The Arecanut Research and Development Foundation at Mangalore in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has been granted licence for commercial manufacture of two Ayurvedic medicines using white arecanut.
The areca nut, a favourite of the Indian betel chewers, has been known to have some medicinal properties. It is used in the manufacture of toothpowder and to combat tapeworms.
The Mangalore foundation had initiated research on alternative use of arecanut through the Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Ayurveda Pharmacy, Udupi.
The the Directorate of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy (ISMH) has now given the foundation its nod for commercial production of "Pooga syrup" and "Pooga trim" (powder). Pooga in Sanskrit means arecanut.
M. Mohanan, technical adviser at the pharmacy said in the clinical trails that lasted five years, the syrup was used to treat respiratory-related allergies.
The Pooga trim was used to reduce obesity and control diabetes, he said. The pharmacy was planning to bring out Pooga trim in capsule form too.
He said arecanut constituted 50 per cent of the ingredients in Pooga trim, and 30 per cent in the syrup.
If there was good demand for these medicines, approximately five per cent of the total white arecanut annually produced in Kerala and Karnataka could be utilised to manufacture them, Dr. Mohanan added.There has been a good response from the people of the region during trial marketing and no side-effect reported.