Betel Nut

Scientific Name: Areca catechu

Bahasa Indonesia: Pinang

Batak: Pining

Basic Information: The betel nut palm, also known as areca, is a genus of about 50 species of palms in the family Arecaceae. It is an unbranched palm reaching 12-30 meters in height. The stem has scars of fallen leaves and becomes visible only when the palm is about 3 years old. The adult palm has 7-12 open leaves. The flowers can either be small but numerous with three petals or solitary where only two or three sit at the base. The fruit is either smooth orange or scarlet when ripe and has a fibrous outer layer. The nuts are known for their bitter and tangy taste, both raw and dried, and are routinely used for chewing in combination with the leaves of betel and dried tobacco leaves.

Health Benefits:

  1. Boosts Appetite – chewing betel nuts stimulates the appetite and increases saliva flow for digestion.
  2. Increases Energy Levels – betel nut is used as a stimulant for increasing alertness and stamina, as well as producing a feeling of euphoria.
  3. Eye Care – betel nut is known for treating some eye disorders like glaucoma.
  4. Detoxifies the Body – betel nuts can be used to remove parasites and kill worms. In addition, it can help stimulate gastrointestinal activity and help with flatulence and constipation.
  5. Stroke Recovery – betel nut has been said to help improve speech, bladder function, and strength with stroke victims.
  6. Treats Schizophrenia – betel nut is said to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia.
  7. Oral Health – the antibacterial qualities in betel nuts help to keep gums and teeth strong and prevent cavities.
  8. Balances the Blood – they help boost iron levels, help control diabetes, and can lower high blood pressure.
  9. Helps with Mood and Anxiety – they are used to treat depression by decreasing cortisol levels, and in turn decreases stress.

Fun Facts:

  • The areca nut or betel nut is not actually a nut, but rather a drupe fruit
  • Consumption of betel nuts have many harmful effects to humans including effects to the immune system and to the foetus during pregnancy. It can also cause neuronal injury, hepatotoxicity, asthma, obesity, diabetes, gum irritation, and tooth decay