The kola nut is the fruit of the kola tree, a genus (cola) of trees that are native to the tropical rain-forest of Africa. The caffeine -containing fruit of the tree is used as a flavoring ingredient in beverages, and is the origin of the term “cola”
The kola nut is a caffeine-containing nut of evergreen trees of the genus Cola, primarily of the species Cola acuminata and Cola nitida. Cola acuminata, an evergreen tree about 20 metres in height, has long, ovoid leaves pointed at both the ends with a leathery texture. The trees have yellow flowers with purple spots, and star-shaped fruit. Inside the fruit, about a dozen round or square seeds develop in a white seed-shell. The nut’s aroma is sweet and rose-like. The first taste is bitter, but it sweetens upon chewing. The nut can be boiled to extract the caffeine. This tree reaches 25 meters in height and is propagated through seeds. C. nitida and C. acuminata can easily be interchanged with other Cola species.
Kola nuts comprise about 2- 4% caffeine, as well as containing kolanin and theobromine. All three chemicals function as stimulants.
The kola nut has a bitter flavor and contains caffeine. It is chewed in many West African countries, individually or in a group setting. 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 for coughs.
Kola nuts are perhaps best known to Western culture as a flavoring ingredient and one of the sources of caffeine in cola and other similarly flavored beverages, although the use of kola (or kola flavoring) in commercial cola drinks has become uncommon.
HEALTH AND BENEFIT
1. For Digestion : Kola nuts are used for thousands of years in Africa for treating the upset digestive health. The presence of active ingredients in this nut supports the uptake of nutrient and supports digestion that lowers the chances of bloating, constipation, gastrointestinal issues and cramping.
2. For Cancer : Kola nuts contain phytoandrogens and phytoestrogens that vitalizes apoptosis in the prostate cancer cells.
3. Enhance immunity: The bacterial infections that occurs in the human body could be prevents with the use of leaves, stem and roots of Kola tree. The bacterial infections are the cause for various respiratory illnesses such as meningitis, bronchitis and tuberculosis. The extracts of Kola nuts could be found in health stores. It has not been shown that the nut itself is associated with this medicinal benefit.
4. To suppress appetite: Caffeine supports in suppressing appetite, so the extracts of Kola nuts helps to burn increasing fat in the body.
5 Increase Metabolic Rate: According to a report published on the ‘African Journal of Biotechnology’, the extract of kola nut can be used for enhancing the rate of metabolism in our body up to 118%. On the other hand, the substantial amount of energy produced by it can also help us stay filled for longer time spans. Result? Excellent bodily metabolic rate with no frequent hunger pang.
1. Solution to impotency in man: Male impotence can be successfully resolved with kola nut. Chewing this nut is believed to amplify the circulation of blood throughout the genital area, which makes hard arteries softer and normalizes the functions of genitals.
2. Eases Osteoarthritis in Knees: Osteoarthritis, particularly developed in knees, can be healed to a large extent with the help of kola nut. Regular consumption of this nut can diminish pain, inflammation and swelling in the knee joints. It can also improve the movement of knees considerably.
3. Treatment to some diseases: Phragmanthera incana found in Kolanut and Cocoa trees helps to prevent the urge of lipid peroxidation in the tissues of tat. Yet, the antioxidant activities being the part of mechanisms of the Phragmanthera incana extracts assist in the protection of organs. The leaves of Kola nut trees also provide antioxidant properties. The use of Phragmanthera incana leaves as nutraceuticals helps to manage the oxidative stress that is related to diabetes and other conditions. It could effectively treat the health ailments such as inflammation, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, insomnia etc. Due to this reason, it is known to be an “all healer plant”.
4. A Good Treatment For Diabetes Type 2: The seed of Kola nuts possess antioxidant properties and restrict the activities of α-glucosidase and α-amylase. The antioxidant properties and enzyme prevention are the possible mechanisms for which Kola nuts are used for managing type 2 diabetes in folklore. The contribution of epicatechin, naringenin, apigenin and catechin being phenolic constituents attributes to these characteristics.
Relieves Migraine Headaches: The stimulants i.e. caffeine and theobromine present in kola nut together serve the purpose of a cerebral vasodilator. They dilate cerebral blood vessels and add to the blood flow all through the head, which helps in reducing migraine headaches significantly.
So, here are the health benefits of kola nut that you can enjoy without burning a hole in your pocket.
With all this benefit of kola nut, it should contribute to our daily activities and makes part of our diet in a daily routine.
Ref: Wikipedia,webmd.com and beautyglimps.com and amazon.com for pics