Are you aware of the 10 reasons why bitter kola is highly sought after? This article unravels some important information about this amazing plant. Garcinia kola is a flowering plant that belongs to the Guttiferae or Clusiaceae family. Popularly known as bitter kola, Garcinia kola grows mainly in the rain forests region of west Africa such as Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Gabon.
Bitter kola seeds, fruit, bark and nuts are used for treating diseases and ailments from time immemorial. Regardless the economic benefits of bitter kola, it's cultivation is quite minimal due to certain prevailing factors.
Garcinia kola is available in large quantity in West Africa and it is classified as a powerful antibiotic that is essential for treating certain ailments. Garcinia Kola otherwise known as aku inu by the Ibo part of Nigeria is used immensely for preparing herbal drugs.
Different tribes in Nigeria has different names for bitter kola such as; Ibo (Igbo) call it aku-ilu or ugolo, the Isekiri call it okain, Efik call it efiari or edun, Yoruba call bitter kola orogbo, Hausa call it cida goro, Bokyi call it oje, Ejagham-Ekin call it efrie, Ibibio call it efiat while the Idoma call it igoligo.
Benefits of Bitter Kola
Garcinia kola is anti-poisonous in nature, being that it helps in the prevention of bacterial infection caused as a result of food poisoning. The bark and seed of Garcinia kola when eaten together helps in the detoxification of the human system especially in the cases of food poisoning.
It is recommendable to chew bitter kola immediately after eating on suspicion of consuming contaminated food. Certain parts of the African countries have the belief that chewing and holding bitter Kola helps to drive away evil people and spirits.
2). Life Prolongation
Certain African cultures hold the belief that chewing bitter kola helps to prolong life and this claim is supported by some researchers who attest that Garcinia kola is made up of chemical compounds that assist in breaking down glycogen present in the liver, which results in life longevity.
3). Traditional medicine
Bitter kola is anti-parasitic, antimicrobial and purgative in nature hence the seeds can be used for treating colic, tuberculosis, throat infections, chest colds, typhoid fever, bacterial infections, diarrhoea, bronchitis, liver disorders and cough. The bitter kola seeds can be chewed raw or blended and mixed with other ingredients for treatment.
Researchers agree that chewing at least one bitter kola everyday can help in treating knee osteoarthritis, low libido, erectile dysfunction, low sperm count and arthritis. The bitter kola leaves can be prepared for treating stomach ache and pains.
4). Ebola cure
Considering the recent ebola outbreak in West Africa, claim has been made that bitter kola can be used for curing the Ebola virus infections. Due to the antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of Garcinia kola, it is used in the African countries for fighting viral infectious Ebola virus. This claim however has not be scientifically proven and verified.
5). Throat clearing
Bitter kola seeds can be chewed to clear sore throat and throat hoarseness. Bitter kola clears the throat by boosting mucus production along the vocal tube lining, which helps to soften the dry throat.
Bitter kola is antioxidant in nature thus can be used for detoxifying the gall bladder, liver and body system. Also due to its high antioxidant content, bitter kola is capable of dilating the alveolar ducts and sacs in the lungs thus clearing the chest from colds and congestion.
7). Glaucoma and Eye Pressure
Researchers agree that chewing biter kola helps to reduce the eye pressure. Glaucoma is caused as a result of increase in eye pressure, which if left untreated can lead to blindness. Studies have reported that eye drops containing at least 0.5% of bitter kola extract is very effective in reducing eye pressure if used at least twice a day.
8). Increased sexual performance
Bitter kola is capable of increasing sex drive and boosting sexual performance in men with low libido. Chewing at least 2 seeds of bitter kola few minutes before sexual intercourse helps to boost sex drive.
9). Body Weight Management
Regular intake of bitter kola is capable of fighting excess body fat, reducing body weight as well as maintaining healthy body weight. Garcinia Kola is a natural hunger suppressant and its intake boosts the urge to drink more water.
10). Beer Production
Bitter kola is used as a hop substitute while brewing lager beer for preventing beer spoilage.
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your health care provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition. Similar with any other herb, never consume bitter kola without first consulting your doctor, especially if you are currently on any medication or receiving medical treatment. Patients on medication should avoid chewing bitter kola as it is capable of making the drugs ineffective.
1). Adesina S. K., Gbile Z. O. and Odukoya O. A. (1995), Survey of indigenous plants of West Africa with special emphasis on medicinal plants and issues associated with management, The United Nations Programme on Natural Resources in Africa, 2nd edition, 5.
2). Collise N., Anthony J. A., Anna M. C. and Roland N. N. (2011), Crude Ethanolic Extracts of Garcinia kola Seeds Heckel (Guttiferae) Prolong the Lag Phase of Helicobacter pylori: Inhibitory and Bactericidal Potential, Journal of Medicinal Food, 14(7-8), pp. 822-824.
3). Gabriel F. I. and Emmanuel O. O. (2011), Pharmacological evaluation of Garcinia kola nut for antitrichomonal activity, International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences 2, (2), pp. 264-267.
4). Ekene E. N., Erhirhie E. O. (2014), Garcinia Kola: A Review of its Ethnomedicinal Chemical and Pharmacological Properties, IJCRR, 6(11), pp. 1-6.