Areca catechu (betelnoot)

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Introduction

The betel nut, or areca nut, is the seed of the areca palm (Areca catechu), which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. It is commonly referred to as betel nut, as it is often chewed wrapped in betel leaves. The seeds are chewed as part of social occasions or as a part of everyday life.

Effects of betel nut

There are various compounds present in the nut, most importantly arecoline. Arecoline is the primary active ingredient responsible for the central nervous system effects of the areca nut. Betel nut has a mild stimulant effect and in addition to reasons of tradition local people chew it for stress reduction, heightened awareness, and suppression of hunger. Arecoline has also been shown to improve serial learning and memory.

How to use betel nut

Chew it to a fibrous, pasty consistency. Don't swallow it; it's likely to make you sick. Spit out the fibrous residue as you chew. Continue until the nut is gone. You can also add a teaspoon of powdered Betel nut to water or coffee. For a better effect mix it with lime and chew on it for some time. This makes the active substance work, which is absorbed via the mouth in the blood. The saliva and chewed leftovers should be spit out after a while. Never use more than 3 grams at a time and with a maximum of 6 grams a day.

Warning

Regular usage stains the mouth, gums and teeth a deep red. Excessive use can cause inebriation and dizziness. Long term users cause damage to the teeth and soft tissue of the mouth.
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