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19 Incredible Health Benefits Of Bitter Kola You Should Know

The health benefits of bitter kola date back into history many centuries ago and to date, people crave it for many reasons.

 If you have avoided Kola in time past, am sure you’ll find a great number of reasons to start eating this gift of nature in this article.

benefits of bitter kola sexually

Many illnesses lay claim to the curative effect of kola in folk medicine. 

We will take out time to find out if these ancient beliefs and myths are all true. We won’t stop at the health benefits but will also consider

possible side effects if any actually exist. See also: Viagra as a possible cure for Alzheimer's disease.

Many cultures around the world serve these edible seeds to visitors and during ceremonies, especially in Subsaharan African countries like Nigeria where many varieties of kola nut surface during traditional ceremonies.

It is widely known in the scientific community by its binomial nomenclature, Garcinia Kola.

 Traditional medicine utilizes it for its ability to stimulate defecation, and kill parasites and microorganisms many years ago and from here these seeds became very popular. 

Some of these benefits of kola are what we shall discuss in detail. See also: How to treat constipation using Yoga.

Nutritional value of Bitter Kola

We can't talk about the benefits without talking about the nutritional value it offers to consumers.

A study conducted by Odebunmi et al in 2009 found that Garcinia Kola contains good numbers, Potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.

benefits of bitter kola in man Another study in 2013 conducted by Mazi EA considered the nutritive and phytochemical properties and found out that it had Carbohydrates (70%), crude protein (11%), moisture (9%), and crude fiber (4%). 

He also confirmed a high level of calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin C in it.

 Other contents were tannin, phytic acid, sapoium, phenol, trypsin inhibitor, sterol, flavonoid, hydrogen cyanide, and caffeine. 

See also: Health benefits of tiger nuts


The results of these high-level intellectual studies support the medicinal and nutritional importance of bitter kola.

Bitter Kola Benefits:

1. Treatment of Joint disease

It has been proven to have an antioxidants function helping prevent the formation of free radicals and remove already formed free radicals.

 If left unchecked by the antioxidant action of medicinal foods like Garcinia kola will lead to degenerative change involving various tissues and joint spaces of the body.

As antioxidants, they prevent damage to joints and body tissues by this high oxygen species thereby helping reverse the pathology involved in joint disease.

 In the early days, the farmers who resided in villages without access to health care relied on bitter kola and other herbs to manage arthritis, body pains, and joint disease.

The high-level content of potassium also helps in reducing inflammation seen in joint disease.

2.  Enhances libido

The ancient men and kings who were into polygamy had lots of responsibilities to meet and the benefits of bitter kola sexually were one of the edible things that helped them live up to expectations.

 It is known to enhance drive, performance, and energy. To date, people still use it for this purpose. 

The explanation for it is its ability to boost energy due to its caffeine content and also the ability to cause vasodilation of blood vessels which is what is needed for a better performance of the male reproductive system.

 An NCBI report claims it can help in spermatozoa production, testicular health, libido, and maintaining and sustaining an erection. 

See also bitter kola benefits to man

3. Antibiotics

I’ve heard a couple of people ask the question if bitter kola is an antibiotic, the answer is yes and no. 

No, because it is not one of the regular OTC prescribed antibiotics you can buy in your favorite drug store, and yes, because it can kill some microorganisms which earns it an antibiotic function.

It has proven its effectiveness against Klebsiella species, staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. 

It has been widely used as a remedy for cough, throat, and other respiratory tract infections. As a kid, I remember my grandma prescribing Garcinia for almost everything related to throat and cough.

4. Helps in the respiratory system

It is good for the lungs. It helps lung tissues and makes breathing effortless. It is a favorable remedy for the common cold.

 Its antioxidant function also helps in the functioning of the respiratory system.

 Caffeine in Kola is a bronchodilator and can help persons with asthma relieve symptoms temporarily. It is not a replacement for your regular medicine prescribed by physicians. 

Bronchitis sufferers can also benefit from eating it. You can also see the Health benefits of ginger discussed earlier.

5. Has the antimalarial property

Ethanolic acid extract from kola was studied using an infected study animal and found to be effective against the organism that causes malaria if a four days course of the extract is taken. 

The study involved 60 swish albino mice who were divided into different groups. Some served as control. 

Some received the extract twice daily for four days while others were given standard antimalarial.

It compared the efficacy of ethanolic acid against standard antimalarial and it concluded that bitter kola extract had antimalarial properties which were close to standard antimalarial therapy but required a fourth-day administration to eliminate the malarial parasite from the bloodstream as against standard antimalarial which requires three days dosing only.

Think back to life in our various villages then when people who lived in mosquito-infested environments hardly had antimalarial medications but still didn’t succumb to the complications of malarial.

 Its ingestion was one of the reasons these persons didn’t come down with malarial.

6. Helps in building stronger immunity

It can help the body's immune system become stronger and help in the prevention of infections.

 It is rich in antioxidants that help prepare the body and make them ready at all times to fight infection. 

You can eat It every day to strengthen your immune system.

7. Helpful in glaucoma

Professor Adebukola Oshintelu, an ophthalmologist, published in a journal highlighting the importance of bitter kola on the eyes

He said regular eating of bitter cola can be curative for glaucoma, according to him it helps in reducing the ocular pressure that sufferers have with the condition.

