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123. Chavica Betle, Miquel.—Betle Pepper.

Botanical name:

Piper Betle, Linnaeus.—The leaf of this plant (as well as of Chavica Siriboa, Miq.) is extensively used by the Malays and other nations of the Kast, who consider it a neccessary of life. The mode of taking it in Sumatra consists simply in spreading on the sirih (the leaf of the Chavica Betle)a small quantity of chunam (quick-lime prepared from calcined shells), and folding it up with a slice of pining or Areca nut (see ante, p. 170), From the mastication there proceeds a juice which tinges the saliva of a bright red, and which the leaf and nut, without the lime, will not yield. This hue being communicated to the moulh and lips, is esteemed ornamental, and an agreeable flavour is imparted to the breath. The juice is usually, but not always, swallowed. To persons who are not habituated to this composition it causes giddiness, astringes and excoriates the mouth and fauces, and deadens for a time the faculty of taste. Individuals, when toothless, have the ingredients previously reduced to a paste, that they may dissolve without further effort. [Marsden, Hist. of Sumatra, 3d edit. p. 281.]

The Elements of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Vol. II, 3th American ed., was written by Jonathan Pereira in 1854.

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