Cambodia, the Solomon Islands, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, and Vietnam. It is not known how and when the lime paste, areca nut and the betel leaf were married together as one drug. Archaeological evidence from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines suggests they have been used in tandem for four thousand years or more.
Paan is a ubiquitous sight in many parts of India and Southeast Asia. It is known as beeda in Hindi and vetrrilai or thambulum in Tamil, thambula in Kannada, killi or tambulam in (Telugu), sireh (in Malay language), sirih (in Indonesian), suruh (in Javanese), mark (ໝາກ) in Lao, and bulath (in Sri Lanka). This is also common in some of the Persian Gulf countries, such as the UAE and Qatar, where many Indians live.
According to traditional Ayurvedic medicine, chewing areca nut and betel leaf is a good remedy against bad breath (halitosis.)
Reference to the use of betel leaf goes back more than two thousand years, in an ancient Pli book of Srilanka, ‘Mahawamsa’. In the Vedas too there is reference to paan being the first offering to the guru. Bulath Pdhaya is a special dance mentioned in the Kohomba Kankariya of Srilanka. According to legend a king was troubled by divodasa – a recurring nightmare that made him ill.