Kola Nut Benefits: Find Out 7 Outstanding Medicinal Benefits of Kolanuts
Kola nut benefits comes from the fact that it contains stimulants caffeine, theobromine and kolatin, and glucose, and is able to counteract fatigue, alleviate thirst and hunger, and possibly enhance intellectual activity, act as a psychoactive substance and suppress coughs 1
Many people are familiar with the popular Coca Cola brand but what they don’t know is that earlier recipe of this drink contain naturally caffeine rich kola nut extract. Kola nut extract served as a very important flavouring agent for soft drinks in the past though it is not used anymore, artificial flavours are being used now. It was touted as alleviating hunger and prolonging the power of endurance.
Kola nut, which is a fruit of the kola tree, native to the tropical rainforests of Africa is regularly chewed as a stimulant. It belongs to the family of Sterculiaceae. There are about 20-40 species of kola nuts but the most common ones are Cola accuminata and Cola nitida. The seeds of kola nut can be either reddish, pinkish or whitish in colour when fresh but normally turns brown and strong when dried. Kola nuts have a characteristic bitter and harsh taste.2
Kola nuts are an important part of the traditional spiritual practice of culture and religion in West Africa, particularly Nigeria. 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. It can also be used for production of orthodox drugs such as; vincristine and vinblastine.
Analysis of the chemical composition of kola nuts shows that it contains proteins , starch, phenolics, niacin, ribolflavin, tannin, alkaloids,theobrominevolatile oils, caffeine, etc
Kola nuts benefits
1. Fight and prevent infection
Kola nuts has been found to exhibit anti microbial, anti inflammatory and anti viral activities. Research published in the 2004 edition of “Phytotherapy Research” revealed that kola nut was effective at reducing the growth and development of members of the mycobacterium species, the bacteria responsible for illnesses such as meningitis and tuberculosis.3
2. Treatment of cough and cold
Kola nuts has been used traditionally for centuries to treat cough and cold . This effective treatment, research has found to be due to the presence of caffeine in kola nut which is known medically as a bronchodilator. The kola nut helps by enlarging the alveolar ducts and sacs (small air bags in the lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged with the blood), as well as by improving the strength of the fibers in the lung tissue.4
3. Aids Weight loss
Consumption of kola nuts aids weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing metabolic rate of the body. In a study published in the Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences, it was found that steady intake of kola nut by rats can actually reduce food intake, and therefore body weight, without altering water intake. This is thought to be due to the caffeine in the nuts reducing the rats’ appetites. Other studies have found that intake of kola nut can increase the body’s metabolic rate by as much as 118%
4. Improves digestion
kola nuts are often chewed before meals to help promote digestion and to help counteract possible ill effects from tainted drinking water. Kola nut improve digestion by increasing the secretion of acid in the stomach.
5. Prevent prostrate cancer
A 2009 article in the “Journal of Toxicology” stated that Kola nut extracts also contain nonsteroidal, phytoandrogens or phytoestrogens, plant compounds that have the ability to induce death of cancerous prostate cells and may modulate prostate growth and function.5
6. Improved circulation
kola nut can help increase oxygen levels in the blood and promote better concentration and a “clearing” of the head. Kola nut also serves to “drive” other herbs into the blood.
7. Energy booster
Kola nut is used as a performance enhancer because of its stimulating effect; as such, labourers used it as a source of energy to keep working. This fruit is capable of keeping them awake for several hours once eaten.
Kola nut boost energy and thus prevent chronic fatigue or mild body weakness. This is the main reason why it is often used in producing fizzy and carbonated soft drinks and energizing beverages.
People with duodenal or peptic ulcer disease should avoid kola nut because of the acidic effect on the stomach, which could worsen the symptoms of ulcer. Also Kola nut should be taken in moderation because of its effect on the heart rate. Scientists have concluded that people who eat more than one kola nut per day may be at greater risk of developing heart disorders.
Phytotherapy Research: In Vitro Anti-Mycobacterial Activities of Three Species of Cola Plant Extracts (Sterculiaceae)
Journal of Toxicology: Molecular and Biochemical Effects of a Kola Nut Extract on Androgen Receptor-Mediated Pathways
Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences”; The Comparative Effects Of Chronic Consumption Of Kola Nut (Cola nitida) And Caffeine Diets On Locomotor Behaviour And Body Weights In Mice; E. B. Umoren et al; 2009 Issue 1K