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My mother and younger sister are religiously indulgent of bitter kola. I’ve tried severally to buy into this preference but I just don’t get the delight they derive from this torture they relish so much. I asked my mother and she told me that apart from being an age long part of the ibo snack regimen, it is also filled with healthful benefits. Let’s see a few of those, shall we:
In Nigeria (West Africa), bitter kola is known as Agbilu or Aki ilu in Igboland, Orogbo in Yorubaland, and Namijin goro in Hausaland. Garcinia kola contains saponin, kolaviron (a natural biflavonoid), dimeric flavonoid, and lipase inhibitor all of which is believed to have many healing properties. Further more, it has shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral properties for treatment of several ailments.
An evergreen tree of up to thirty-three meters in height, Bitter Kola has thick slash and grayish-brown bark and buttressed trunk. It bears greenish-white flowers and orange-coloured fruit, carrying brown seeds embedded in the pulp.
Bitter Kola and Malaria:
Studies have shown that the chemical constituents in Bitter Kola have anti-malaria properties. This is because of its quinones and kolaviron contents which are found to have anti-malaria effects. The bark, the stem and the seed of Bitter Kola all contain anti-malaria properties.
Medicinal Significance:
Garcinia kola is used in many tropical countries to fight infectious diseases such as Aids and the Ebola virus. It has shown to posses anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
Improves Lung Health:
Further researches have also validated the century long practice of using Bitter Kola to treat chest colds. A study published in the Journal of Pulmonary Medicine shows that Bitter Kola improves lungs and respiratory functions by enlarging the alveolar ducts [a small air bag in the lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged with the blood] and improving the strength of the fibers in the lung tissue. This is attributed to Bitter Kola’s high antioxidant content.
Knee Arthritis especially in the Aged:
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, characterized by pain, inflammation and limited movement in the joints, according to the National Institute of Health. The causes of osteoarthritis include joint injury, obesity and aging. Researchers have discovered that Bitter Kola has clinically significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on patients with osteoarthritis.

Keeps the Pests Away:

Bitter Kola also serves as a snake and insect repellant. Researchers believe that the nut helps to expel dangerous snakes and destructive ants from your home. It can also be taken to detoxify the body system when food poisoning is suspected.
Bitter Kola Health Benefit for HIV:
Bitter kola is a potent antibiotic which could be efficacious in the treatment of HIV and AIDS. A researcher with the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), Mrs. Chinyere Nwokeke told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that bitter kola could be used in treating opportunistic infections associated with HIV. “Bitter kola is highly recommended in the treatment of HIV and AIDS because of its antibacterial, detoxification, and cleansing properties”, she said. Mrs Chinyere Nwokeke also said that the chemical Saponin in bitter kola is responsible for its cleansing effect. Saponin is mainly used as tonic for the liver, it enhances the functions of the liver and gall bladder.
Bitter Kola Health Benefit for Cold:
Bitter kola is often used to treat the symptoms of colds. It is suggested, in particular, for coughs and sneezing.
Bitter Kola Benefit for Male Fertility (Impotence) :
Garcinia kola, also called bitter kola is sometimes believed to cure impotence. Frequent taking of bitter kola boosts man performance in bed with a woman.
Bitter Kola Benefit for Immune System:
Bitter kola is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can be used to prevent infections and viruses, especially in relation to the immune system.
Bitter Kola Benefit for Food Poisoning:
In many rural areas of Nigeria (and other parts of Africa), when food is suspected to be contaminated by bacteria or someone accidentally eats food poison, traditional healers often recommend the mastication of bitter kola immediately after eating. This usually prevent the development of any infection or poisoning. Herbalists even recommend the seed and the bark of bitter kola should be eaten together in cases where food poisoning is suspected, “it helps to detoxify the system“.
Bitter kola is not only anti-poison, it also has the ability to repel evil spirits according to traditional beliefs. Though it sound superstitious, many (myself included) believe it works and do have spiritual benefits.
Side Efffects:

A.) The side effects reported from the Garcinia kola use in this study were “weight loss”, “increase in sex drive” and “extended sleep” which many considered helpful to meet their individual and marital demands.
B.) Dr Bartholomew Brai, Nutritional Biochemist at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos, said that bitter kola was used in the preparation of herbal drugs either as nourishment, supplement or herbal remedy.
Brai said, “If a patient on medication chews bitter kola, it will make the drugs ineffective. Aside this, I do not think bitter kola has any other side effect.
C.) If you take Garcinia kola and experience diarrhea, hives, irregular heartbeat or other signs of allergic reaction, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention
Tags : Akilu.Bitter KolaHealthHealth Benefits of Bitter Kola

The author Prince

Hi, I’m Prince.. a registered Dietitian, an avid reader and a passionate writer. I hope you enjoy my articles as much as I enjoy writing them

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