Betel nuts, the fruit of the areca palm, are used exclusively as a mild drug which is said to promote euphoria, heightened alertness, sweating, salivation and an increased capacity to work. The active ingredient is betel nuts is an alkaloid named arecoline. It is ingested as a component of a "betel quid" which is both chewed and held like chewing tobacco inside the cheek. Chewing betel is popular in many cultures. The nuts are legal to cultivate, buy, possess, and distribute without a license or prescription in the United States, although the Food and Drug Administration has banned the importation of betel nuts.
Pick a fresh betel palm leaf. Betel palms are indigenous to India and Southeast Asia but can also be grown in Florida and southern California.
Coat one side of the leaf with limestone paste. Limestone paste is available in some Asian markets and it is otherwise used to crisp vegetables.
Cut a betel nut into thin slices with a sharp knife. Arrange the slices on top of the limestone paste.
Add cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, coriander or dry ginger for flavouring.
Fold the betel palm leaf containing the limestone paste, betel and flavourings into a teaspoon size packet called a "quid." Put the quid in your cheek and chew.
Stop chewing when your saliva turns red. Continue to hold the quid in your cheek as long as you want.