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Sireh Leaf Extract - A summary and reference to claims

The betel (Piper betle) is the leaf of a vine belonging to the Piperaceae family. It is valued for its traditional medicine properties. Betel leaf is mostly consumed in Asia, and elsewhere in the world by some Asian emigrants.

Anthropologists have found traces of betel in the spirit caves in Northwest Thailand dating back as to 5500-7000BC, which is even before systematic and organised agriculture came to be practiced. There have been similar findings in Timor in Indonesia going back to 3000 BC and in the blacked teeth of a human skeleton in Palawan in a Philippines going back to 2600 BC.

The leaf contains Water, Proteins, Carbohydrates, Minerals, Fat, Fibre, Essential oil, Tannin, Alkaloid. It also contains different vitamins like Vitamin-C, Nicotinic acid, Vitamin-A, Thiamine, Riboflavin beside this it contains minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Iodine, Phosphorus, and Potassium (1). The fresh betel leaves possess antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic and antihelminthic effects.

The leaf has a significant antimicrobial activity against broad spectrum of micro-organisms (2). The betel shows the antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus pyrogen, Staphylococcus aureus, Proteus vulgaris, E.coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa etc., beside this the leaf extract also poses the bactericidal activity against the urinary tract pathogenic bacteria such as Enterocococcus faecalis, C.koseri, C.fruendi, Klebsiella pnemoniae etc (3,4). The bioactive molecule thought to be responsible for anti-bacterial activity is sterol, which has been obtained in large quantities in betel leaf extracts. The mode of action may be due to surface interaction of sterol molecule present in the extracts with the bacterial cell wall and membrane leading to alteration in the primary structure of cell wall, ultimately lead to pore formation and degradation of the bacterial components. It is reported that sterol act through the disruption of the permeability barrier of microbial membrane structures (4). Gram-positive bacteria were more susceptible to the inhibitory effects of the plant extract because of single layer and lack the natural sieve effect against large molecules, whereas gram negative bacteria are multi layered and complex cell wall structure (3,5). The leaf has also poses the antifungal activity against many fungal infections (6).

Another property for betel leaves is anti-oxidant activity. Oxidative damage is an important effect of ionizing radiation on biological membranes. It is a chain reaction (7) . Free radicals generated from the radiolytic decomposition of water can attack fatty acid chains of membrane lipid. A free radical that has sufficient energy to abstract an allylic hydrogen from the methylene carbon of polyunsaturated fatty acids can initiate the peroxidative process. Here the presence polyphenols compounds like chatecol, allylpyrocatecol etc. in betel leaf extract inhibited the radiation induced lipid eroxidation process effectively. This could be attributed to its ability to scavenge free radicals involved in initiation and propagation steps (8). The extracts reduced most of the Fe3+ ions and possess strong reductive ability (9). The extract also showed strong hydroxyl radical and superoxide anion radical scavenging property when compared with different standards such as ascorbic acid and BHT (10-13).

Vaginal flora or vaginal microbiotas are the microorganisms that colonize the vagina. It was discovered by the German gynecologist Albert Döderlein in 1892 (14), and are part of the overall human flora. The amount and type of bacteria present have significant implications for a woman’s overall health. The primary colonizing bacteria of a healthy individual are of the genus Lactobacillus(15),] such as L. crispatus, and the lactic acid they produce is thought to protect against infection by pathogenic species (16).

The product Puteri Amani Feminine Wash and RESTORE Feminine Wash contains Piper Betel with extraction method of 30 times steam distillation, henceforth called Actifold 30X. Actifold 30x can inhibit the growth of tested microorganisms: Pseudomonas aeruginosaEscherichia coliStaphylococcus aureusBacillus cereusCandida albicansAspergillus nigerSaccharomyces cereviceae, and Streptococcus mutans. Actifold 30X showed the best inhibition towards the mold Aspergillus niger and showed fair inhibition towards yeast and bacteria tested. The standardized piper betel extracts Actifold 30x shows good potential in mouthwash formulation using a concentration 2.5 times of its MBC value. There is a great possibility for use of Actifold extracts in other personal care product formulations as a natural antimicrobial agent.

