Bitter kola, also known as Garcinia kola is a species of tropical flowering plant in the Guttiferae family that is considered medicinal with no specified side effects.
The flowering plant that produces brown nut-like seeds is a bitter traditional fruit common in West Africa and its usage is not limited to traditional activities alone.
Garcinia kola fruit, seeds, nuts and the bark of the bitter kola plant have been used for centuries for herbal medicine to treat several ailments such as hepatitis, infections and other viral diseases and its seed is recommended traditionally for the treatment of diabetes liver disorders and fertility-enhancing substance.
Bitter kola which contains a high source of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron, also carries other antioxidants and it is found mostly in the tropical rain forest region of Central and West Africa.
Garcinia kola is mostly found in Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone and its fruit has been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat ailments from coughs to fever.
Also, a study revealed that bitter kola contains chemical compounds that will help the breakdown of glycogen in the liver and has other medicinal uses which account for its longevity properties in man.
Research has further proven that Garcinia kola has been used as a purgative, antiparasitic, and antimicrobial agent, throat infection, diarrhea, bronchitis, and as an aphrodisiac over the years. According to a report from the Center for International Forestry Research, Garcinia kola trade is still important to the indigenous communities and villages in Nigeria.
Health Benefits Of Bitter Kola/Garcinia Kola
Garcinia kola or bitter kola is an edible nut, which belongs to a unique group of plants that help organisms to adapt to stress by influencing multiple regulatory systems such as the immune system and act also as a general anti-infective agent. Bitter kola might work for depressions, fatigue problems, atonic diarrhea, migraine, and other disease conditions.
It is important to note here that apart from the medical benefits of bitter kola, Garcinia kola nut is also used widely in Nigeria and many West African countries as part of traditional hospitality, cultural, and social ceremonies.
Garcinia Kola tree has been widely used in cosmetology due to its stimulating, astringent, draining, decongestant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, vaso-protective, lipolytic and a number of other properties.
In short, the health benefits of bitter kola make it a fair alternative for a list of pills and medicines because almost all the parts on the bitter kola plant can be used for health purposes. Here are some of the benefits of bitter kola.
1. It Improves Sexual Impotence
Bitter kola is one of the best traditional fruit to improve sexual performance, most especially among men because it is very helpful to combat impotence. According to studies, for bitter kola seed to be effective, it is advisable for the seed to be chewed some minutes before the intercourse.
Bitter kola is the king among all other suggested herbs, this is because bitter kola does not only increase sex drive, it does a lot of unbelievable things. It has also been confirmed that bitter kola helps to increase sperm counts and promote male fertility, which can be useful for those men out there looking into adding a little one to your family.
2. It Serves As A Remedy For Osteoarthritis
Bitter kola is a strong remedy for osteoarthritis, reduced inflammation disease, and pains. According to the National Institute of Health, the causes of Osteoarthritis can include joint injury, obesity, and aging.
Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone that causes pain and stiffness, especially in the hip, knee, and thumb joints. It is a common form of arthritis.
Bitter kola can also repel snakebite and can be used for preventing snake by simply spreading the seeds around the house It also increased joint movement in patients that had osteoarthritis symptoms.
Studies at Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria tested the effects of bitter kola against arthritis symptoms. The results of the study, written by Olayinka O. Adegbehingbe and published in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, conclude that bitter kola significantly reduced inflammation and pain and increased joint movement in subjects that had osteoarthritis symptoms.
3. It Helps Combats Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Research has revealed that the seed and leaf of bitter kola have loads of antibacterial, detoxification, and cleansing properties that could be effective in the treatment of HIV and AIDS.
Bitter kola has also be deduced to have a potent ability to clinically isolate Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, and Streptococcus pyrogens.
Since the emergence of sexually transmitted diseases, reputable scientists and researchers have been on the know to bring a permanent solution to the disease.
Although their battle may seem somewhat difficult as a result of the complexity of the diseases, yet results have shown that seed and leaf of bitter kola have antibacterial activity on clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, and Streptococcus pyrogens.
4. It Improves Immunity System
Bitter kola has been discovered to have a high amount of antioxidant which provide the immune system with all the needed supports to protect one from attacks of harmful toxins and effective immune response against strange particles.
This high amount of antioxidants found in bitter kola does not only help fight bacteria and other illnesses, but it also helps the body to increase its immunity levels. When the immunity level of the body is increased, it becomes strong enough to fight against any foreign contaminant.
5.t Improves The Function Of Lungs
The benefits of bitter kola to improve the functioning of the lungs can be attributed to its high antioxidant content. It helps in the maintenance of a good respiratory tract as well as treating chest cold. It has a favourably high antioxidant content for a healthy body.
The fibers and lung tissues are not only strengthened when bitter kola is consumed regularly in a considerate amount, it also stabilizes any other counter effect. So, that is why smokers, even passive smokers move along with bitter kola everywhere they go to.
6. It Serves As An Anti-Malaria Agent
Bitter kola to some degree has been proven to have helped in the treatment of acute fever, inflammation, respiratory tract and throats infections, most especially the seeds and stem. Research has also shown that the chemical constituents in bitter kola have anti-malarial properties.
Kolaviron is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Kolaviron is a major constituent of bitter kola seed which helps in treating malaria.
This is why traditional healers have for many years prescribed bitter kola for the treatment of malaria infections. Although, there are no definite side effects of bitter kola/garcinia kola, but, it is advisable to use the seed on certain occasions because anything in excess or wrong proportion may show a bad side effect.
