As the fruit of the Areca Catechu palm tree, the betel nut is a stimulating and endurance increasing seed that has been widely used throughout Asia as a daily supplement. Found growing in Asia, the tropical Pacific, and east Africa, the tree is thought to have originated from the Philippines, from where it was then spread through international cultivation.
Thanks to its general acceptance throughout Asia, betel nut actually goes by many names – the most common of which are areca nut, Indian nut, paan, pinang, and bunga. In fact, areca nut is technically its correct name, it is only referred to as betel nut as it is traditionally chewed with betel leaf – they are not actually related in any way. The betel plant is a completely separate vine belonging to the Piperaceae family.
The betel nut has a rich and entwined history of use, dating back thousands of years. Its use as a daily supplement has persevered to this day, and is still extremely popular in parts of Asia – particularly India and Pakistan. Betel users can often be identified by their red teeth and the act of frequent spitting on the ground, as regular betel use has the side effect of increased saliva production.