Bitter Kola (Garcinia kola) is a tree that grows in the rain forests of West Africa. The fruit, seeds, nuts and bark of the plant have been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat ailments from coughs to fever. Basically, the nut is about 3-5 cm in length. It is ellipsoid in shape and covered with a deep brown peel which is removed before it is eaten. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when eaten and this is the reason for its name. Read some of its major health benefits after the break:
1. It Improves Lung Functions:
Garcinia kola is often used to treat chest colds but research has shown it can benefit the lungs even further. A 2008 study found that Garcinia kola dramatically improved respiratory function after four weeks of use. According to researchers, Garcinia kola works to dilate the alveolar ducts and sacs by improving the strength of lung tissue.
2. Anti-malarial Properties:
Considerable experimental studies discovered that the chemical constituents in bitter kola have anti-malaria properties. Also, over the years, traditional healers have recommended bitter kola for the treatment of malaria infections. Researchers who reported that bitter kola had anti-malaria effect in the 2010 issue of Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, from a survey of plants used by traditional healers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, attributed this to its Quinone’s content. Furthermore, Kolaviron, the powerful chemical compound found in bitter kola, was reportedly tested on a malaria parasite and found to inhibit malarial activity.
3. Improves Male Fertility:
Garcinia kola, also called bitter kola is sometimes believed to cure impotence. Frequent taking of bitter kola boosts a man’s performance in bed with a woman.
4. Reduces Eye Pressure (Glaucoma):
A 2010 study found that Garcinia kola could dramatically reduce eye pressure, which is commonly a symptom of glaucoma. The study found that Garcinia kola could significantly reduce eye pressure when applied twice per day.
5. Health Benefit for HIV:
Bitter kola is a potent antibiotic which could be efficacious in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. A researcher with the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), Mrs. Chinyere Nwokeke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that bitter kola could be used in treating opportunistic infections associated with HIV. “Bitter kola is highly recommended in the treatment of HIV and AIDS because of its antibacterial, detoxification, and cleansing properties”, she said. Mrs Chinyere Nwokeke also said that the chemical, Saponin, in bitter kola is responsible for its cleansing effect. Saponin is mainly used as tonic for the liver, it enhances the functions of the liver and gall bladder.
6. Remedy For Osteoarthritis (Arthritis):
A 2008 study found that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Garcinia kola could significantly reduce joint inflammation and pain. It is believed that bitter kola could alleviate these symptoms by eliminating the cause of arthritis, which is fluid buildup and inflammation.
7. Cure For Cold:
Bitter kola is often used to treat the symptoms of colds. It is suggested, in particular, for coughs and sneezing.
8. Garcinia Kola and Weight Loss:
Weight loss appears to be the main use for Garcinia Kola, although there are so many benefits of Garcinia kola. Although the exact process is not known, studies have concluded that Garcinia kola can help increase weight loss by acting as a natural appetite suppressant.
In recent studies, researchers noted that participants given Garcinia kola dramatically decreased their caloric consumption on a daily basis. Garcinia kola also increased the rate of consumption of water, which is also beneficial for weight loss.
Although research is very preliminary, Garcinia kola could be a legitimate solution for weight loss. More studies are in progress and as soon as these studies are published, we will know much more about Garcinia kola.
Some of the other benefits of Garcinia kola include: relieved symptoms of a hangover, detoxification, libido enhancement, and reduced inflammation in the body.