Health Benefits of Bitter Kola: Bitter kola has been used over the years to fight infections from the common cold to hepatitis. A 2018 study showed that bitter kola can help combat coughs, bacterial infections, and viral infections. Eating bitter kola when an infection starts may help fight the infection and make you feel better more quickly.
health benefits of bitter kola
Bitter kola, also known as bitter cola or Garcinia Kola, is a plant found in Central and Western Africa that has long been valued for its medicinal properties. Although traditional African medicine uses all parts of the Bitter Kola plant, the seeds are mostly commonly eaten.
Bitter kola seeds have a sharp, bitter flavor that eases into a slight sweetness as you chew, and they’re typically eaten raw.
Fast facts on the kola nut:
- The nut is relatively large, being about the size of a chestnut.
- The kola nut has a bitter taste but becomes sweeter, as it is chewed.
- The kola nut may be beneficial for certain health conditions.
- Whether taken in supplement form or chewed, kola nuts can have certain side effects.
Potential health benefits of kola nut
Stories about the many health benefits of kola nut go back thousands of years. People have claimed that kola nut sweetens stale water, treats fatigue, and eases hunger pains. Most of these claims should be seen as folklore until proven otherwise.
While kola nut may have health benefits, they have yet to be scientifically researched and proven. Most of the benefits of kola nut are connected to its high caffeine content, which increases energy and reduces hunger.
Claims have also been made that it treats:
- skin diseases
- morning sickness
- intestinal diseases
- low sex drive
- coughs and asthma
- various eye problems
The side effects of kola nut and kola nut extract parallel the effects of a comparable dose of caffeine.
Caffeine has many effects on the body, including:
- stimulating your central nervous system, making you feel awake and energetic
- acting as a diuretic, helping your body expel extra salt and water through increased urination
- increasing the release of stomach acid, which can lead to heartburn and stomach upset
- interfering with your body’s ability to absorb calcium
- increasing your blood pressure
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:
jitteriness and shakiness
rapid or abnormal heart rate
dependency and withdrawal
Too much caffeine can cause health problems and is particularly dangerous when combined with alcohol. Combining caffeine with alcohol tricks you into thinking you’re less impaired than you actually are, which can lead to alcohol poisoning and drunk driving.