Other phenolic compounds present in Actifold could contribute to its antimicrobial activity, so that Actifold is more effective in inhibition of the mold Aspergillus niger even though it has smaller concentration of hydroxychavicol.


  1. Guha P., “Betel Leaf: The Neglected Green Gold of India”, J. Hum. Ecol., 2006, 19(2), pp. 87-93.
  2. Jesonbabu J., Spandana N., Lakshmi K. A., “In vitro antimicrobial potentialities of chloroform extracts of Ethanomedicinal plant against clinically isolated human pathogens”, Int. J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci., 2012, 4(3), pp. 624-626.
  3. Agarwal T., Singh R., “Evaluation of Antimicrobial Activity of Piper betel cultivars”, Novus International Journal of Pharmaceutical Technology, 2012, 1(1), pp. 50-58.
  4. Chakraborty D., Shah B., “Antimicrobial, antioxidative and antihemolytic activity of Piper betel leaf extracts”, Int. J. Pharm. Pharm. Sci., 2011, 3(3), pp. 192199.
  5. Scherrer R., Gerhardt P., “Molecular sieving by the Bacillus megaterium cell wall and protoplast”, J. Bacteriol, 1971, 107, pp. 718–735.
  6. Ali I., Khan F. G., Suri K.A., Gupta B.D., Satti N. K., Dutt P., Afrin F., Qazi G. N., Khan I.A., “In vitro antifungal activity of hydroxychavicol isolated from Piper betle L.”, Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials, 2010 ,9(7), pp.1-9.
  7. Verma S., Gupta M.L., Dutta A., Sankhwar S., Shukla S.K., and Flora S.J., “Modulation of ionizing radiation induced oxidative imbalance by semi-fractionated extract of Piper betle: an in vitro and in vivo assessment”, Oxid. Med. Cell Longev., 2010, 3(1), pp. 44-52.
  8. Antimicrobial Activity of Psidium Guajava and Piper Betle Extracts on Selected Foodborne Bacteria. 12 May, 2006.
  9. Manigauha A., Ali H., Maheshwari M. U., “Antioxidant activity of ethanolic extract of Piper betel leaves”, Journal of Pharmacy Research, 2009, 2(3), pp.194-95.
  10. Rathee J. S., Patro B.S., Mula S., Gamre S., and Chattopadhyay S., “Antioxidant Activity of Piper betel Leaf Extract and Its Constituents”, J. Agric. Food Chem., 2006, 54(24), pp. 9046–9054.
  11. Dasgupta N., De B., “Antioxidant activity of Piper betle L. leaf extract in vitro”, Food Chemistry, 2004, 88(2), pp. 219–224.
  12. Pin K.Y., Chuah A. L., Rashih A. A., Mazura, M.P., Fadzureena1 J., Vimala S., Rasadah M.A., “Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of Extracts of betel leaves (Piper betle) from solvents with different polarities”, Journal of Tropical Forest Science, 2010, 22(4), pp. 448-455.
  13. Arambewela L., Arawwawala M., Rajapaksa D., “Piper betle: a potential natural antioxidant.” International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 2006, 41 (1), pp.10–14.
  14. David, M. (2006). “Albert und Gustav Döderlein – ein kritischer Blick auf zwei besondere Lebensläufe deutscher Ordinarien”. Zentralblatt für Gynäkologie 128 (2): 56–59.
  15. Vasquez, A.; Jakobsson, T.; Ahrne, S.; Forsum, U.; Molin, G. (2002). “Vaginal Lactobacillus Flora of Healthy Swedish Women”. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 40 (8): 2746–2749.
  16. Witkin, S. S.; Linhares, I. M.; Giraldo, P. (2007). “Bacterial flora of the female genital tract: Function and immune regulation”. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology 21 (3): 347–354.

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