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Betelnut stimulates the nervous system: it improves learning and thinking abilities. It increases respiration and decreases the workload of the heart. It is both an upper and a mild sexual stimulant.


In many Asian countries betelnut is commonly used for its stimulating effects, similar to coffee or coca leafs. In Asia betelnut is chewed in combination with roasted chalk (chalk and saliva help to release the active substance), and sometimes with a few other herbs like Kava Kava. In the Kamasutra of Vatsyayana is already written about betelnut: ‘After brushing the teeth and looking in the mirror, one eats a tambula and starts his daily tasks’.

Popular stimulant from Asia
Betelnut is chewed in various parts of Asia. The traditional way of using betel nut is by chewing it, in combination with various herbs and sometimes tobacco. Limestone is also added to make the betel nut substances easier to absorb. Especially in Thailand the betel nut is often chewed. In 1602-1799, the famous Dutch merchants of the VOC saw potential in betelnut and began to introduce it in Europe. At present the betelnut trade is very extensive and has a deep-rooted tradition in South-East Asia, particularly Indonesia, India and Pakistan.

The tree of the betel palm can grow up to 15 metres high. The leaves of the tree are usually up to 2 meters long. The tree produces small, light yellow flowers. The betel palm originates from parts of Indonesia. Traditionally, the nut is chopped into small pieces and packed in a piece of betel leaf. This leaf does not come from this tree but from a climbing plant, the betel pepper. This is then mixed with slaked lime, various herbs and sometimes chewing tobacco. Lime makes the effect of the betel nut stronger. The substance areciline is thus converted into the active substance arecaidine.

Chewing betel nut stimulates the central nervous system. It provides a cheerful, relaxing effect. Some even attribute erotic aspects to it. The betel nut tastes naturally bitter and can be sweetened with honey.

Add a few drops of lemon juice or limestone and chew in the mouth to mix with saliva. Spit out the remains.

Excessive use reddens the teeth and gum.

Scientific name
Areca Catechu

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