Scientists have discovered a new tool which may help people stop smoking. Compounds derived from the areca nut (nga-nga or bunga)could be used to synthesize a treatment for nicotine dependence without the negative side effects of existing smoking cessation drugs. That’s according to research presented at an American Chemical Society meeting on April 5. Scientists have found that an alkaloid in the nut stimulates the brain cell receptors responsible for nicotine addiction but not other types of nicotine receptors.
But here is where it gets a little complicated. The nuts themselves are part of an addictive substance used by an estimated 600 million people in Southeast Asia.
People chew betel quid, a combination of areca nuts and betel leaves, which gives them a sense of euphoria. Researchers, however, say the compounds in the nut could actually help people break their betel quid addiction as well.