Herbs & Botanicals
What is areca peel? What is it used for?
Also known as betel nut or pinang, areca peel refers to the dried pericarp,
or husk, that forms around a betel nut (areca catechu).
Unripe betel nuts
are usually collected in the winter and spring, boiled, dried and cut
longitudally. After being dried, the pericarp is peeled from the nut and
used in herbal preparations. The betel nut (da fu mao
) is also
Areca peel is associated with several meridians, including the Large
Intestine, Small Intestine, Spleen and Stomach meridians. In traditional
Chinese medicine, it is used to promote the downward flow of qi,
reduce food stagnation, ease the stomach, and subdue swelling. Compounds
in the peel stimulate the central nervous system and the salivary, bronchial
and intestinal glands. In humans, it has been indicated to treat a distended
abdomen, edema, constipation and difficult urination. It is also widely
used in Asia as a form of veterinary medicine, and can kill tapeworms
in cattle, dogs and horses.
How much areca peel should I take?
The generally recommended dose of areca peel is 6-9 grams per day, usually
taken with water as a decoction.
What forms of areca peel are available?
Dried areca peel can be found at some Asian markets and specialty stores.
It is also available as a powder or decoction. In addition to the peel,
some stores also sell extracts of betel nut.
What can happen if I take too much areca peel?
Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should
People who are allergic to betel nuts should not take areca peel in any
form. Those who are allergic to betel nuts or who take large doses of
areca peel decoction may suffer an allergic reaction, which usually manifests
as severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever. It should be used with extreme
caution by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. As always, make sure
to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking areca peel
or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.
- Chen GT, Yang SW. Practical Diagnostics and Therapeutics
of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine. Medicinal & Scientific Herbology Press of China, 1994.
- Huang B, Wang Y. Thousand Formulas and Thousand
Herbs of Traditional Chinese Medicine, vol. 2. Harbin: Heilongjiang
Education Press, 1993.
- Tang W, Eisenbrand G. Chinese Drugs of Plant Origin.
Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, 1992.
- Tsarong TJ. Handbook of Traditional Tibetan Drugs:
Their Nomenclature, Composition, Use, and Dosage. Kalimpong: Tibetan
Medical Publications, 1986.
- Wei BH. TCM Research and Clinical Application on
Studies of Spleen and Stomach. Beijing Publishing Co., 1994.