next, cover the area with the warm betel leaves. Leave them on for 10-15 minutes.

She says the results are truly remarkable (as you can see in the pictures) and really helped thin the mucus and draw it out.

Healing properties of betel leaf

Traditionally (in both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine), betel leaves are used to assist with stomach pain and also ease redness and irritation caused by rashes and other skin conditions. They are believed to have antiseptic properties.

According to an article published in South Asian Journal of Cancer

"Importance of BL (betel leaf) has been described in ancient books of Ayurveda. Use of BL was known for centuries for its curative properties.

In Chinese folk medicine betel leaves are used for the treatment of various disorders and claimed to have detoxification, antioxidation, and antimutation properties.

There are number of research experiments on BL, where the leaf extract, fractions, and purified compounds are found to play a role in oral hygiene, and to have various properties including anti-diabetic, cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory/immunomodulatory, anti-ulcer, hepato-protective, anti-infective, etc.,

Patents were also awarded for some of the biological activities like anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and immunomodulatory associated with the leaf extracts and purified compounds."

It is believed that the extracted oil from betel leaves is 'warming', and as such, can help heat up the body, easing issues such as congestion.

In the Philippines, scientists have found that piper betel leaf extract, or what is locally called ikmo, has the potential to help manage diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders.

However, further testing is needed to fully understand the possible benefits of these heart-shaped leaves on humans.

Safety tips

Moms and dads, keep in mind that like many home remedies, this one has not been verified by a medical professional or institution.

Also, mentholated ointments should be used carefully, with the general advice being you should not apply it on babies under the age of two. If you need further clarification on this, please check with your child's paediatrician.

*Disclaimer: theAsianparent does not advocate this as a method of treating nose congestion in babies. We are simply sharing a home remedy shared by a mommy. 
For any medical condition in babies and children, your first point of reference should be a paediatrician.
This article is inspired by the Vietnamese version of the same, published on theAsianparent Vietnam.

Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore

READ: Healthy Pinoy herbs that are safe for your kids!

Illnesses Health & Wellness Cough, cold, flu, fever