Cola Nut Benefits

Cola Nut
Latin Name

Cola nitida

Also Known As

Kola Nut, Bissy Nut

Origin

Africa

Parts Used

Nuts

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

In the western world the Cola Nut is famous as the inspiration for the world’s most famous fizzy drink – Coca Cola! However, in its native Africa, the Cola Nut has an extremely long history of traditional use as a remedy for various ailments. It was used to “sweeten stale water”, treat fatigue, nausea, skin complaints and headaches. It was also thought to combat cowardice, and as such was given to troops on African battlefields.

In the 12th century Arab physicians recommended the Cola Nut for the relief of various stomach complaints, and by the 16th century it was incorporated into the "Matière Médicale" of Islamic science.

Cola / Kola Nut Benefits

Brain Boosting

The Cola Nut contains around 3 percent caffeine and around 2 percent theobromine. Both of these compounds act as “vasodilators”, widening the blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the brain. This raises the oxygen levels in the brain, boosting cognitive function and alertness.

Additionally, its high caffeine content inhibits production of adenosine, the neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and suppresses arousal; thus, enhancing alertness, focus, improving reaction time and physical energy.

Healthy Weight Loss

Research shows that consumption of Cola Nut extract boosts the activity of the nervous system by increasing the heart rate and metabolic rate. It also acts as an appetite suppressant – studies show that participants given Cola Nut dramatically decreased their overall calorie consumption. According to a study published in the “African Journal of Biotechnology”, Cola Nut can increase the metabolic rate by 118 percent.

Cola Nut is also known as a “thermogenic” (fat burning) herb, and as such it is often used as an ingredient in herbal weight loss supplements. It is rich in xanthines and polyphenols – recent research relates these compounds with an activation of the thermogenesis and, consequently, with possible treatments for obesity.

Aids Digestion

In African culture, the Cola Nut is chewed before meals as an aid to digestion. Recent research has shown that compounds in this herb significantly enhance the production of gastric acid and increase the effectiveness of digestive enzymes within the stomach. This also boosts nutrient assimilation – allowing the body to extract the valuable nutrients from food more easily.

Cola Nut can relieve other digestive complaints such as bloating, flatulence, cramping and constipation.

Type 2 Diabetes

Research shows that Cola Nut has an anti-diabetic effect. A recent study published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” found that it, “inhibited the activities of glycogen phosphorylase, fructose 1,6 biphosphatase, glucose 6 phosphatase, and acetylcholinesterase while downregulating the Nrf2 expression.” Nrf2 activators have been suggested for preventing diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease).

They found that it significantly depleted blood glucose and “bad” cholesterol levels, whilst boosting the production of insulin and “good” cholesterol.

Another 2012 study found that Cola Nut tincture (ethanol extract) significantly lowered glucose levels.

Aphrodisiac

In its Native Africa, Cola Nut has long been used as a mood enhancer and sexual stimulant. It contains three active compounds which stimulate the nervous system: caffeine, theobromine and kolanin, and it is this powerful combination thought to be responsible for the aphrodisiac effects of this herb.

As a powerful vasodilator, Cola Nut is also indicated in cases of Erectile Dysfunction. It helps to expand the blood vessels to the penis which in turn allows for an increased blood flow.

Typical Use

Cola Nut Powder

1 teaspoon of powder 3 times a day or directed by a Herbal Practitioner. 

Cola Nut Tincture

Traditionally Taken: 1 - 4 ml up to 3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner. 

Folklore and History

West Africans have been using the Cola Nut socially and medicinally for time immemorial. It is seen as a symbol of peace, friendship and hospitality and is used as a sacred herb in fertility ceremonies and puberty rites.

Medicinally, the nuts were chewed for their stimulating effects, as a digestive aid, to relieve headaches and as an aphrodisiac.

Slavery took the Kola tree to South America and the Caribbean, where enslaved Africans began to cultivate the Cola Nut. Slave traders carried Cola Nuts on their ships ‘as a medical prophylactic agent or as an ordinary article of food.’

However, it is the Atlanta Biochemist, John S Pemberton, who launched the Cola Nut into the stratosphere, with his invention of a “brain tonic” that went on to become the world’s most famous fizzy soda.

The original beverage was called "Pemberton’s French Wine Coca" and hit the market in 1885. With coca leaves imported from South America adding a particular twist to what would otherwise be a mere soft drink, Pemberton sold the soda as a nerve tonic, mental aid, headache remedy and a cure for morphine addiction.

Cola Nut
Constituents

Caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, catechine, epicatechine, D-catechine, phenoline, pholaphens, Kola Red, betaine, protein, starch, fat, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic, acid, betaine, sugar, gum, cellulose, water, calcium, potassium, iron, beta carotene, tannic acid.

Precautions

Not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

Do not consume if you are allergic to nuts.

If you are taking blood pressure medication, please consult with your healthcare practitioner. 

Always consult with your healthcare practitioner if you are taking prescription medications.