Kola Nuts, commonly referred to as Cola, is the nut of the Kola tree, it is a genus of trees native to the tropical rainforest of Africa. Kola nuts are classified in the family of Malyvaceae, a sub family of sterculioideae. It is related to the South American genus Theobroma. The Kola tree is an evergreen tree, growing up to 20 meters (about 60 feet) tall, with glossy ovoid leaves up to 30 cm long. When a Kola nuts tree fruits, its fruits are of star shaped. There are over 125 species of kola nut trees, and the most commonly edible are Bitter cola, Garcina kola, or kola nuts nitida or cola acuminate, and monkey cola, Cola suboppositifolia. These three species are used as stimulants. Kola Nut trees are native to Central and Western Africa, but are now found in the West Indies and Brazil, where they were introduced by African slaves. The use of the kola nut, like the coffee berry and tea leaf, appears to have ancient origins. It is chewed in many West African cultures, individually or in a social setting, to restore vitality and ease hunger pangs. Kola nuts are an important part of the traditional spiritual practice of culture and religion in West Africa, particularly Nigeria. Kola nuts are used as a religious object and sacred offering during prayers, ancestor veneration, and significant life events, such as naming ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. They are also used in a traditional divination system called Obi divination. For this use, only kola nuts that are divided into four lobes are suitable. The kola nuts are cast upon a special wooden board and the resulting patterns are read by a trained diviner. This ancient practice is currently enjoying increased growth within the United States and Caribbean. Kola nuts have been used traditionally to treat a variety of conditions, although excessive intake may lead to insomnia, restlessness, nausea, vomiting and increased heart rate. Kola nut extracts contain non-steroidal plant compounds that have the ability to induce death of cancerous prostate cells and may modulate prostate growth and function, Kola nuts caffeine content is 3 times higher than coffee, thus it is an instant energizer, but according to researches it is not addictive like other caffeine energizers. Anybody who is allergic to peanuts or any other kinds of nuts, the person is likely to be allergic to kola nuts also. Kola nuts allergy symptoms are almost same as those of usual nuts allergy like :
- Stomach Upset : Over consumption of kola nut products can sometimes result in stomach pain, frequent and abnormal excretion, vomiting, and even diarrhea
- Nasal Trouble : It is often seen that nasal congestion, running nose, itchy nose, and sneezing occur due to the allergy.
- Skin Reaction : Sometimes the allergy leads to itchy skin, flakey skin particles when itched, red and swollen marks on body parts, irritation inside or around the mouth
- Breathing Trouble : Allergy can result in breath shortness, increase chances of asthma attack, could be even fatal if aid is not provided immediately.
- Anaphylaxis : Severe nut allergy can be a life threat resulting in anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis are swelling of tongue or throat, fainting down, extreme breathing difficulty, low blood pressure, and difficult to speak. It could be fatal if not taken care of as an emergency.
- Heartbeat Increase : This allergy can increase the heartbeat to a notable rate after consumption of nuts and leave the person feel dizzy and fatigued.
- Insomnia : Due to the caffeine content in the kola nut products as it stimulates the nervous system and boost up, it can sometimes also affect the sleeping habit, resulting in insomnia.
- High Blood Pressure : Kola nut products increase blood pressure level resulting in high blood pressure tendency, due to the caffeine content. Researches show that those with hypertension symptoms are more prone to high blood pressure and thus suffer higher risk with kola nut product.
- Unsteady Hands : Regular consumption of caffeine content kola nut products can result in unsteady nerves, leading to unsteady hands, noticed specially while doing any minute work.
Kola nut and its products have many benefits. Since ancient days kola nut had been in vogue use for its caffeine content and many other beneficial contents.
- Helps In Digestion : Kola nut extract, kola nut powder, and kola nut products accelerate production of gastric acid and helps remarkably in digestion. Research show that kola nut can be used as a treatment of nervous diarrhea.
- Decrease High Blood Pressure : Kola nut extract and other kola nut products are also used as effective remedies for venereal diseases, rheumatism, excretion-tract infections, congestive heart failure, and hepatitis.
- Helps In Weight Loss : The caffeine content of kola nut extract, kola nut powder, and other kola nut products curbs appetite and helps in digestion as well, leading to weight loss. Kola nut and kola nut products help in enhancing metabolism. Kola nut supply almost instant energy and is often taken after work out sessions, thus giving more energy for further exercise and in turn helping in further weight loss.
- Acts As Pain Reliever : Researches showed that consumption of kola nut, kola nut extract, kola nut powder, and other kola nut products are effective in treating migraine. Due to the caffeine content in kola nut which supplies instant energy, consumption of kola nut products help in bearing pain.
Kola nut extract is the extract got from the seed of kola fruit or kola nut. Some of the kola nut extract facts are as followed : It is used as a great diuretic, that is, it supplies the necessary fluid substitute amount to the body instantly. Kola nut extract and the extract products are a good anti-depressant but are not addictive. Kola nut extract works as a good bronchodilator. The caffeine content in the extract and extract products help in opening the bronchial tubes which are the air passage in lungs thus, helping in breathing fresh when exhausted. Researches show that kola nut extract and extract products can also be used to reduce intoxicated feel due to consumption of alcohol. Kola nut powder is the dust made out of kola seed. The powder is not alien to anybody since it is used in the mother recipe any cola beverage that everybody has tasted some time or the other. Home made kola nut tincture made out of kola nut powder can be consumed in a proportion of around 2ml each time thrice a day as a medicinal dosage. People, who hate the practice of chewing kola nuts, hold that chewing kola nuts cause tinting of ones teeth, and some holds that kola nuts cause bad breathe. These believe are yet to have any scientific backing. On the contrary and from ordinary observations, people who chew kola nuts have strong good looking teeth than people who take coffee, chocolate, and sweets. The effects of food or whatever one eats on the teeth depends on whether the individual has a regular habit of teeth cleaning or not. In comparison with the effects of chewing sweets and from ordinary observations, kola nuts present the best option. People do chew sweet caplets to freshen up breath. Chewing kola nuts freshen up ones breathe too, leaving no stain or chemical action on the teeth surface as is the case with sweets, chocolate and coffee. Suffice it all to say that, Kola nuts which are also considered “The Precious African Nuts”, are timeless, and very versatile gifts of nature, that serve a great deal of purposes. Live a healthy life, try a kola nut or two today and adopt a healthy lifestyle today!