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Piper betle

Pepperleaf bettle

Betel

Piperaceae

 

 

Piper betle, Pepperleaf bettle, Betel

A green leafy vine growing as a ground cover or small climber, very similar in growth habits to pepper.
The betel leaf is used in a number of traditional remedies for the treatment of stomach ailments, infections, and as a general tonic. It is often chewed in combination with the betel nut (Areca catechu), as a stimulatory. Some evidence suggests that betel leaves have immune boosting properties as well as anti-cancer properties
The plant prefers warm, humid conditions, but can tolerate some drought.
In India and parts of Southeast Asia, the leaves are chewed together with mineral lime (calcium oxide) and the areca nut which, by association, is sometimes inaccurately called the "betel nut". The lime acts to keep the active ingredient in its freebase or alkaline form, thus enabling it to enter the bloodstream via sublingual absorption. The areca nut contains the alkaloid arecoline, which promotes salivation (the saliva is stained red), and is itself a stimulant. This combination, known as a "betel quid", has been used for several thousand years. Tobacco is sometimes added.

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