While some evidence suggests that betel nut may help in stroke recovery and reduce the risk of ulcerative colitis, there is not enough evidence to support its use for these conditions, according to Healthline. People who chew betel nut may be risking side effects that outweigh any potential benefits.
Betel nut produces an energy boost, probably through the release of adrenaline from its natural alkaloids, Healthline explains. It has not been well tested in clinical research, and while people have long touted its use for conditions such as digestive problems, there is limited proof of its health benefits. A number of studies have shown links between betel nut and oral and esophageal cancers as well as a condition called oral submucous fibrosis that causes stiffness of the mouth and may lead to loss of jaw movement.
People who chew betel nut regularly may suffer from teeth that are permanently stained red or black, tooth decay, gum irritation, and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and obesity, advises Healthline. The World Health Organization labeled betel nut a carcinogen and has called for policy changes, public awareness and community outreach to limit its use. Between 10 and 20 percent of the world's population chews betel nut, and the practice is common in South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Basin.