Need more home remedies? Learn about the healing properties of bitter kola and how you can use it to treat a range of diseases.
There are many different kinds of goods, including food, medicine, and the others. Each of them has its impact on our health and organism. Nowadays more and more people are getting interested in natural things. That is why they prefer folk medicine and healthy food. Of course, we cannot know about the influence of everything. That’s why there is a common question “What does bitter kola do to the body?” There might be various effects, and to find them out you, first, need to ask “What is bitter kola?”
This tree is also known as Garcinia. It’s one of the species of flowering plants. It carries different names, depending on particular tribes. For instance, Igbos call it Agbi-ilu/Aki-ilu, for Yoruba it’s Orobo, Ibibio – Efiat, Efik – Efiari, Bini – Edun, and among Hausa – Namijin gor.
Features of bitter kola nut
The observed plant may be found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, for example, in:
- the Republic of Congo,
- Sierra Leone,
- Ivory Coast,
- Nigeria etc.
Thus, it is very highly esteemed all over Africa.
The flowers of the tree are as follows:
- greenish white color,
- reddish hair on sepals and petals,
- short stalk,
- hairy ovaries,
- four-lobed stigmas.
After flowers the fruit appear. Their description includes:
- diameter of 6,2 cm,
- length of 3-5 cm,
- 2-4 brown seeds, which are embedded in orange pulp.
- bitter taste (that’s why it’s called so).
Concerning the tree itself, it is very wide, with the maximum height of 30 meters. Bitter kola nut has always been a popular trade product, available throughout west and central parts of Africa. Although it is spread over the whole Nigeria, only three ethnic tribes – Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo favor it.
Composition and application
The described fruit contains plenty of useful components, among which:
- saponin ,
The composition also depends on a certain variety of the tree.
Usage of bitter kola nuts
Bitter kola possesses a very wide range of application. First of all, it is used in a traditional way. It’s popular during various social or cultural ceremonies, such as naming or wedding.
Besides, it serves as a good repellent, which is extremely effective against insects and snakes. On the researches’ opinion, it helps in expelling dangerous species from your house. Sometimes it is also applied as a hop substitute in the beer brewing process. It prevents spoilage.
However, its medical significance’s much more important. Bitter kola health benefits are hard to overestimate. It is helpful for:
- Lung functions improvement. This plant has been applied to cure cold for centuries, as a traditional way of treatment. Modern scientists have managed to find out why it’s effective. In 2009, they carried out an experiment on mice. As a result, after 28 days of Garcinia extract usage, the respiratory functions changed for the better. According to Simon Adekunle from the Nigerian Ekiti State University, bitter kola dilates the alveolar ducts and sacs in the lungs by improving fibers strength in lungs tissue.
- Glaucoma. This health problem is a result of very high eye pressure. The effect of eye drops containing 0.5% extract of this plant was tested by the researches from Lagos University Teaching Hospital. The results proved that if you use them two times a day, eye pressure successfully reduces (it was published in 2010 issue of Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology).
- Impotence. Garcinia is helpful for male fertility as well. It can increase blood flow to the genital area, thus, boosting the performance in the bed (if you take it just before it).
- Osteoarthritis. Being useful for knees, it has several cases of successful treatment of this disease. The plant helps to reduce pain and swelling. The researchers from Obafemi Awolowo University tested the effects of it against arthritis symptoms. Garcinia has significantly reduced inflammation and pain and increased joint movement. The results, published in the 2008 issue of the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research, showing mentioned. They also think that bitter kola works well because of its antioxidant properties.
- Poisoning. Many people are sure it’s effective in cases of food poisoning. To their mind, it can detoxify your body system. It might be true. However, there are no exact data on this subject.
- Diabetes. According to the studies carried out on rats, kolaviron lowered blood sugar from 115 mg/dL to 65 mg/dL.
- HIV. It isn’t a remedy, but it’s a potent antibiotic, which is effective in AIDS and HIV treatment. As the researchers from the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency say, bitter kola might be used against opportunistic infections associated with HIV because of the following properties:
- Virus/infections prevention. Thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, it is able to prevent the rise of any infection. Besides, it has a good impact on the immune system in general.
- Weight loss. It’s not only effective, but also harmless in this case. Garcinia is thought to be a natural hunger suppressant. Moreover, it increases the need to drink more liquid.
These are the key answers to the question “What does bitter kola do to the body?”. There are much more effects it has, for example, on liver, and on the other organs. Many of them still wait to be tested.
There are many fields of Garcinia application in traditional medicine. Large amount of African people uses it against cough, diarrhea, tuberculosis, as well as many other bacterial infections. They suppose it has anti-parasitic, antimicrobial, and purgative properties. When you think your food might be poisoned or spoiled – chew a seed of bitter kola. It will prevent any bad consequences.
Bitter kola’s a very popular fruit, which grows in the most parts of African continent. It is quite widespread and applicable in various spheres of life.
Lots of tribes in Nigeria use it for their special ceremonies. However, it possesses greater medical significance. Wide range of application allows people to treat different types of diseases and deal with various problems. Many positive effects of this plant have already been proved by scientists, and plenty of medicines containing Garcinia have been tested. Nevertheless, there still exist other impacts, which have not been checked yet. They’ll probably be discovered in the nearest future. And now only traditional African medicine makes use of them. Stay healthy and remember that natural remedies are much better and harmless than any drugs.