Sunday, April 17, 2022

Betel nut

Betel chewing or makan sireh has been practiced for thousands of years in Asia. Across Southeast Asia, betel chewing was once a social necessity.

Betel nut is one of the ingredients used in ‘sireh pinang’ – a concoction that consists of shaved betel nut fragments, slaked lime (kapor or chunam) and cloves wrapped in fresh betel pepper leaves (daun sireh) and chewed as one would chew gum. Sireh pinang is often consumed after a meal and is meant to be chewed slowly to release the flavors and aid digestion.

Betel nut chewing has traditionally played an important role in social customs, religious practices and cultural rituals. It has a characteristic astringent and slightly bitter taste and is consumed at different stages of maturity according to preference.

Betel nut is the seed of the fruit of the areca palm. It is also known as areca nut. The active ingredient in betel nut is a volatile oil called arecoline. Released from the nut by saliva and lime, it is a mild central nervous system stimulant which increases respiration.

This tropical palm tree bears fruit all year, which are ovoid or oblong with a pointed apex, measuring 3–5 cm in length and 2–4 cm in diameter. The outer surface is green when unripe and orange-yellow when ripe.

The major constituents of areca nut are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, crude fibre, polyphenols, alkaloids and minerals. Arecaidine, arecoline, guvacine and guvacoline are the four alkaloids conclusively identified in areca nut. Areca nut also contains sodium, magnesium, calcium, vanadium, manganese and copper
Betel nut

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