Mawlamyaing Betel leaf saleswoman
© Omar Sayami

In intoxication

Betel leaf sale in Mawlamyaing: As a stimulant, especially in Southeast Asia, betel pepper fulfils a function in social life comparable to coffee, alcohol or cigarettes and is usually consumed as part of the so-called betel bite. This consists of a chopped betel nut, also called areca nut, and slaked lime, which can be enriched with tobacco and spices.

This mixture is wrapped with a betel leaf and chewed, whereby the typical red saliva colouring results from the substance arecoline contained in the betel nut. Betel nuts are the seeds of the betel palm or areca palm and can lead to addiction and cancer, among other things, if consumed regularly.

The effect of betel nut varies from person to person and is often described as a short high or quick intoxication. | Myanmar

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