The humble heart-shaped popular mouth-freshener – Paan or betel leaf could provide the key to unlock an arsenal of anti-inflammatory drugs, claim Indian researchers. A part of India’s food culture, ayurvedic texts have mentioned the medicinal properties and therapeutic effects of betel leaf. Scientists at the University of Calcutta and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology have examined nine varieties of betel leaf and identified the ones that can reduce inflammation. The soil and nutrient conditions, climate and farming profile impacts the kind of functional role the leaves have. Among the nine varieties, five showed anti-inflammatory properties, one showed the tendency to cause inflammation and three didn’t show significant anti-inflammatory activity. This could lead to the development of a new class of anti-inflammatory drugs.