Betel nuts

Betel nuts

Botanical name - Areca catechu
Family - Palmae

Betel nut is the seed of the fruit of the areca palm. It is also known as areca nut. It is mainly used for chewing with betel leaf in almost all South Asian Countries and in many South East Asian and Oceanic countries. Usually for chewing, a few slices of the nut are wrapped in a betel leaf along with calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) and may include clove, cardamom, or other spices for extra flavoring. It is a mild stimulant which cause a mild hot sensation to the body.

Betel Nut is commercially available in dried, cured, and fresh forms. When the husk of the fresh fruit is green, 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. The major alkaloid in betel nut is Arecoline. Besides, there are other compounds such as Arecaidine, Guvacine, Isoguvacine, guvacoline, Arecolidine and Homoarecoline.