Research-Backed Health Benefits Of Bitter Kola


The essential medical benefits you need to know about bitter kola

Bitter Kola is one seed that has continued to get attention because of the different things people use it for.

For instance, you can tell how popular bitter kola is each time you walk in a busy area of Lagos State, a western Nigerian city.

Women who sell items by the road side often have bitter kola in their trays. Basically, the medicinal value is one of the reasons people eat it.

What Is Bitter Kola?

If you have seen bitter kola before, you should try and get one the next time you see it.

If you have not, take a good look at the picture above and get it the next time you see it.

 

Well, be sure you have read this article to the end before you throw one in your mouth and chew.

There is something to know about it, especially as it concerns women.

Indeed, there is a reason men eat this kola more and that is also why people call it men’s kola.

Let’s look at this kola closely.

Bitter Kola, with the botanical name, Garcinia kola, is a flowering plant found mostly in the tropical rain forest region of Central and West Africa. It is abundant in Nigeria.

In traditional medicine, bitter kola is popular, with the seed getting the most attention.

Some persons who do not like true kola, (Cola nitida) take bitter kola as alternative.

In ethnomedicine, Garcinia kola has been used as a purgative, antiparasitic, and antimicrobial agent, throat infection, diarrhea, bronchitis, and as an aphrodisiac (1). Here is one of the reasons some men eat this seed.

Furthermore, reported pharmacological effects of the seeds include antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, immunomodulatory, antiatherogenic, antimicrobial, and liver disorders (2).

The seed of bitter Kola is eaten raw and it has a bitter taste, although it becomes a little sweet as you chew.

Research-Backed Health Benefits Of Bitter Kola

Beyond claims, here are some of the benefits of bitter kola that studies have documented.

1.     Rich In Antioxidants,  Anti-inflammatory Properties

Interestingly, the major compound in bitter kola that makes it active for different ailments is biflavonoid – Kolaviron.

This is a compound that has antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effect. As a result, it is able to arrest antibodies that could cause chronic diseases in your body.

2.      Lowers Cholesterol Level

From the food you eat and exposure to toxins, there could be a build up of cholesterol in your arteries. Furthermore, this could affect the flow of blood to your organs.

But flavonoids in bitter kola is said to fight oxidative stress by arresting the toxins that you are exposed to daily.

This will also ensure that fat deposits do not get to your blood stream. As a result of this, The organs of your body get better flow of blood without blockage of arteries.

Cholesterol buildup could affect the function of the heart.

In fact, cholesterol buildup is one of the causes of heart diseases.

2.     Good For Heart Health

Basically, Bitter Kola contains an antioxidant – bioflavonoids – which is helpful in lowering bad cholesterol level.

Bad cholesterol could clog blood arteries and cause major damage to the heart.

Different studies say flavonoids could lower cardiovascular mortality rate and also prevention of coronary heart disease.

Also, flavonoids help improve blood circulation in the body (3).

There is also high level of potassium in bitter kola.

Potassium helps in reducing inflammation that may cause disease.

A study says adequate intake of potassium lowers risk of cardiovascular diseases (4).

2.     Kidney Function

Also, another function of flavonoid is to keep your kidney safe and healthy.

Some kidney issues could be as a result of toxins in the body (5).

However, another study say the antioxidant in Garcinia kola could lower toxins that could cause kidney issues (6).

It concludes that dietary inclusion of kolaviron could exert protective effects against renal toxicity resulting from exposure to toxicants.

3.      Boosts Liver Function

Taking bitter kola can also serve as remedy for liver disease.

According to a study, biflavonoid kolaviron, isolated from the seeds of Garcinia kola harvested in Nigeria exerts a protective action against carcinogen-induced liver damage in rats (7).

Also, researchers have also seen positive effects of flavonoid on Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (8).

4.      Great For Diabetics

Well, most fruits and seeds that are bitter often have the power to lower blood sugar.

Bitter kola is not different.

Traditional medicine practitioners believe that a regular consumption of G. kola seeds lowers blood glucose levels and improves the complications of diabetes mellitus.

To support this claims, researchers found that the seed administration significantly ameliorates hyperglycemia-mediated damage by decreasing the blood glucose level in induced diabetic rats (9).

Another study also says naturally occurring flavonoids possess anti-diabetic effects. They have the ability to prevent diabetes and its complications (10).

5.      Aphrodisiac – Libido Booster

Furthermore, studies have it that a diet rich in flavonoid is able to boost sexual performance.

As a result of stress and other issues men are battle sexual dysfunction which is an inability to achieve a normal sexual intercourse.

Also in the pack are premature ejaculation, retrograded, retarded or inhibited ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, arousal difficulties (reduced libido), compulsive sexual behavior, orgasmic disorder, and failure of detumescence.

Helpful, Interestingly, flavonoid is active against some sexual issues and this is why men consume bitter kola more.

A study says flavonoid boosts sexual performance with aphrodisiac effect (11).

Many people who eat this kola say it is effective in boosting performance.

According to a study, this kola is also able to restore sperm characteristics (12).

6.      Bitter Kola Is Good For Cough Treatment

Traditionally, people use bitter kola for cough treatment. Some combine it with a menthol sweet and they say it works.

Others combine it with palm kernel oil and they also say it works.

Aside these claims, studies have also shown that flavonoids are a viable supplement to decrease upper respiratory tract infections incidence in an otherwise healthy population (13).

7.      Voice Hoarseness

People who sing have found this seed helpful when they lose their voice after a long time of singing.

Bitter kola contains compounds that help relief voice hoarseness, a study says (14).

Side Effect And Caution For Women

Earlier, we mentioned that bitter kola is also called men’s kola. Here is the reason.

First, women who are looking to conceive should avoid consuming this seed vehemently.

An animal study says the seed extract was reported to have profound effects on estrus cycle, ovulation, and fetal development in adult female Sprague-Dawley rats (15).

As a result, it is not advisable that a woman should consume this seed.

Also, the study indicates that it could reduce weight gain for a pregnant woman and foetus.

It is not advisable that a pregnant woman consumes this seed.

According to the study cited above, it could cause development issues for the foetus.

Bottom line is that the seed is largely good for men and requires that women eat it with caution.

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