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Pan (leaf package)

A small leaf package - used on the Indian Sub-Continent as far back as 200 BC) - containing a mixture of shredded betel nuts (the fruit of the areca palm), powdered lime (a digestive) and "catechu" (a highly astringent, tannin-rich, substance made from an infusion of chips of acacia wood). The effect of chewing pan is to reduce hunger, slightly anaesthetize the mouth, and create a mild sensation of exhilaration. It is also said to sweeten breath, and is claimed to have contraceptive qualities. See also 'Coca'; 'Cola nut'

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