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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Herbs
BETEL NUT
Areca Nut

(Areca Catechu)


"For Informational Use Only"
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.





  • Betel Nut Herbal Description
  • Betel Nut Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Betel Nut Dosage Information
  • Betel Nut Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Betel Nut Supplements & Products




  • betel - areca nuts


    BETEL NUT HERBAL DESCRIPTION

    THE BETEL NUT CHEWING HABIT

    Betel Nut (Areca catechu) is also known as Areca nut, Thamboolam, Paan, Pinang, Buai, Pugua, Mama'on.

    The Areca Nut is the seed of the Areca Palm (Areca catechu), which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Indonesia, Asia, and parts of east Africa. It is commonly referred to as Betel Nut as it is often chewed wrapped in Betel leaves (paan).

    The use of the betel nut goes back at least four thousand years in Indonesia, and there are references to it in the literature of Chinese, Greek, and Sanskrit texts. Currently, the chewing of the Betel nut is enjoyed by, according to several sources, at least 10-percent of the world's population. It is sold on the streets of many Indonesian and Asian cities from small booths.

    The habit has many harmful effects on health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that chewing areca nut is carcinogenic to humans after reviewing the published medical research. Various compounds present in the nut, most importantly arecoline, contribute to histologic changes in the oral mucosa. As with chewing tobacco, its use is discouraged by preventive efforts.

    The Areca nut is not a true nut, but rather a drupe. It is commercially available in dried, cured and fresh forms. While fresh, the husk is green and the nut inside is soft enough to be cut with a typical knife. In the ripe fruit, the husk becomes yellow or orange and, as it dries, the fruit inside hardens to a wood-like consistency. At that stage, the Areca nut can only be sliced using a special scissors-like cutter.





    betel - areca nut tree


    BETEL NUT (ARECA NUT) USES, HEALTH BENEFITS, & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

    A STIMULATING PREPARATION

    Although the nut can be chewed by itself as a stimulant, it is almost always prepared in a form that looks quite similar to a Greek dolma.

    The nut is sliced thin, and then wrapped with a lime paste in the leaf of the Betel tree. There is actually a bit of confusion surrounding this entire process. To begin with, the Betel leaf is an entirely different plant than the Betel, or Areca nut.

    The Betel leaf, whose Latin name is Piper betle, is of the piperaceae family, which is closely related to Black Peppers and Kava Kava, while the Betel nut is actually more closely related to the family that consists of Palm trees. The nut is actually an Areca nut, but is almost always called a Betel nut, no doubt due to the way it has historically been prepared in conjuncture with the Betel leaf. This preparation goes back thousands of years, in fact far back enough that no one has ever been able to definitively relate a tale of how or why these were paired together in the first place. When the nut is chewed by itself, it stains the teeth reddish-orange. An extract from the nut is still used as a red and black dye in parts of Southeast Asia.





    BETEL NUT (ARECA NUT) DOSAGE INFORMATION

    SUPPLEMENTS

    The powdered form is used in various Chinese tooth powder formulas.

    The nut can be chewed by itself, in a way similar to chewing tobacco, but should not be directly swallowed as it may cause considerable stomach distress. Quite a bit of saliva is produced when chewing the nut by itself.

    The inner fruit of the Betel (Areca) Nut is used, sliced thin and wrapped in a betel leaf and lime is added (and depending upon region, sometimes Clove and Cardamom are also added).





    BETEL NUT (ARECA NUT) SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTION INFORMATION

    SAFETY CONCERNS

    As with any new herb that you may want to introduce into your life, we encourage you to do your own research and consult a qualified herbal practitioner before use.

    When marriages are discussed in Southeast Asia, they are usually talked about when chewing the betel nut, which has become so synonymous with marriage that the common phrase "matters of betel and areca" has come to mean the planning process prior to marriage. According to the FDA, the betel nut contains a "poisonous or deleterious substance (arecoline)" and that habitual chewing may be linked to oral carcinoma. Despite this dire warning, there are no definitive studies published to support the allegations.

    In direct contradiction to the FDA, Dr. B.G. Burton-Bradley wrote in an article published in The Lancet that "no less than 200 million people chew the betel nut on a daily basis, the vast majority of whom do not have oral carcinoma".

    According to all sources, Betel nuts do have an addictive quality similar to that of coffee, whose effects they so richly mimic. It is not clear, however, that there is an identifiable form of physical withdrawal associated with cessation of use.





    BETEL NUT (ARECA NUT)-RELATED PRODUCTS

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  • Nutrition Basics: Betel Nut (Areca Nut) Herbal Information






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