Authoor Betel Leaves Of Tamil Nadu Get GI Tag
Image Credit: Authoor vetrilai now has GI tag | Instagram - @mine_graphy_12

The geographical indication (GI) tag has finally been given to the Authoor vetrilai (betel leaf from Authoor) of Tamil Nadu. These spicy and pungent betel leaves are extremely unique and very specific to this region. This is largely attributed to the Thamirabarani river water that is used to irrigate the fields here. More than 500 acres of land are used to cultivate these betel creepers, which span over the areas of Authoor, Korkai, Mukkani, Suganthalai, Rajapathi, Vellakoil, and other Mukkani villages.

Now, it is interesting to note that there are 3 major varieties of Authoor vetrilai: Nattukodi, Pachaikodi, and Karpoori. Nattukodi betel leaves are known for their strong and spicy flavour. They have a dark green colour and are relatively smaller in size compared to other varieties. Nattukodi leaves are often used in traditional medicine to treat ailments such as colds, coughs, and flu. Pachaikodi betel leaves, on the other hand, are known for their fresh and minty flavour. They have a bright green colour and are larger in size compared to Nattukodi leaves. Pachaikodi leaves are often used in culinary dishes to add flavour and aroma. Karpoori betel leaves are unique in that they have a camphor-like flavour and a light green colour. They are believed to have medicinal properties that help relieve headaches, stomach problems, and other ailments. Karpoori leaves are often used in traditional medicine and are believed to have a cooling effect on the body.

Recipe credits - Madhu Samayal

There are many things special about the Authoor betel leaves, including the fact that most betel leaves last for a maximum of 5–6 days, while the Authoor vetrilai has a shelf life of up to 10 days. Not just that, these betel leaves are very rich in nutrients like protein, calcium, and iron. They have anti-oxidant properties, and every one of these features is a gift from the specifically local and geographical characteristics that these betel creepers grow in. The cultivation of Authoor vetrilai has dropped in recent years. But awarding a GI tag and giving it this recognition might just be the boost it needs! There are generations of families that are dependent on the cultivation and sale of these leaves. They are also very unique, with a slightly pungent flavour, and deserve to be preserved and popularised.