USES OF ARECA AND ITS COMPONENTS
The search for developing alternate uses of Areca nut is based on finding best use for the various components of the nut and its traditional industrial and medicinal uses.
Areca tree is known to have several uses. The every components of the tree is used for one or the other purposes in human life. Many practices and uses of its components are not brought to picture due to ignorance, lack of interest, less scope for research and heavy investment requirement etc. To safeguard the future of Areca growers it is advisable some research need to be undertaken by business people, co-operatives, scholars, farmers, Universities and others connected.
Following are the different components of Areca:
- Areca root
- Areca tree
- Areca nut
- Areca tannin
- Areca husk
- Areca leaf
- Areca flower
A. TRADITIONAL USES OF ARECA AND ITS COMPONENTS
1. ARECANUT :
Areca nut is already made available in the market with different varieties such as powdered quality, scented one, ‘gutkha’, 'pan masala' and 'mama' with zarda tobacco mix, sweet and masala forms and roasted small pieces in an attractive sachets and packets. There, still is lot of opportunity and potentiality of introducing in the form of slices, mumries, pieces or powder in different colors by adding its value with spices and chilli powder (Spicy and pungent areca nut) in sachets'. In order to boost pan-beeda market in the domestic and foreign, long lasting ready-made pans may be made available in the attractive healthy packs or containers. Another possibility is that it could be developed as chewing gum. For this, necessary research may be undertaken. If it is achieved, market could be captured easily. Further, exploiting its physical and chemical properties, production of ideal mouth freshener could be thought of to attract the attention of Multinational Companies. Aesthetically, attractive and imaginative novelties can be made from areca nut taking advantage of the natural color and having variation on the surface. For instance, it can be used for preparing toys for small babies, garland, statues and different show case pieces by giving fine art touch on it. It can also be utilized in the production of various show case pieces, like paper weight. Considering its rich chemical and physical properties, already conducted pilot research in Mizoram State had promised that it could be useful in extracting liquor. Another experiment conducted in CFTRI - Mysore in Karnataka proved that it could be used in preparing beverage with betel leaves.
2.TANNIN (‘CHOGARU’) :
Tannin is obtained as a by-product from the process of preparing immature betel nuts for masticator purposes. The sediments found in the tannin when it is dried, is called areca nut dust. Tannin in areca nut were being used for dyeing clothes and tanning leather. It can be used as an adhesive in ply board manufacture. Another possible use of areca tannin is as a safe food coloring agent. Black writing ink of acceptable quality may be prepared. Further, it is also useful in protecting house hold furniture by applying it like varnish. In the olden days tannin is used like paints to color walls. Traders use it to store areca for long duration by applying it. So that, necessary research may be undertaken to prepare acceptable wood oil and gums by using tannin as a major ingredient. Department of Chemistry of Delhi University and Chemical Technology, University of Bombay had undertaken study to identify the properties of tannin to find out to its alternative uses.
3.FATS AND ITS USES :
The areca nut contains 8-12 percent fatness. It can be extended by solvent extraction using hexane. It can be made edible by refining it using soda lime’. The refined areca fat is harder than cocoa, butter and even better, due to its high muriatic acid content. It could be softened by undergoing certain chemical processing and then it can be used as confectionery fat. Simple mixture of areca fat with butter fat at 3:1 ratio or with cocoa fat at 1:1 ratio could give product acceptable in confectioneries. Further, it could be used in preparation of biscuits, soaps, tea, chocolates, rasam powder, pickle, wine, herbal powder, cool drinks, syrup, gum, sweets, vinegar and savories and in place of vanaspati. Encouraging result have been obtained in preparing chewing gum and tooth paste using this extract of areca nut. Sweet supari making requires variety without fat.
