Traditional Malay medicine encompasses various kinds of ritual ceremonies intended to communicate with the world of spirits to determine whether the nature of an illness is physical or psychological. In such ceremonies, the aim is to summon and exorcise the spirits causing illness. A ritualist serves as a medium, and a small ensemble often provides the musical component.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Areca catechu and health benefits

Betel nut (Areca catechu) is a slender, single-trunked palm that can grow to 30 m (100 ft). It is cultivated from East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula across tropical Asia and Indonesia to the central Pacific and New Guinea.

The word 'areca' is derived from the Malay word adakka (areca nut) or from adakeya, the Indian equivalent. Arecoline, the principal alkaloid in areca nut, acts as an agonist primarily at muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and stimulates the central and autonomic nervous system.

The seed of Areca catechu is used for medicinal purpose. The seed when it chewed is intoxicating. However, it can be used for urinary bleeding or to treat intestinal worms. It also can treat, fever and diarrhea too.

Fresh, uncured betel nuts are intoxicating, producing giddiness in some people. But the dried and cured nut, in which form it is mostly used, is a stimulant, astringent and febrifuge, i.e. remover of fever. Chewing the nut increases the formation of saliva. It decreases perspiration, sweetens the breath, strengthens the gums and generates a mild exhilaration giving the feeling of a good disposition.

Sushruta, in the 1st century AD, wrote that ‘it tends to cleanse the mouth, impart a sweet aroma to it, enhance its beauty and cleanse and strengthen the voice, tongue and teeth, the jaws and the sense organs’.
Areca catechu and health benefits
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