Health Benefits of Bitter Kola Consumption and Its Uses
Garcinia kola (bitter kola) also known as African wonder nut, is a species of flowering plants belonging to the family Guttiferae and grows in coastal rainforests in the South-Western and South-Eastern parts of Nigeria, and it also can be found in some African countries, such as Cameroon, Côte de Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Gabon, and a few others *(Leakey, 2007)†.
Health benefits of bitter kola and its uses
Bitter kola is widely known for its medicinal benefits, as the seeds, nuts, and bark have been and are still being used to treat varying ailments (Hertog et al., 2007).
10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF BITTER KOLA
Treating malaria: Bitter kola is believed to have chemical properties that allow it to be an antimalarial catalyst. It contains Kolaviron which is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, which has high antimalarial properties (Esiegwu & Udedibie , 2009).
Weight Loss: Bitter kola is known for being a natural hunger suppressant and a great thirst stimulant, and as such helps to reduce weight loss, as a reduced intake of food and a large intake of water is needed by the body to get rid of excess fat and stay healthy (Collise et al., 2011).
Diabetes: The seeds of bitter kola are believed to possess the ability to lower blood glucose, which makes it a potential treatment for diabetes miletus (Hertog et al., 2007).
Prevention from glaucoma: It has been proven by a group of researchers, that constant and consistent use of an eye drop made from an extract of garcinia kola can help treat glaucoma (Farombi et al., 2005).
Cold and fever remedy: By possessing the ability to enlarge the alveolar sac and duct, Bitter kola provides relief for chest cold and goes on to prevent cold altogether (Okwu & Ekeke, 2003).
Treatment of erectile dysfunction: Research has shown, that garcinia kola (bitter kola), has aphrodisiac effects (causes or increases sexual desire) in male folks, and as such is used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (Okwu & Ekeke, 2003).
Immunity: Bitter kola influences multiple regulatory systems in the body, the immune system inclusive. It enables the body to adapt to stress and also acts as an anti-infective agent (Collise et al., 2011).
Osteoarthritis: Bitter kola is known as an excellent disease modifier, which provides potential relief in osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that garcinia kola appears to have significant analgesic/anti-inflammatory effects on patients with knee osteoarthritis. As such, garcinia kola is considered a potential osteoarthritis disease activity modifier with a high prospect of a good outcome. It helps in the reduction of inflammation, pain and immovable joints. The root cause of arthritis and displeasing pain may be a joint injury, obesity, aging or it may be hereditary. Thus, the consumption of this miraculous plant can help cover all these problems and cure it from its roots (Farombi et al., 2005).
Healthy lungs: Garcinia kola contains saponin which is an antioxidant. It has detoxifying and cleansing effects. This goes on to improve the function of the lungs by expanding the alveolar ducts and sacs, and as such, strengthens the fiber in the tissue of the lungs. It has favorably high antioxidant content for a healthy body (Farombi et al., 2005).
Helps Pregnancy: Bitter kola contrary to what some may believe, actually has been said to be helpful and useful in and for pregnant women, as it helps in combating nausea and vomiting, making the uterus healthier, supplies strength to the expectant mother and normalizes circulation of blood also.
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ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION: NATURAL REMEDIES
OTHER USES OF BITTER KOLA
Traditional medicine: Bitter kola is said to be anti-parasitic, anti-microbial and purgative in nature. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, typhoid, tuberculosis, diarrhea, and bacterial infections (Atawodi et al., 2005).
Anti-cancerous: Bitter kola can be used in treating breast cancer as it has an anti-cancerous effect. Nature has (Atawodi et al., 2005)a cure for something incurable as well (Atawodi et al., 2005).
Anti-Poison: The bark and the seed when eaten together helps in detoxification of the human body during food poisoning. Saponin found in bitter kola is used as a liver tonic, assisting in the gall bladder functions because of its cleaning properties (Atawodi et al., 2005).
Life Prolongation: Certain African cultures and scientific studies believe that bitter kola breaks down glycogen in the liver, prolonging life (Emmanuel & Gabriel, 2011).
Repellant for snakes: Bitter kola is used to repel snakes in places where life is prone to snakes (Nair, 2000)
Evil Spirits: Delving into a little bit of spirituality, although those you do not believe in spirits, may not agree, the tribes and ancient peoples believed that the plant has abilities to repel evil men and spirits (Farombi et al., 2005). Such believes are still held up by some, even today.
Bitter kola has enormous health benefits as well as nutritive benefits that could be explored by adding it to both human’s and animals’ diets.
The traditional uses of this plant have been viewed based on its historical beliefs (eg. Repelling evil spirits) and other medicinal uses (eg treating cough, relieving stomach cramps, etc).
From the information gotten about bitter kola, it can be concluded that it is a healthy, profitable, and indigenous plant that is highly underutilized and should be used for its medicinal values to alleviate this illness.