4.ARECANUT HUSK AND ITS UTILITY:
Husk is the outer cover or wrapper of the areca fruit which include 50-75 percent of the total volume and weight of the fruits. About 275000 tones of dry husk can be estimated annually in India. It is now everywhere in India being largely wasted except for being used as an inferior fuel, mulching and in manure. It was used in Indochina and Philippines for herbal tooth brushes. The biochemistry and physical properties of the husk have been studied by Baruah, Raghavan and Murthy (1957) and at the Jute Technological Research Laboratory (JRIL) Calcutta. The husk is anatomically divided into 3 zones. The outer layer covered with cuticles, the middle layer which encloses the fibers and the hard and stony inner layer addressed to the nut. JRTL having studied the physical properties of areca husk, identified its tenacity, fineness and textural rigidity. Based on the various tests, it proposed that fiber content could be used for making such items as thick, boards, fluffy cushions and non woven fabrics. Several studies have been carried out particularly in the Forest Research Institute (F.R.I.) Dehradun to see areca nut husk could be utilized for preparing hard board and plastics. As a result, it has been proved that plastic and hard boards of satisfactory strength and water repellent material can be made from areca husk. It can also be used in preparing boxes, cushioned envelops, soft boards, pillow, beds, etc., The studies carried out at the Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI) Mysore (Karnataka), proved that areca husk could be chemically pulped and it can be used to prepare craft paper. However, to exploit the utility of areca husk in this line, problems of transporting husk to the factory point and the high costs of chemicals required for digesting the husk are appeared to be major bottlenecks while using it commercially. Possibilities of producing activated carbon from the husk has offered promising result. Areca husk can be used as a manure as it contains 1.0-1.1 percent N2, 0.4-0.5 percent P2O2 and 1.0 - l.5 percent K2o. Therefore, it could be a good organic manure if properly composted. However, advanced research is suggested since it is resistant to microbial-degradation. Another possibility is that it can be used as raw material for preparing ready-made toys, flowers, garlands and decorative ornaments and many types of show case pieces.
B. MEDICINAL USES
Areca nut having long history and reputation in India, China and Philippines as it has been extensively used particularly in veterinary practices. The fresh nut has intoxicating properties and produces giddiness, the ripe nut is astringent and is now used only in veterinary practice as a vermicide. VAGBHATA’S (4th Century A.D.) reference to areca nut is probably the earliest reference in any text. He describes its use in the treatment of leucoderma, leprosy, cough, fits worms, anemia and obesity. Areca nut is recommended as an ointment for the treatment of nasal ulcer along with other ingredients. BHAVAMISRA(13th Century) recommended the use of areca nut for its appetizing and stimulating properties. Mr. WATT (1889) suggested that areca nut powder could be used as anthelmintic for dogs to expel tape worms and thread worms. NADAKARNI (1908) mentions that arecoline which is isolated from areca nut, resembles muscarine and produces a fall in a blood pressure. The tincture of nut is used for bleeding gums after diluting with water. The juice of tender leaves mixed with oil is applied in case of lumbago and decoction of the root cures sore lips. DESAI (1927) reported that roasted areca nut is useful in dysentery. CHOPRA (1933) mentioned that the nut is useful in bookworm infection. It is evident that, areca nut had long been in use as medicine in India along with other parts of the palm. The areca nut decoction had been found to be effective in taenia infections. It was used for the treatment of helminthic infection in both human beings and animals in combination with other drugs. SIA (1959) recommended areca nut decoction and magnesium sulphate as a purgative after a prior treatment with pumpkin seed powder. Arecoline contents of areca nut is used in an anti snoring composition, which was formulated into gargles and tablets. (KHOE, 1975) BASU, BASKAR and (1942) have reported that lime with nut chewing meets calcium deficiency of Indian diet.
In view of the above, in brief, it can be summarized that areca nut and its components with other elements could be used in human medicines like thread worms, tape worms, skin problems, cough, fits, anemia, obesity, nasal ulcers, appetizing effect, blood pressure, bleeding gums, sore lips dysentery, hook worms, taenio infections, helminthic infections, purgative effects and for calcium deficiencies. Apart from this it can be also used in veterinary medicine in expelling worms, skin problems soaring, bleeding problems, bleeding gums, hook worms thread and tape worms. Even areca components could be used to prepare medicines in Synus, Gangrin, Herfis, Tooth-ache, Virus diseases. It could be a best medicine for itching problems a skin disease. Hence areca is an effective blood purifier.
C. USE OF OTHER COMPONENTS OF ARECA
- Areca tree is used as protecting measure to their garden land.
- It can be used in the form of water supplying pipe.
- Areca tree is used to construct temporary sheds and tents.
- It is used as reaper in houses roofed with tiles.
- It can be used as ladder, and act as alternative to foot bridges to cross small rivers.
- Areca tree can be turned into usable furniture like chairs, table, sofa etc.
- Areca husk can be used for drainage construction in garden lands.
- Areca leaf is used as areca collecting bags, like plates, bowls, fire wood, cap, rain protector etc.
- Areca leaf is used in the form of rope to tie bags, pepper plants betel vine plants.
- Areca flower is used for worship and decoration purposes.
- Areca leaf over which drawing fine-looking pictures can be enjoyed.
D. ARECA PRODUCTS
1) ARECA PLATES:
2) Areca Table and Chair :
3) ARECA SOAP:
4) ARECA TOOTHPASTE:
5) ARECA TEA POWDER :
6) ARECA VITA
7) ARECA WINE:
8) PAINTING OVER ARECA PLATES :
9) ARECANUT GARLAND :