Modes of betel leaf consumption in early India

  • Andrea Gutierrez Dept. of Asian Studies, UT Austin
Keywords: Food -- Religious aspects -- Hinduism, Eating and meals, Diet, Cooking, Food habits, Nutrition, India -- History, Hindu literature, Buddhist literature, Brahmans, Ritual


In this article, I analyse some food practices surrounding betel in early Indian history. Betel consumption was not prescribed for everyone in Brahmanical society. Hence I examine texts referring to betel from the late pre-modern to early modern era (roughly 300–1800 ce) in order to explain proscriptions of betel in the legal discourse that discusses religious practice. The literature I consider in my analysis of betel consumption ranges from the kāmaśāstra genre, influential works of tantra, texts detailing worship, and ascetic and renunciant guides. Material cultural studies aid my exploration of betel as a socio-religious identity marker and my development of three modes of betel consumption and one mode of non-consumption. 
Apr 13, 2015
How to Cite
Gutierrez, A. (2015). Modes of betel leaf consumption in early India. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 26, 114–34.