Betel leaf extract has been consumed throughout history. Though there are many positive aspects to its use, it is important to know the possible side effects associated with betel leaf extract.
Betel leaf is part of the creeping vine piper betle, and the liquid produced within it is betel leaf extract.
Betel leaf is found primarily in Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, but it is also used in Europe.
Betel leaf has been used medicinally for centuries for a variety of ailments, including bad breath, relieving aches and pains and curing intestinal worms.
Betel leaf extract is most popularly combined with the areca nut (often referred to as “betel nut”), and is used as a recreational drug. The combination is commonly called betel quid and works as a stimulant. When chewed, betel leaf releases its extract and combines with the areca nut and saliva, entering the bloodstream and generally resulting in an alert or stimulated feeling for the user.
Betel leaf extract alone has not been shown to cause significant side effects, but there are side effects associated with the use of betel quid.
Health risks linked to the use of betel quid include increased heart rate, heart palpitations, possible cardiovascular disease, mouth tumors, and oral and brain cancers. As with any drug or dietary supplement, consult a physician before using it.
References and ResourcesDrug Information Online: Betel Nut
"British Journal of Cancer": Betel Nut and Cancer