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Areca catechu Information

Areca catechu (Betel Nut)

The nuts of this tropical palm tree form the basis of the stimulant betel chew which has a reputation as a panacea and tonic throughout Asia. Areca nuts are often chewed in a mixture with betel leaves and lime (which is an activator), which is how they came to be called betel nuts, even though they do not come from the betel plant. The active ingredient is arecoline, a mild central nervous system stimulant. Its widespread use and availability across India, Thailand, Indonesia and other Asian cultures, makes the betel nut the most widely used stimulant in the world. Arecoline can improve learning and memory as well as counteracting intestinal parasites.

The dried nut is a stimulant and an astringent. It is chewed to increase the flow of Saliva, lesson perspiration, sweeten the breath, strengthen the gums and produce mild exhilaration. The seed has an aromatic, astringent and somewhat acrid taste. Areca catechu is also used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat headaches, stomach pains, venereal disease, fever, rheumatism and a number of other complaints.

In India betel has been integrated within the social and religious system, the gods are said to lack betel in heaven and that humans should offer them betel to keep them in a beneficial mood. Also used as a magical charm and amulet thought to protect against the evil eye and ward off demons. Indian cultures hold the knowledge of traditional preparation methods for betel nut as a nigh on a high art and specific variations of recipes are often passed on through generations as revered knowledge.

Please note: Regular use stains the mouth, gums and teeth a deep red. Excessive use can cause inebriation and dizziness. Long-term use may damage the teeth and soft tissue of the mouth.

Mazatec Garden describes the common uses of many herbs. This is for informational purposes only, as we are not advising or prescribing herbs for any specific medical condition or for any specific use. Distribute this information freely.


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