Bitter Kola also known as Garcinia kola is a species of flowering plant in the Clusiaceae or Guttiferae family. It is found in Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. Bitter kola is known in Yoruba language as Orogbo, in Hausa as Mijin-goro, and in Igbo as Akiilu. The mineral and phyto-chemical analysis of this plant revealed that the nutritional and medicinal health benefits of bitter kola are linked to the high levels of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron. The plant is also rich in vitamin A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, fiber, tannin, sapoium, phytic acid, phenol, Trypsin inhibitor, sterol, flavonoid, Alkaloid, oxalate, caffeine and Hydrogen cyanide.
Health benefits of bitter kola
Traditionally, the fruit, seeds, nuts and bark of the bitter kola plant have been used for centuries in herbal medicine to treat several ailments due to their stimulating, astringent, draining, decongestant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, vaso-protective, lipolytic and a number of other properties. Traditional healers use bitter kola to treat to improve several medical conditions for a short period. This nut might work for depressions, fatigue problems, atonic diarrhea, migraine, and in some other situations. The medicinal and health benefits of bitter kola include:
Bitter kola serves as remedy for Impotence: Impotence is the inability for a man to get and maintain an erection. It is also known as erectile dysfunction and can impact a person’s ability to have satisfactory sexual intercourse. The inability to sustain an erection can lead to a breakdown in relationships and cause embarrassment and depression. Studies have shown that when it comes to the improvement of sexual performance, especially among men, bitter kola comes first among nuts. Bitter Kola does not only increase sex drive, it also improves sperm count, promote fertility and enhance the sexual performance of men who consume it. A study published in the African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology revealed that bitter kola supplementation significantly increased sexual behavior parameters with elevated aphrodisiac activity. The plant also boosts testosterone levels according to the study. Your testosterone levels are closely linked to your sexual function.
Dose of Bitter Kola for Erectile dysfunction: Chew the 1 – 2 kolas for at least two minutes before intercourse.
Bitter kola serves as immune system booster
A strong immune system helps to keep a person healthy.The immune system consists of organs, cells, tissues, and proteins. Together, these carry out bodily function that fights off pathogens, which are the viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies that cause infection or disease. When the immune system comes in contact with a pathogen, it releases antibodies, which attach to antigens on the pathogens and kill them. The rich amount of antioxidants found in bitter kola especially its vitamin C content helps the body to increase its immunity levels and fight off infections and disease.
Bitter kola Serves as an Antimalarial drug
Malaria is one of the most severe global public health problems worldwide, particularly in Africa, where Nigeria has the greatest number of malaria cases. Traditional medicines have been used to treat malaria for thousands of years. Bitter Kola or Garcinia kola is a rich source of kolaviron a biflavonoid fraction from plant and according to a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine kolaviron, has high antimalarial activities in addition to its known antioxidant properties. This is why traditional healers use bitter kola to treat malaria.
As An Osteoarthritis Medication
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine. If you’re looking for natural remedies for your osteoarthritis and arthritis pain and do not want to expose yourself to long-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) treatment bitter kola can help. A study published in the Journal Of Orthopedic Surgery and Research revealed that bitter kola showed clinically significant analgesic/anti-inflammatory effects in knee osteoarthritis patients. This implies that the plant can reduce inflammation, pains and also increase joint movement in patients that had osteoarthritis symptoms.
Bitter kola helps to fight sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
A Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person during sexual contact. Sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, trichomoniasis, and HIV infection are caused by bacteria, parasites, and viruses. A powerful herb with antimicrobial properties like bitter kola will not only strengthen your immune system but will also acts as a lymph cleanser killing much more pathogens than just the invader. Results from studies 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. Although Professor, Maurice Iwu, claims that bitter kola can be used to prevent Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) there have been no scientific evidence to back it up. Nevertheless, research on bitter kola is in progress to identify the active principles possessing activity against sexually transmitted pathogens including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) with an objective of providing an effective approach for prevention of transmission and treatment of these diseases.
Bitter kola Improves functioning of the lungs
Respiration is the best-known role of the lungs, but they carry out other important functions. Too much carbon dioxide can cause the body to become acidic. By adopting certain healthy habits, you can better maintain the health of your lungs, and keep them working optimally even into your senior years. There are many foods that kelp keep the lungs healthy and bitter kola is one of the major ones. Consuming bitter kola strengthens lung fibers and tissues. A 2008 study showed that bitter kola improves respiratory activities likely due to its antioxidant properties.
Bitter kola helps with weight loss
Excess weight does not only affect your physical health, but also your mental health. Individuals who are obese or overweight are more at risk of suffering from depression and psychological issues, such as loss of self-esteem. A larger body size means your heart may have to work harder to send blood throughout your body. This can contribute to high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can cause the heart to get larger or weaker, leading to heart failure. Bitter Kola is natural hunger suppressant and also increases the urge to drink more water. Regular consumption of bitter kola can help you reduce your weight faster than gym could. If you are on a special weight loss diet add bitter kola nuts to it and experience fewer food cravings throughout the day; using nuts as a snack can also help reduce hunger between meals.
