ARECA CATECHU L.

Family: Aracaceae

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Supari, Gua.

English Name: Betel Nut, Areca Nut Palm, Areca Palm.

Description of the Plant:

A tall slender palm, 12-30 m high, quite straight. Leaves large 1.2-1.8 m long, leaflets numerous, 30-60 cm long. Spathe double, compressed, spadix much branched, bearing male and female flowers. Fruits globose or ovoid, 3.7-5 cm across, yellow or orange.

Using Information:

The nut is astringent, anthelmintic, laxative, diuretic, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue, nervine and cardiotonic; improves appetite and taste, useful in bleeding gums, urinary disorders, inflammation of the eyes, giddiness and gleet; checks diarrhoea. The grated nut is given as an anthelmintic for round as well as tape worms. The juice of the young tender leaves mixed with oil is applied as an embrocation in cases of lumbago. Decoction of the roots is a reputed cure for sore lips. The nuts made into ash along with chebulic myrobalans are used in toothache. The decoction of the root along with the root of Mimusa pudica and young leaves of guava forms a gargle in toothache.

EtOH(50%) extract of fruit and leaf is spasmogenic. Aquous extract of nut exhibits direct vasoconstriction and adrenaline potentiation in rats. It possesses antibacterial and antifertility activities. Aspergillus flavus, a carcinogenic fungus contaminates the nuts (Asolkar et al., 1992).

ARECA CATECHU L.
ARECA CATECHU L.

Chemical Constituents:

Areca nut contains several alkaloids of the pyridine group, such as arecoline, arecaine, arecodine, arecaidine, guvacine, isoguvacine, choline, etc.; ß-sitosterol and leucocyanidins. Its water extracts yields catechu, which contains tannins, catechin, gallic acid etc. Seeds contain anti-P agglutinins and agglutinin. Fresh fruits contain condensed tannins, hydrolysable tannins, non-tannin flavans (catechi, epiechin) and simple phenolics. Seeds contain di-, tri- and tetrameric profyanidins anti-P agglutinins and agglutinin. Four bioactive (5'-necleosidase inhibitors) polyphenolic substances have also been isolated from the seed. Seed endosperm contains (+)-ctechin, 2 monomeric and 6 polymeric leucocyanidins. The nut also contains vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid (Ghani, 2003). Areca nut is a good source of floride (Asolkar et al., 1992).

Distribution:

Cultivated all over the country.