Scientific name: Areca Catechu
Native to: South Asia, East Africa and Polynesia.
Description: This is a large seed of the betel palm, a tall South Asian palm tree that can reach 20 metres in height, and its leaves up to 1 metre in length. In Asia the nut is chewed in combination with roasted chalk (chalk and saliva help to release the active substance), and sometimes with a few other herbs like Kava Kava.
Active substance(s): Arecoline.
Effect: The active substance, arecoline, stimulates the nervous system: it improves learning and thinking abilities. It increases respiration and decreases the workload of the heart. It is both an upper and a mild sexual stimulant. Excessive use reddens the teeth and gum.
Preparation: Add a few drops of lemon juice to the powdered nut and keep it in the mouth to mix it with saliva, and then swallow it.
Dosage: One nut, or 1 teaspoon of powdered nut.