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Base or Sirih – Betel Chew  

by on Friday, 1 September 2006One Comment | 3,981 views

Base (Piper betle) the leaf of a species of slightly narcotic pepper. These seeds, when combined with betel nut and lime, are chewed mostly by older people all over Indonesia; the teeth become rust-colored after years of chewing. Chewed in Indonesia for over 2.500 years, Base could also serve important ritual functions in restoring harmony and peace between individuals or within a community. On Bali, only a diminishing number of old people still chew Base.


The betel chew has three ingredients: areca nut (often, mistakenly, called betel nut), betel leaf, and lime. Very often a fourth material is added, gambir.

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