The Betel nut’s scientific family is Areca catechu L. Family: Palmaceae . It belongs to the Piperaceae family. It is a large family with 3,600 species. There is no evidence that the Betel nut has ever been changed from one family to another.

The Betel nut can be found in history dating back to the first century in the common era, A.D.The Betel nut grows in Southeast and South Asia and East Africa. The habitat it grows in shaded areas and must have a good irrigation systems. It grows as a palm tree and the betel nuts, the fruit, hang from the top. The Betel nut tree grows fruit the entire year.  The Betel nut is described as being dioecious and produce white flowers with small spikes that are called catkins.

 It is more common to see a male Betel nut plant than a female. For someone who has never seen a Betel nut flower before it can be described as having a light green mixed with a little yellow color. It has these thick veins with green pods connect to the veins in various place along the veins. At the top of the flower the veins form into a straw top similar to common wild wheat grass found around Friend’s Central School.

As close description would be a thin broccoli with a straw like top. The flowers are commonly: pedicellate, sygomorphic, irregular,  complete, perigynous, and papilionaceous. It also has a calyx, corolla, androecium, and gynoecium. The flowers are insect pollinated, but the seeds are wind pollinated.

Economically it is apart of the agroforestry farming systems. It is the fourth most used psychoactive drug after nicotine, alcohol and tobacco. In Asia.

In Asia it is used to make you alert and has similar pleasure abilities to tobacco.  The nut can create a sense of alertness, increase stamina, euphoria, and salivation in its users. When used during pregnancy it can cause DNA damage and hurt the fetus, along with other “adverse reactions”. Betel nuts are most commonly chewed, but are first wrapped in betel leaves or tobacco. Betel Nuts are one of the top reason for cancer mainly. It is linked to: oral cancer, cancer in the mouth and esophagus, oral submucous fibrosis, and tooth decay. In general Betel nuts can be linked to having negative effects on all internal organs.

During the 1st century it was found that in Sanskrit medical writing that there was a belief that the nut had 13 qualities found in heaven. It was thought to get rid of wind, kill worms, remove phlegm, suppress bad smells, improve the appearance of the mouth, purify, and breed passion.The chewing of Betel nuts and their leave is used as a symbol for fertility in religion and marriage ceremonies.In Asia there are special stores that sell Betel nuts, tobacco, and caffeine. In some places the revenue comes from 100% male customers so they have female workers in these stores.

The nut can be used by people, unaltered, fried, or cured. It can be cured by boiling, baking, and roasting.

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