The botanical seed “Garcinia kola” popularly known by all as “Bitter Kola or Kola Nut“. Kola nut is the seed of the kola nut plant. kola nut is used widely in Nigeria and many West African countries as part of traditional hospitality, cultural, and social ceremonies, It is also used to make medicine to treat ailments. Bitter Kola is a specie of flowering plant in the Clusiaceae or Guttiferae family, It is found in Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
The trade of Garcinia Kola is one very important and valued trade in the tribes and villages in Nigeria. This native kola has various names that the different cultures in Nigeria calls it.The people of Bokyi calls it oje, edun or efiari in Efik, efrie in Ejagham-Ekin, cida goro in Hausa, efiat in Ibibio, emiale in Icheve, igoligo in Idoma, aku-ilu or ugolo in Ibo, akaan in Ijo-Izon, okain in Isekiri, and orogbo in Yoruba. Bitter kola is generally used as a social snack and given to guests in some cultural settings, and it is one of such fruits that can be eaten raw with the human body benefiting a lot as well.
Cultivation and Barrier to Cultivation of Bitter Kola
The cultivation of Garcinia kola (Bitter Kola) is quite a very tasking one and despite the socio-economic importance of Garcinia kola the cultivation of the species is limited. One of the most common factors that have discouraged farmers from growing Garcinia kola is the difficulty in germination which reduces seedling availability. Most productive trees of the seed are left in the wild when farmers cut plots out of the forest. However, there is still a practicable method that farmers with low technological input could easily adopt. Garcinia kola seeds has both seeds coat dormancy and physiological dormancy probably imposed by the chemicals in the seed. Seed coat dormancy of Garcinia kola can be reduced by removing the seed coat before sowing, while physiological dormancy can be reduced by soaking in water for 72 hours. Removal of the seed coat, soaking in water for 72 hours, placing inside air tight transparent polythene bag and sprinkling of water on the seeds when needed for constant moisture gives an early germination period of two weeks.
Spiritual benefits and Usage of bitter kola
- Used for rituals and spiritual cleansing; Act as tonic, stimulant, astringent, decongestant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory tool, lipolytic;
- Used in special protective rituals for suppressing enemies. Bitter cola can ease the flow of asthma.
How to Eat Bitter Kola
Bitter kola is best eaten by removing the outer brown coated skin, and as the name implies, it is very bitter to eat. According to most respectable medical professionals, the optimal amount of bitter kola to take per day is “2″ .
Side Effects of Excessive Intake of Bitter Kola
Amazing variety of health benefits no doubts, but then bitter kola also has several side effects that you should also know about so as not to fall a victim of it
- Bitter kola is rich in caffeine, which is why it should be taken with caution by everyone especially pregnant women, elderly people, as well as patients suffering from heart diseases.
- Bitter kola acts as a blood thinner, making it not advisable to take after surgeries or if you’ve had issues with your blood thickness in the past.
- Bitter kola influences the levels of sugar in the blood, which is why it’s never prescribed to diabetic patients.
- Excessive intake of bitter kola can lead to mouth cancer or gastrointestinal cancer.
- Too much intake of bitter kola can lead to glaucoma. These nuts can prevent glaucoma, as well as develop it when eaten in an excessive amount.
- Its has a neutralizing effects of other English medicinal drugs if taken together.