What is betel nut?
The betel nut plant is also known as Areca. The nozzle is used for medicinal products. Betel nut is also taken alone or mixed with something, such as with tobacco, with lime wrapped in betel leaves, or in the form of any other mixture. The drug is used as a mild stimulant and as a digestive aid in the treatment of a mental condition called schizophrenia and an eye disorder called glaucoma. Some people also use betel nut in an amateur way, as it stimulates the central nervous system. Areca nut extracts are used in veterinary medicine to remove tapeworms in cattle, dogs, and horses, to empty the bowels of animals, and to treat intestinal colic in horses.
Table of Content
History of betel nut habit
Betel nut has a long history in South and Southeast Asia as well as in the Pacific basin. It has been used in Guam and other Pacific islands for over 2,000 years. For decades, 10 to 20 percent of the world’s population has a tradition of chewing betel nut. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 600 million people use betel nut in some form today. It ranks fourth among the most widely used psychoactive drugs in the world after nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. While betel nut is an important cultural and social practice in many countries, growing evidence suggests that regular use can have serious health consequences.
A Burst of Energy
Many people chew betel nut because of the energy it produces. Betel nut contains natural alkaloids, which produce adrenaline, due to which this happens. It can also trigger feelings of euphoria and happiness.
According to some common beliefs, it can affect everything from dry mouth to digestive issues. However, this drug has not been thoroughly studied in clinical trials, and there is no evidence of any health benefits.
However, on the other hand, betel nut has cancer-fighting properties, as reported in a Cancer Prevention research journal. According to one Indian report, it may help with heart and digestive problems, as well as having anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. Still, more research is needed to confirm the benefits of betel nut. According to a medical review of the effects of betel nut, a narcotic, published in the Indian Journal of Medical and Pediatric Oncology, it has far more negative than positive effects.
If you need any support with your mood swings, our wellness counselors can help you.
Oral cancer and other hazards
According to research, betel nut has been linked to many serious health risks. Betel nut is classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Several studies have found a strong association between betel nut use and cancer of the mouth and esophagus. This type of incurable condition can cause stiffness in the mouth and loss of jaw movement.
Regular chewing of betel nut can also damage the gums and teeth. The rash may also become dark red or black, permanently stained.
A preliminary study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition linked betel nut to an increased risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Other drugs or herbal supplements may interact with betel nut. It has the potential to cause toxic reactions in the body or reduce the effectiveness of drugs. More trials need to be done to assess the effects of betel nut on other drugs. Regular use of betel nut can also lead to addiction symptoms.
The US FDA does not consider betel nut to be safe to chew or eat. The US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has put the betel nut in its database of toxic plants. A fact sheet issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns about the following medical conditions associated with betel nut use, along with cigarettes and tobacco:
– Oral submucous fibrosis
– Mouth cancer
Other reproductive problems, including low birth weight in newborns
Areca Nuts - Special Precautions & Warnings
It can be harmful for anyone who keeps betel nut in the mouth for a long time. Betel nut is also especially dangerous for people with the following conditions:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Betel leaves are not Likely safe. Betel nut can affect the central nervous system and can put the pregnancy at risk. Chemicals in betel nut can pass into breast milk and may harm the baby. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid consuming betel nut.
Asthma: Eating betel nut can aggravate asthma.
Slow heart rate (bradycardia): Betel nut might slow down the heartbeat. People who already have a slow heart rate may have this problem.
Heart disease: If people suffering from heart disease use betel nut, they may get heart attack. There is a higher risk of Do not use betel nut if you have heart disease.
Gastrointestinal tract blockage: Betel nut can cause a blockage in the intestines.
Stomach ulcers: Betel nut has the ability to increase secretion in the stomach and intestines. Due to this, there is a possibility of increasing the ulcer.
Lung conditions: Betel nut might increase fluid secretion in the lungs. This can worsen lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema.
Seizures: Betel nut can increase the risk of seizures.
Urinary tract obstruction: Betel nut can increase urinary tract secretions. This can lead to urinary retention
Betel nut - Side Effects
There is not enough reliable information about whether betel nut is safe in low doses and for short periods of time. However, taking it in excess or for a long time, there is a possibility of harm. Some chemicals in betel nut have been linked to cancer. With excess chemicals it can become toxic. The habit of eating 8 to 30 grams of betel nut daily can also lead to death.
Chewing betel nut can make your mouth, lips and stool red. It can cause stimulant effects similar to consuming caffeine and tobacco. It can also cause more serious effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, gum problems, increased salivation, kidney disease, heart palpitations, abnormal heartbeat, low blood pressure, respiratory failure, and rapid breathing.
The history of chewing betel nut dates back 2,000 years and some cultures claim that it has beneficial properties. However, the many health risks associated with the practice are evident in modern research. Regular chewing of betel nut can lead to cancer of the mouth and esophagus, oral submucous fibrosis, and tooth decay. WHO has classified betel nut as a carcinogen and stresses on its reduction. Both the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) issued health warnings related to betel nut-chewing in the United States.
How does betel nut affect the nervous system? Talk to our online therapist to understand it.