Piper Betel vs. Betel Nut

Piper betel—the herbal extract in WLF1—is often confused with another plant, Areca catechu, which has known adverse effects. Unlike Piper betel (commonly known as betel), the plant in question Areca catechu (commonly known as betel nut or areca nut) has been shown to have a stimulant effect, potential cancer-causing effect and other adverse effects.(1,2)

Both plants not only have similar common names (e.g., betel vs betel nut), but also are traditionally consumed together in Indian and Asian cultures, making it more difficult to separate the two. For example, both are found in paan, which is popular in India and Asia and is typically chewed after a meal. Paan is made by wrapping the betel leaf around a mixture of spices, slaked lime, and areca nut with or without tobacco.(3)

Separately, the standardized betel extract used in WLF1 has undergone extensive safety studies, including tests for any potential ability to affect the genetic makeup of cells (e.g., mutagenic studies). Results reveal it is free of any mutagenic activity.(4)

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