The Natural Competitor of the Cigarette – Know the Betel Nut

If when you were traveling in Asia you seemed to have seen someone with a bleeding mouth but remained alert and smiling, you were right.

About 600 million people of the world’s population consume the betel nut. It gives a sense of euphoria and energy and in the East, it is a symbol of love, marriage, and a cure for digestive and impotence problems. At the same time, it also leads tens of thousands of Asians to an early and agonizing death. Get acquainted with the “Betel Nut”.


The Betel Nut is a nut containing a stimulant that is similar in composition and effects to nicotine. It is traditionally chewed mainly in Asia, much like chewing tobacco, winepress, or coca leaves, and secretes a red color in its prolonged chewing. The nut grows on a variety of palm trees that is common in almost all of Asia’s “Areca Palm” and is consumed in many places, such as in the northern Philippines, as part of a mixture called Moma. In this mixture, the nut is wrapped in the Betel plant (which also has stimulating psychoactive properties) and mixed with calcium hydroxide (Calcium hydroxide which helps to absorb the active ingredient in the nut when chewing), and flavorings such as cinnamon, turmeric, and even tobacco. After prolonged chewing, the leftover chew spits the residue of the mixture and the mouth is left with a thick red blood liquid. Many years of addiction and chewing cause teeth to become worn out and destroyed, in addition to a major color change to heat and eventually black. But even worse, prolonged and consistent use of years results in an unprecedented rate of oral cancer among abdominal chewers (downlink statistics).

Despite being addictive and a health hazard, the nut is legal in most countries of the world and can be ordered online – but its use in the Western world is not common. However, due to its huge popularity in Asia, it is considered one of the most common drugs in the entire world – in the same league with nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine. Although it is also widely used in women and children, the nut is especially popular with older men who work in jobs that require alertness over time.

A ripe areca nut.

A ripe areca nut (from Wikipedia)

Due to the severe morbidity caused by long-term nut consumption, Asian organizations and governments have begun to adopt various approaches to alleviate this phenomenon in an attempt to reduce the millennial ancient habit: The Taiwan government offers financial compensation to every farmer who replaces his “betel” with other crops and subsidies of millions. Free for early detection of the disease, the Philippines began to penalize the mixture spitters in the streets, and in India and Thailand began campaigns to chew betel nuts. Although there has been a decline in nut consumption over the past five years, there is still a long way to go to reduce this phenomenon and its damage.

What’s really interesting is that we see cigarettes (for example) something completely “artificial” that destroys people’s lives. But it turns out that such substances (such as nicotine) and these actions (smoking/chewing) are also “in nature,” and people will find ways to use them compulsively and unhealthily, regardless of the culture they come from or the technological level in their country. Just a biological-psychological fact about the materials in the world and our psychological structure as humans.

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  1. frolep rotrem May 21, 2020

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