Areca Nut or Betel Nut is the fruit of tree named Areca Palm. This tree is found in Tropical Pacific, South and Southeast Asia and in Eastern Africa. The origin of this fruit dates back to 16th century and it is known that foreign sailors took it along with them to Europe. Consumption of Areca Nut is considered carcinogenic for human beings and thus harmful for health. Actually Areca Nut is not a nut but a berry. It is extracted from the tree and then dried, cured and then made commercially available. India is the highest consumer of Areca Nut and most of the time people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian Countries put slices of Areca Nut in betel leaf and lime and consume it. This preparation is called as “Paan”. It is known by a number of names such as Supari in Hindi, Guwa in Assam, Adike in Kannada, Adakka in Malayalam and Kuhva in Mizo. As a matter of fact, Guwahati in Assam is named after abundance of Betel nuts available there.
Betel nut is very useful for oral sanitisation but it is a fact that its consumption may lead to cancer of esophagus and mouth therefore it is harmful for people. It is also advised that pregnant ladies must not consume it as it will have an adverse effect on the child in the womb. Therefore limited consumption of the betel nut is recommended.
Usage in Indian Kitchen
Apart from using as mouth freshener, areca nut is also used extensively during the worship of deities and other religious ceremonies. Since it contains nicotine, it also provides relaxation to the mind. In many states of India, it is offered after meals to the guests as a tradition. It is also used as a very important part of traditional medicines.
Health Benefits of Supari
- Provides relief from dry mouth.
- Helps in preventing anemia.
- Has an anti-cavity effect.
- Has a positive effect on Schizophrenia.
- Helps in recovering from Strokes.