7. It Fights Glaucoma (Eye Pressure)
Eye Pressure better called Glaucoma is intense pressure within the eyeball which causes a gradual loss of eyesight. Glaucoma could result in permanent blindness if left untreated, but the good news his that bitter kola has been found as a great remedy for glaucoma.
According to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital journal, “when bitter kola is eaten, at least twice a day, it could successfully reduce the eye pressure”.
8. It Assists With General Weight Loss
Regular use of bitter kola can help you reduce your weight faster than the gym could because bitter Kola has been revealed to be a natural hunger suppressant and also increases the urge to drink more water.
People that are placed on a special diet and wish to lose some weight can add bitter kola to their meals and experience fewer food cravings throughout the day; using nuts as a snack can also help reduce hunger between meals.
Studies have also suggested that kola nut in combination with ephedra and willow bark by mouth for up to 6 months might cause modest weight loss in overweight and obese people.
9. It Helps Reduce Constipation
Bitter kola nut functions as a dietary fiber in food as it helps in the prevention and treatments of health conditions that relate to the digestive system which includes but is not limited to bloating, constipation and other conditions that disrupt the bowel movement.
10. It Enhances Cancer Treatment
Research has proven that bitter kola is effective in putting a stop to growing tumours and cancerous disease in the human body. The studies further elicit that the presence of a chemical compound known as phytoestrogens in bitter kola is used for cancer treatment and reduce the growth of tumour cells.
Also, there is a non-steroidal plant compound contained in kola nut extracts that have the ability to terminate the growth and development of prostate cancer cells in the body.
11. It Increases Mental Alertness
Specifically, bitter kola is regarded as a cognitive booster due to the caffeine content found in it which makes it a good stimulant or psycho-stimulants for the central nervous system.
Bitter kola is also known to help improve awareness, mental alertness as well as elevated mood. To increase your mental alertness as an individual or student you are advised to consume more of garcinia kola more than any other herb.
12. It Helps Promotes Diuresis
Bitter kola which contains bitter chemicals such as caffeine and theobromine serves as natural diuretics. This means that the bitter content in these nuts helps to increase water and salt expelled from the human body, and some minor sicknesses in the body are flushed out through urine in the process which makes them beneficial to human health.
13. Bitter Kola Boosts Fertility
It has been deduced that the consumption of bitter kola over the years have improved fertility Nigerian women who experience infertility problems sometimes eat bitter kola to aid faster result.
14. It Serves As A Natural Remedies For Cold And Cough
Bitter kola nuts have been found to be medicinal and natural remedies for chest cold and cough since the days of our forefathers till recent times. Bitter kola help to enlarge the alveolar sac and duct thereby providing relief for chest cold and prevent the symptoms of cold and cough. To use bitter kola to solve heavy cough, simply open the back of the nuts and grind it in a neat plate and add a little palm oil to it, after three hours it is suitable for consumption.
However, the presence of caffeine in bitter kola also contribute to this effect but always consult the doctor before using this therapy because excess caffeine can cause adverse reactions.
15. Bitter Kola Helps To Prevent Sleep
One of the ancients’ uses of bitter kola/garcinia kola is using it to prevent sleep, this is possible due to its high caffeine content but when it’s taken regularly and in excess can at a point cause insomnia including other related problems such as stomach irritation, nervousness, restlessness, and more. Therefore it is advisable to not abuse the use of bitter kola by overly consuming it.
One of the things bitter kola is commonly abused of is its intake to prevent sleep which is possible because of its rich caffeine content,
16. It Works As An Anti-poison
When someone accidentally ate something poisonous or any contaminated food or drink, bitter kola has been deduced to detoxify the poison power and prevent any infection by simply chewing the nuts. It also serves as a natural herb for cold. Has said earlier, Bitter kola has a potent antibiotic with many detoxification abilities.
17. It Helps Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Bitter kola is effective for the balancing of blood sugar levels in the body, as a means of keeping the blood glucose levels stable, bitter kola also work to stabilize individuals with type 2 diabetes
The research conducted revealed that the seeds from the plant are capable of reducing elevated blood glucose levels. This makes it ideal for both treatments of type 2 diabetes as well as for any complications that can arise from the condition.
Bitter kola isn’t just useful for treating malaria, it could actually prevent the cognitive and motor dysfunction that is typically associated with the disease.
18. Bitter Kola Helps To Detoxify Diseases In The Body
Detoxification is a process by which the body gets rid of unwanted toxins that are acquired due to environmental pollution or excessive consumption of junk, carbohydrates, alcohol, refined and processed foods which bitter kola can help you shed out without much stress. You don’t need to go through hectic exercises to detoxify diseases from the body.
Although exercising is one of the ways of saying yes to a healthy body cause when you exercise, there is immerse sweating and sweating is a means by which the skin eliminates some TOXINS. Sweating is an effective means of detoxification, which helps you get rid of unwanted toxins apart from keeping fit.
The Likely Side Effects Of Bitter Kola
Consumption of bitter kola nuts is completely safe but there have been several reports of certain side effects that can occur due to bitter kola usage. As bitter kola does contain caffeine which can affect the central nervous system, most of the negative effects are felt by individuals who are sensitive to caffeine in general or those that are allergic to bitter kola.
Heart conditions: Caffeine in cola nut might cause irregular heartbeat in certain people. It is advisable to use bitter kola wisely if you have a heart condition.
Bleeding disorders: Bitter kola contains caffeine, which might slow blood clotting. This makes some experts worry that bitter kola nut might make bleeding disorders worse.
The most common side effects associated with bitter kola include:
However, after the consumption of garcinia kola or bitter kola you experience any form of symptoms or other signs of an allergic reaction, kindly consult your doctor for further examination and ensure you stop taking the kola.