Bitter kola help fight Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, causing a gradual loss of sight. Glaucoma could result in permanent blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma can happen at any age and without early detection can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness. Bitter kola has been found to be an effective remedy for the eye according to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital journal, “when bitter kola is eaten, at least twice a day, it could successfully reduce the eye pressure”. A study published in the East Africa journal of ophthalmology revealed that bitter kola ophthalmic solution significantly reduces intraocular pressure (IOP)
Bitter kola helps reduce constipation
Constipation is infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer. Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. Kola nut is a rich source of dietary fiber which helps in the prevention and treatments of health conditions that related to the digestive system which includes but is not limited to bloating, constipation and other conditions that disrupt the bowel movement.
Bitter kola cancer treatment
Cancer is caused by accumulated damage to genes. Such changes may be due to chance or to exposure to a cancer causing substance. The substances that cause cancer are called carcinogens. Bitter kola have been found effective in stopping growing of cancer tumours in human body. Although extensive studies have not been conducted, early research indicates that certain compounds found in the kola nut may decrease the risk of prostate cancer.The research is still being debated, but it is thought that the phytoestrogens in kola nuts may kill cancer cells and stop tumors from growing. In Addition bitter kola as a good ource of dietary fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer
Bitter kola increases mental alertness
Alertness is the state of active attention by high sensory awareness such as being watchful and prompt to meet danger or emergency, or being quick to perceive and act. Bitter kola are regarded as cognitive boosters, the caffeine content in bitter kola makes it a good stimulant or psycho-stimulants for the central nervous system. Caffeine help increase alertness, fight sleep inertia, improve awareness, and elevates mood.
Bitter kola is a natural diuretic
Diuretics substances designed to increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body as urine. Kola nuts and bitter kola contain bitter chemicals such as caffeine and theobromine which serve as natural diuretics. This implies that the bitter content in these nuts helps to increase water and salt expelled from human body. Diuretics keep your body’s balance and maintain the amount of water, sodium, and potassium ions in the bloodstream through a series of complex processes which makes them beneficial to human health.
Bitter kola serves as natural treatment for cold and flu
Common cold, including chest cold and head cold, and seasonal flu are caused by viruses. Usually, you’ll need nothing more than bed rest and plenty of fluids to treat the flu. But in some cases, you may need some medication and adjuncts that promotes relief. One of the ancient uses of bitter kola is in the treatment of cold. Bitter kola helps to enlarge the alveolar sac and duct providing relief from chest cold and associated symptoms.
Bitter kola can help balance blood sugar levels
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body is not able to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar. High blood sugar can lead to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. Studies have found that the seeds from this plant are capable of reducing elevated blood glucose levels. This makes it ideal for both treatment of type 2 diabetes as well as for any complications that can arise from the condition. A study published in the Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology revealed that kolaviron biflavonoids obtained from Garcinia kola produces significant hypoglycaemic effects comparable with those of tolbutamide an antidiabetic drug. This confirms the effectiveness of bitter kola as an antidiabetic agent.
Bitter Leaf and Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, you will want to stay away from harmful nuts while building your immune system, this is why consumption of fruits rich in caffeine like bitter kola should be avoided during this period. It has been scientifically proven that using bitter kola and caffeine, in particular during pregnancy, can influence the weight of your unborn child, induce premature labour and cause birth defects.
Spiritual benefits of bitter kola
Traditionalist in Nigeria and many countries in West African use bitter kola for a variety of spiritual purposes. The spiritual benefits of bitter kola include:
- Used for rituals and spiritual cleansing
- Act as tonic, stimulant, astringent, decongestant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory tool, lipolytic
- Used in special protective rituals for suppressing one enemy.
Side effects of bitter kola
Consumption of bitter kola nuts is safe when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts, short-term. The caffeine content of bitter kola can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, nausea and vomiting, stomach irritation, increased heart rate and respiration. The most common side effects associated with bitter kola are:
Stomach cramps: Pain from inside the abdomen or the outer muscle wall, ranging from mild and temporary to severe
Dry mouth: Dry mouth or xerostomia is a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth do not make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet.
Insomnia: is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
Rapid heartbeat: A rapid or fast heartbeat is when your heart is beating faster than normal. A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Nausea: Nausea is an unpleasant, diffuse sensation of unease and discomfort, often perceived as an urge to vomit. While not painful, it can be a debilitating symptom.
Diarrhea: Diarrhea is loose, watery stools (bowel movements). You have diarrhea if you have loose stools three or more times in one day.
Hives: Hives are a red, raised, itchy skin rash that is sometimes triggered by an allergen.