Other studies have compared oral ingestion with the use of a prescribed anti-glaucoma regimen and found some efficacies with garcinia kola which goes further to prove that bitter kola benefits the eyes.

8. Has the antiviral property

It is antiviral, it contains guttiferone and garcinol which are antiviral compounds that are deleterious to some groups of viruses like those that cause the common cold. 

Eating kola can help you handle some common viruses. Note that it is not an effective cure for viruses like HIV and COVID.

9. Bitter kola functions in women

In animal studies, it was noted to impede ovulation. It is therefore not advisable to take in early pregnancy. 

Some other school of thought says it helps in preventing or managing early morning sickness in pregnancy.

 Since we are yet unable to strike a balance for or against the intake of bitter kola during pregnancy, I advise you make more diligent research before indulging in it during pregnancy.

There is no evidence of the effect of bitter kola on menstruation, also it's not proven to help in menstrual pain. See other proven methods of period pain relief.

Eating it will not make fibroids shrink or goal away. They are masses that most times are removed surgically or through laparoscopy.

The consumption has helped manage candida infections in women as documented in some works of literature on herbal and natural medicine.

10.  Effect on fertility:

There is no well-documented untoward effect of bitter kola against female fertility. In men, it is known to increase drive and help them overcome erectile dysfunction.

 

health benefits of bitter kola in man and woman

11. Helps in weight loss

It can help you achieve weight loss by suppressing hunger and making your urge for water increase which will ultimately lead to weight loss. 

Weight loss is a proven health benefit of bitter kola. It is an effective therapy for reducing belly fat.

Rather than wasting funds on some cutthroat weight-loss products, you can go natural and achieve the same or even better results.

By boosting your metabolism it can help you lose weight and achieve that hourglass body.

 It contains chemical substances that break glycogen stores, more sugars are used up and the fatty tissues are burned as well.

12. Blood sugar control

It contains Kolaviron, a chemical substance that can help prevent sudden hypoglycemia in individuals who suffer from type 2 diabetes. 

This is against the belief that bitter kola controls blood sugar because of its bitter taste, lol…contrary to this claim, the caffeine in it can alter how your body utilizes sugar and cause hyperglycemia.

13. Therapeutic against cancer

Different levels of research are ongoing to substantiate the effect of bitter kola on prostate cancer and the effects of phytoestrogens in it believed to suppress cancer cells. 

A study by Maurice Iwu also lays claims to anti-cancer activity of local food like bitter kola, bitter leaf, coconut oil, and zobo. 

See also: Health benefits of bitter leaf

14. Detoxification of poisons

Traditional medicine has been using it as an anti-poison.

 Persons who suffer snake bites were fed bitter kola believed to counteract the effects of the snake venoms.

Traditional medicine has employed bitter kola as a natural snake repellant, these reptiles are scared to a far distance when they come in contact with it.

 This can indirectly offer health benefits because fewer snakes will be available in the household and surroundings, and harm from snake bites is in turn drastically reduced.

15. Antioxidant

It is highly antioxidant, helpful in arthritis, cancer, inflammatory conditions, and building stronger body immunity.

16. Enhances body metabolism

Increases thirst and activates enzymes that boost rates of chemical reactions in our body.

 This enhances digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. It boosts energy and metabolism.

17. Helps digestion

It contains fiber which helps balance the gut and causes more digestion and bowel emptying.  

This function in the digestive system is another important benefit of bitter kola to the human body.

It also stimulates thirst which in turn causes more churning of food in the stomach and propels digestion.

18.  Increase blood circulation

It causes the blood vessels to open up; theobromine and caffeine also do the same but cause the heart to beat faster while improving circulation.

 Its ability to open blood vessels makes it able to reduce blood pressure.

19. Helpful in migraines treatment

Caffeine and theobromine in garcinia kola cause vessels to dilate and are useful in treating patients with migraine pain. See also: Health benefits of lentil bolognese.

Side effects of bitter kola

The benefits should not overwhelm you, there are also instances where you might want to let go of it for your own good. 

Below are some side effects of bitter kola.

A. Allergy

For some persons eating it can evoke allergic reactions like hives, pains in the abdominal, and breathing difficulty.

 It is advised to avoid it if you suffer any of these reactions.

B. Hypertension

The active ingredients can cause the heart to raise and cause hypertension in some persons.

C. Insomnia

Caffeine in Kola is a stimulant and can take sleep away from you. If you have problems sleeping avoid it.

D. Tremors and anxiety:

can affect the nervous system (central and peripheral) causing overt hyperstimulation, tremors, and anxiety.

E. Irregular heartbeat:

There are documented cases of arrhythmia with bitter kola so avoid garcinia kola in heart disease.

F. Tinnitus

Kola consumption might cause some ringing sensations in the ear of a certain group of persons.

G. It can cause bleeding to be worse:

 if you’re going for surgery you will do yourself some good to avoid it.

People with bleeding disorders should avoid garcinia. 

See also: Occupations that cause male infertility.

We have dealt exhaustively with the health benefits of bitter kola and some of its side effects. We hope that this information will enlighten you and help you live a healthier life. It should not replace your regular prescribed medicine for various ailments, most of the benefits ascribed to kola are on its adjunct role in the management of many conditions. You should take your drugs separately before or after eating them. Drugs and bitter kola may interact and become less effective or lead to toxicity. This should answer the question of if bitter kola makes drugs not work.

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