Saturday, 17 April 2010

Sekapur Sirih

The tradition of eating betel can be trace back to more than 3,000 years ago. It’s practiced from various groups ranging from the poor, the nobles, the royal and even the children..

The tradition is said to be originated from India. Some said It’s from Indonesian islands, but Malaysian Malays claims that they started the tradition without external influence. Nevertheless, it’s an important cultural activity in many Asian and Oceanic countries..

The normal ingredient of betel chewing consists of betel leaf ( leaf of Piper betle ), betel nut ( fruit of Areca catechu ), kapur and gambir ( extract of Uncaria gambir’s leaves )..

Betel leaf / Sireh ( Piper betle ) is a perennial creeper belong to the Piperaceae family. The plant originated from South & S.E.Asia. Betel oil contains chavitetol, chavicol, estragole, eugenol, methyl eugenol and hydroxycatechol. .
It is use fresh to wrap the betel nut, kapur and gambir for chewing. .

Betel nut / Pinang ( Areca catechu ) is a species of palm tree originated from S.E.Asia. The seed contains arecain and arecoline, which is intoxicating and slightly addictive, also claimed to be link to oral cancers. .

The alkaloid arecoline in betel nut acts as stimulant to promote salivation.
Kapur / slaked lime is from grind shell in a little liquid. It is Calcium hydroxide with molecular formuala Ca(OH)2.
The lime acts to keep the active ingredient in its freebase form, thus enabling it to enter the bloodstream via sublingual absorption..

Gambir ( Uncaria gambir ) is a shrub from the family Rubiaceae. Native to S.E.Asia . It contains many catechins which are known to have many medicinal properties and are components of Chinese herbal remedies..

To make gambir, the leaves are first boiled in water, then pressed to squeeze and extract the liquid. The liquid is then dried into a semi-solid paste and molded into cubes, which are dried under the sun.

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