Areca catechu nut: a double-edged sword


  • Ajitha Sharma Department of Pharmacology, Kanachur Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalore, Karnataka, India



Areca catechu, Antihelminthic, Antiviral, Ayurveda


The chewing of Areca catechu nut, more popularly known as betel nut, is one of the ancient traditions in India and other South-east Asian countries. Other than its role played in religious practices and cultural rituals, areca nut has also been described to have various health benefits, particularly antihelminthic and antiviral properties, in the traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda. It was observed to produce an antidepressant-like effect by elevating the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in hippocampus of rats. It also exhibited analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities in mice, and displayed in vitro antioxidant activity. Furthermore, it was found to improve spatial memory and learning behaviour in rats.


Abbas G, Naqvi S, Erum S, Ahmed S, Atta-ur-Rahman, Dar A. Potential antidepressant activity of Areca catechu nut via elevation of serotonin and noradrenaline in the hippocampus of rats. Phytother Res. 2013;27(1):39-45.

Bhandare AM, Kshirsagar AD, Vyawahare NS, Hadambar AA, Thorve VS. Potential analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of hydroalcoholic extract of Areca catechu L. nut. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010;48(12):3412-7.

Joshi M, Gaonkar K, Mangoankar S, Satarkar S. Pharmacological investigation of Areca catechu extracts for evaluation of learning, memory and behavior in rats. Int Curr Pharm J. 2012;1(6):128-32.

Lee CH, Ko AMS, Warnakulasuriya S, Yin BL, Sunarjo, Zain RB. Intercountry prevalences and practices of betel-quid use in south, southeast and eastern Asia regions and associated oral preneoplastic disorders: an international collaborative study by Asian betel-quid consortium of south and East Asia. Int J Cancer. 2011;129:1741-51.

Tsai WC, Wu MT, Wang GJ, Lee KT, Lee CH, Lu YH. Chewing areca nut increases the risk of coronary artery disease in Taiwanese men: a case-control study. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:162.

Merchant A, Husain SSM, Hosain M, Fikree FF, Pitiphat W, Siddiqui AR et al. Paan without tobacco: an independent risk factor for oral cancer. Int J Cancer. 2000;86:128-31.

Muttagi SS, Chaturvedi P, Gaikwad R, Singh B, Pawar P. Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in chronic areca nut chewing Indian women: Case series and review of literature. Indian J Med Paediatr Oncol. 2012;33(1):32-5.

Mahmood AA, Al-Bayaty FH, Salmah I, Nor Syuhada AB, Harita H, Mughrabi FF. Enhancement of gastric ulcer by Areca catechu nut in ethanol-induced gastric mucosal injuries in rats. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 2011;5(12):2562-9.




How to Cite

Sharma, A. (2017). Areca catechu nut: a double-edged sword. International Journal of Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 6(3), 700–700.



Letter to the Editor