What Are The Health Benefits Of Kola Nut (Cola nitida)?

JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO Monday, September 20, 2021 Science and Nature

This post will provide information on "What are the health benefits of kola nut (Cola nitida)?" as well as provide answers to questions like: What is the history of kola nut? Where is the origin of kola? What is a kola nut and why is it significant? What was the kola nut used for? Is the kola nut good for you? What is the effect of eating Kolanut? Does bitter kola has side effect?

History Of kola Nut (Cola nitida)

Human use of the kola nut, like the coffee berry and tea leaf, appears to have ancient origins. It is chewed in many West African cultures, in both private and social settings, as a source of mental stimulation. The spread of the kola nut across North Africa seems to be connected to the spread of Islam across North Africa during the 17th century, as trading across the Mediterranean became more concrete. The kola nut was particularly useful on slave ships to improve the taste of water, as enslaved Africans were often given poor quality water to drink. Kola nuts are an important part of the traditional spiritual practice of culture and religion in West Africa, particularly Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The 1970s hit "Goro City", by Manu Dibango, highlights the significance of kola nuts (called "goro" in the Hausa language) to the capital of Niger, Niamey. Kola nuts are used as a religious object and sacred offering during prayers, ancestor veneration, and significant life events, such as naming ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. For this use, only kola nuts divided into four lobes are suitable. They are cast upon a special wooden board and the resulting patterns are read by a trained diviner. Among a few Yoruba people, it has found inroads among the Muslim population as well, in weddings and other ceremonies

Description of Kola Nut (Cola nitida)

Kola nut, caffeine-containing nut of Cola acuminata and Cola nitida, trees of the cocoa family (Sterculiaceae) native to tropical Africa and cultivated extensively in the American tropics. The evergreen tree grows to 18.3 metres (60 feet) and resembles the chestnut. The 5-centimetre- (2-inch-) long brown nut is hand-collected and dried in the sun for commercial use, mainly as an ingredient of soft drinks and medicine. American and European soft-drink manufacturers, however, do not use the kola nut; instead, they manufacture synthetic chemicals that resemble the flavour of the kola nut. Kola nuts are used locally as a medium of exchange. They are also commonly chewed by local labourers as a stimulant to diminish sensations of hunger and fatigue. Small pieces of kola nut chewed before meals act as an aid to digestion. In Brazil and the West Indies, the astringent-tasting nuts are used as a botanical drug to combat intoxication, hangover, and diarrhea. The Igbo of southeastern Nigeria employ the nut in various social rituals. The presentation of a plate of kola nuts is the central aspect of the visitation rituals practiced by the tribes.

General Uses of Kola Nut (Cola nitida)

  • It is chewed in many West African countries, in both private and social settings
  • It is often used ceremonially, presented to chiefs or guests
  • In folk medicine, kola nuts are considered useful for aiding digestion when ground and mixed with honey, and are used as a remedy for coughs
  • Kola nuts are used as flavoring ingredient and one of the sources of caffeine in cola and other similarly flavored beverages

Health Benefits of Kola Nut (Cola nitida)

Kola can be used in the treatment of certain ailments such as:
  • Infections
  • Skin diseases
  • Ulcers
  • Toothaches
  • Morning sickness
  • Intestinal diseases
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Low sex drive
  • Coughs and asthma
  • Dysentery
  • Constipation
  • Various eye problems

Side Effects of Kola Nut (Cola nitida)

The side effects of kola nut and kola nut extract parallel the effects of a comparable dose of caffeine. Most people can safely tolerate about 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. But caffeine can affect some people differently than others. Energy drinks are not required to list the caffeine content of herbal ingredients, so an energy drink with kola nut extract may have much more caffeine than the label indicates. Too much caffeine can produce unwanted side effects, such as:
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Jitteriness and shakiness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid or abnormal heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety
  • Dependency and withdrawal

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