betel 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. 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.
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