Betel Nut, a name inaccurately applied to the nut of the areca palm (areca catechu), because, though sold separately, it is used for chewing in combination with the leaf of the betel pepper (piper betle). The habit of chewing this compound has extended from the islands of the Malay archipelago, where it is chiefly found, to the continent of Asia, and its use is now universal from the Red sea to Japan. Its preparation for use is very simple: the nut is sliced and wrapped in the leaf, with a little quicklime to give it a flavor. All classes, male and female, are in the habit of chewing it, and think it improves the digestion. It gives to the tongue and lips a scarlet hue, and in time turns the teeth perfectly black. The Malays have a hideous appearance from its use, but the Chinese are very careful to remove the stain from the teeth. Persons of rank often carry it prepared for use in splendid cases worn at the girdle, and offer it to each other as people of Europe or America offer snuff.
Betel Pepper (Piper betle).