Addiction Chewing Betel Nut (Areca Nut Chewing) | Harmful Effects

The seed of the palmaceous Areca catechu tree, commonly known as betel nut, is known as areca nut. It is a key component in betel quid. At a recent workshop in Kuala Lumpur, the term “quid” was defined as “a substance, or mixture of substances, placed in the mouth or chewed and remaining in contact with the mucosa, usually containing one or both of the two basic ingredients, tobacco and/or areca nut, in raw or any manufactured or processed form.”

Betel quid is chewed by around 600 million individuals worldwide. The majority of them are from Asia-Pacific countries such as Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Taiwan. The majority of betel chewers in other nations are expatriates from these countries. People consume areca nut alone or in a betel quid, which includes betel leaf, slaked lime, and tobacco.

history about chewing betel nut

The use of betel nut has a long history throughout South and Southeast Asia, as well as the Pacific Basin. Its use on Guam and other Pacific islands dates back over 2,000 years. Chewing betel nut is a time-honored tradition practiced by 10–20% of the world’s population.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 600 million people utilize some sort of betel nut nowadays. It is one of the world’s most popular psychoactive chemicals, ranking fourth after nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine. However, while betel nut is a vital cultural and social practice in many nations, emerging research suggests that frequent usage has substantial health consequences.

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betel nut Addictive Properties

Areca nut is the world’s fourth most widely used psychoactive drug, after only alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine-containing drinks. Areca nut consumers claim an improved sensation of well-being and stamina, exhilaration, a calming impact on digestion, and tongue and gum protection.
Many individuals eat betel nuts to get an energy boost. This is most likely due to the nut’s natural alkaloids, which cause adrenaline to be released. It may also cause exhilaration and feelings of well-being.

Some traditional beliefs claim that it can help with a variety of diseases, from dry mouth to stomach issues. The medicine, however, has not been thoroughly evaluated in clinical studies, and evidence of any health advantages is limited.

Link of Areca Nut with cancer

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Betel nut is classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Many studies have found a strong association between betel nut usage and oral and esophageal cancer. According to research published in the Journal of the American Dental AssociationTrusted Source, betel nut users are more likely to develop oral submucous fibrosis.

This incurable illness can induce mouth stiffness and, eventually, loss of jaw mobility. Regular betel nut eating can also cause gum inflammation and tooth decay. Teeth might become permanently stained in a deep crimson or even black color.

Some complication:

  • oral submucous fibrosis
  • oral cancer
  • addiction
  • reproductive issues, including low birth weight in newborns

Other medicines or herbal supplements may interact with betel nut. It has the potential to trigger harmful responses in the body or to impair the effectiveness of drugs. More research is needed to discover how betel nut interacts with other medicines. Betel nut consumption on a regular basis might develop dependence and withdrawal symptoms.


Areca nut cessation research should be prioritized since the nut contains several substances that are hazardous to the human body. Many individuals are uninformed of the potentially dangerous consequences of areca nut due to a variety of factors such as cultural beliefs, societal misunderstandings, a lack of policies, and a lack of research.
Betel nut has been designated as a carcinogen by the WHO, and an action plan to restrict its consumption has been launched. Both the FDA and the CDC in the United States have issued warnings about the health dangers linked with betel nut eating.