The areca nut (/ˈærɨkə/ or /əˈriːkə/) is the seed of the areca palm (Areca catechu) known in Indonesia as Pinang, which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. It is commonly referred to as betel nut, as it is often chewed wrapped in betel leaves (paan). The name areca origin from Malayalam adakka, during the 18th century Dutch and Portuguese sailors took to Europe.
The habit has many harmful effects on health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that chewing areca nut is carcinogenic to humans after reviewing the published medical research. Various compounds present in the nut, most importantly arecoline, contribute to histologic changes in the oral mucosa. As with chewing tobacco, its use is discouraged by preventive efforts.