Areca catechu (Betel Nut)
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.
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.