Bitter kola known by its scientific name as Garcinia kola is a tropical tree found in western and central Africa, and it produces brown, nut-like seeds.
Every part of the plant ranging from the fruit, seeds, nuts to the bark has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat ailments.
The nut which measures about 3-5 cm in length has an ellipsoid shape, covered with a deep brown peel. The peel is removed before being eaten and it gives a bitter taste, to which the name bitter kola is derived.
In Nigeria, bitter kola is popularly known as Orogbo in Yoruba, Miji-goro in Hausa and Akiilu in Igbo.
Bitter kola has numerous health benefits, which some are highlighted in this article, Discover below seven amazing health benefits of eating bitter kola.
1. Eating Bitter Kola Reduces Eye Pressure (Glaucoma)
An increase in eye pressure can lead to glaucoma a condition if lead untreated could lead to damage of the optic disc. Researchers at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in Nigeria tested the effectiveness of eye drops that contained 0.5 percent extract of Garcinia kola.
The study, published in the January 2010 issue of Middle East African Journal of Opthamology, showed that the opthamolic solution that contained the Garcinia significantly reduced eye pressure when used twice daily.
2. Cure For Cough, Cold and Sore Throat
Bitter kola has anti-microbial, anti-parasitic and purgative properties and is traditionally used for cough treatment.
In a research study using mice, the anti-oxidant present in bitter kola helps improve respiratory function and strengthen the fiber of the lungs.
Here’s a full article on simple home remedies for post-nasal drip 🙂
3. Bitter Kola Health Benefit for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, characterized by pain, inflammation and limited movement in the joints.
Osteoarthritis is caused by chronic degeneration of the cartilage and synovial membrane leading to pains and stiffness.
A 2008 publication on the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, concludes that Garcinia kola significantly reduced inflammation and pain and increased joint movement in subjects that had osteoarthritis symptoms.
It is believed that Garcinia kola works well as a result of its antioxidant properties.
However, the side effects reported from the Garcinia kola use in this study were “weight loss”, “increase in sex drive” and “extended sleep” which many considered helpful to meet their individual and marital demands.
4. Serves as Anti-malaria
Traditional medicine practitioners have for many years prescribed bitter kola for the treatment of malaria infections.
Nevertheless, experimental studies show that some chemical constituents of bitter kola have anti-malaria properties
Kolaviron and quinines, two active chemical component found in bitter kola, was reportedly tested on a malaria parasite and found to inhibit malarial activity.
5. Boost Immune System
As earlier mentioned, bitter kola posses a lot of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This makes it very potent in the prevention of infections and viruses. This helps boost the immune system.
In many rural communities in Nigeria, When food is suspected to contaminated by bacteria, or any other agent, traditional healers often recommend mastication of bitter kola immediately after eating.
This is said to prevent the development of an infection or poisoning.
Herbalists also believe that the seed and the bark of bitter kola should be eaten together in cases where food poisoning is suspected, “it helps to detoxify the system“.
6. Improves Male Fertility (Impotence)
Bitter kola is also believed to male impotence. Frequent taking of bitter kola MAY boosts man performance in bed with a woman.
We haven’t really confirmed this by the way but looking at point number 3, where garcinia kola is used for a number of things, Bitter kola aswell may have a big part to play in improving male fertility.
7. Potential Cure for HIV
Bitter kola is a potent antibiotic which could be very efficient in the treatment of HIV and AIDS.
A researcher with the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), Mrs. Chinyere Nwokeke explained to 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 further explained that the chemical Saponin in bitter kola is responsible for its cleansing effect.
Saponin is mainly used as a tonic for the liver, it enhances the functions of the liver and gallbladder.
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