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Areca catechu - Betel Nut
- Arecoline - Tropical and Subtropical climates

Buy Areca Catechu (Betel Nut) HERE

FAMILY: Arecaceae
GENUS: Areca
SPECIES: Catechu
COMMON NAMES: Adike, Areca, Betel Nut, Betel Palm, Betelnut, Fobal, Goorrecanut Palm, Gouvaka, Kamuku, Mak, Paan Supari, Pinlang, Sopari, Tambul, Tuuffel. 

Betel Nut is a name given to the seed of the Areca catechu tree. Areca catechu is the botanical name of a species of palm tree that grows in parts of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and Africa. More commonly known as betel palm or betel nut tree, it can grow to a height of 65-90 feet. Areca catechu is part of the Arecaceae family (commonly referred to as the palm family). There are over 200 genera and about 2600 species contained in the family. Most members of the Arecaceae family only grow in tropical or subtropical climates.

The name betel nut is misleading, Piper betle, commonly known as betel, is a plant that originated in Asia. The leaves from Piper betle are often chewed together with areca nut and edible lime (also called calcium hydroxide, limbux, or slaked lime). By association, the areca nut has become known as the betel nut.

The tree is limited to growing in warm tropical or subtropical areas, but it is not known where Areca catechu originated. It may have come from the Philippines or an area near there, but that is not certain. Nearly all of the Areca catechu trees that are now cultivated for the betel nuts they produce, were planted by humans. Areca catechu trees can be found growing in parts of Arabia, China, East Africa, Egypt, Fiji, Hindustan, Indochina, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldive Islands, Melanesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan. Wild Areca catechu trees can be found growing in Malabar, a region in India between the Western Ghats and Arabian Sea.

The betel palm is grown primarily for betel nuts. It can be grown in a variety of soil types. Cultivation is preformed using pre-germinated seeds. The saplings need to grow in the shade because they may be killed by strong sun. The palms bear fruit when they are 10-15 years of age. A productive betel palm can provide fruit for 45-75 years. Usually only the ripe fruits are harvested. Areca catechu can be infected by various fungi, especially Ganoderma lucidum.

TRADITIONAL USES: Betel nuts have been used as a drug for thousands of years. The practice is thought to have started in south-east Asia and there is archaeological evidence to support this view. The Spirit Cave site in Thailand yielded palaeobotanical remains of Areca catechu and Piper betel, traditional consumption is a combination of Areca catechu, Piper betel, and edible lime, since found at the same location, it is circumstantial evidence for the practice of betel chewing in prehistoric times.

These remains are between 7,500 and 9,000 years old. If the dating is accurate, this would make betel one of the earliest known psychoactive substances to be used in the world. Printed references related to betel nut chewing go back to hundreds of years before the common era. In Pali, a story dating from about 500 BCE describes a princess giving a present of betel to her lover.

Somewhere around 430 BCE, Theophrastus described use of the nuts as a component of the betel morsel. Areca catechu is mentioned in Sanskrit under the name guvaka, and in Chinese texts dating from 150 BCE it was called pinlang. In Persia there were 30,000 shops that sold betel nut in the capital town during the reign of Khosrau II (King of Persia from 590 to 628). Arabs and Persians who visited the Hindustan area of India in the 8th and 9th centuries found the habit deeply rooted.

Ali al-Masudi, an Arab historian who travelled through India in 916, described the chewing of betel nut as a national custom. There were even those who voluntarily ascended the funeral pyre comforted by betel nut. People who did not use betel nut were socially isolated.

TRADITIONAL PREPARATION: Chewing betel nut is an important and popular cultural activity in many Asian countries. Betel nuts are also used as an offering in Hinduism. In India (the worlds largest consumer of betel nut), betel nuts are cut into small pieces with a special instrument. The practice of using betel nut is often called betel nut chewing but the nuts are not just placed in the mouth and chewed. They are usually dried and broken down into smaller pieces, and sometimes into a powder, mixed with edible lime to aid in the absorption of their active ingredients, arecaine and arecoline. Rather than being chewed, the mixture is put between the cheek and tongue and left there, sometimes overnight.

The custom of betel nut chewing is so common (it is estimated that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 10 people on earth are users) that raising Areca catechu trees for betel nuts is a major economic benefit to areas where they are grown for commercial purposes. In New Guinea and other parts of Melanesia betel chewing is as avidly pursued as it is in India, mainland south-east Asia and Indonesia.

Its Melanesian use is similar to our use of tea and coffee in the sense that it is an integral and informal part of the daily routine, although it is not without its ritualistic uses in the region. As in India and elsewhere, betel has been the inspiration for minor art forms and in Melanesia there are many finely decorated lime spatulas, lime containers and other objects incorporated into the betel chewing kit.

You can buy betel nuts HERE. They are shipped from the USA to most countries around the world. Betel nuts are legal in the USA and most other countries. When chewed, the stimulant effect can be felt almost immediately and it lasts a good 3-5 hours.

To make your own betel nut mixture, take an amount of betel nut (1/4 nut is a good place to start but use as much or little as you desire) and break it into small pieces or powder. The pieces will be chewed, so you can break them up into any size you feel comfortable with. Next you mix in about 1/8 to 1/4 gram of edible lime. Arecaine and Arecoline are the primary active ingredients in betel nut. Edible lime is needed to increase the amount of active ingredients that your body absorbs. Without lime you will feel very little of the possible effect of the betel nut. After mixing, place the betel/lime in the side of your mouth between the cheek and jaw, and chew it once in a while. Let the mixture remain in your mouth for an hour or longer, and swallow any saliva your mouth produces. Try not to swallow much betel nut directly, it can cause an upset stomach. When finished, spit out the remaining mixture, rather than swallow it.

If you like the taste, you can chew betel nut alone but the stimulating effect is minimized without lime. You can sometimes find flavored betel nuts in countries that are large consumers of the drug. Add a bit of nutmeg or cloves to the betel/lime mixture to improve the taste, if you want to. I like to combine pre-chewed bubble gum (chew it for a minute so it is wet) with a powdered betel nut and lime mixture, then chew the mixture in the same way gum is normally chewed. Tobacco chewers in India often mix betel nut with tobacco. This preparation of betel nut is commonly referred to as paan in India, where it is available everywhere.

TRADITIONAL EFFECTS: Effects are stimulating and can be compared to a mild amphetamine dose. There is also an appetite suppressing effect. They have a spicy taste and large amounts of saliva are usually produced when chewing betel nut.

In addition to being consumed alone for their stimulant properties, betel nut can be used in combination with other drugs, when a more energetic high is needed. A betel nut and psychoactive mushroom mixture is especially worth trying. When you feel the mushrooms starting to hit, chew betel nut and lime as described above. Overuse of betel nuts can cause a feeling of intoxication, convulsions, diarrhea, dizziness, or vomiting. Long term betel nut chewers, after years of daily use, will eventually develop a distinctive red stain of the mouth, teeth, and gums.


The encyclopaedia of psychoactive substances 
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The encyclopedia of psychoactive plants

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