Betel nut chewing which is commonly practiced in Asia, Micronesia, Island Melanesia, and the Caribbean is often associated with cancer due to its carcinogenic nature. But a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that the muscarinic drug could have positive effects on schizophrenic symptoms.
A study carried out at the Behavioral Health Division, Belau National Hospital surveyed 69 Palauan outpatients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and rated their experience consuming betel nuts based on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Although initially, they found no significant relationships between betel chewing and positive or negative symptoms for the entire cohort, separate analysis for male high-consumption betel chewers had significantly lower positive symptoms than did low-consumption or non-betel chewers. This suggests that there may be a therapeutic relationship between betel chewing and positive schizophrenia symptoms among men. However further studies would need to be carried out to rule out other factors such as cannabis and alcohol consumption.
Click here to find out more about the results of this study.