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The habit of chewing areca nut has been reported since ancient times.It has been used as food, medicine, social and religious purposes, as described in Sanskrit manuscripts. The harmful effects of chronic chewing of areca nut have been well established, however, not much is documented regarding the advantages of chewing areca nut. The study was done to review the various possible favourable effects of chewing Areca on the oral and general health.Structured scientific review and meta-analysis of scientific publications from past 10 years was done from various books & journals in the central library & NML and various search engines like PubMed, Wiley, Google Scholar,Science Direct and EBSCO host. It was mentioned in Charaka and Sushruta Samhitas (75 AD to 300 AD), practice of chewing of betel leaves was commonafter meals. Areca is used as a medicine for digestive and dental health, also used in Ayurvedic medicine to facilitate bowel movements and reduce intestinal worms. Survey of literature revealed its various medicinal properties like antibacterial, antioxidant, anticariogenic, antimicrobial, anti- inflammatory, anti-melanogenesis, hypolipidemic, hepatoprotective etc. Extensive informations from literature review indicates that Areca catechu has a broad spectrum of pharmacological effects. More research should be undertaken to determine its efficacy against several diseases on man with respect to other natural products and modern drugs.
Rosane Cavalcante Fragoso, Brasil
Chief Scientific Officer and Head of a Research Group
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