Foods like Bitter (Garcinia) Kola have been used as natural medicines for hundreds of years, but it’s only recently that scientists are figuring out their notable health benefits.
Judging by the name, this super-plant has a very bitter taste. But once you discover the amazing ways it can improve your wellbeing, you’ll definitely want to incorporate it into your everyday diet.
About Bitter Kola
Bitter kola, also known as Garcinia kola, is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa. Almost all plant parts can be used for medicinal purposes, including the seeds, bark, and fruit (nuts).
The bitter-tasting plant contains high levels of various vitamins including A, B, C, and E, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium. In addition, bitter kola is very rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants.
This amazing nutritional profile makes bitter kola one of the healthiest plants on the planet. Studies have found that this plant aids weight loss, has a positive influence on the liver, helps with respiratory problems, improves eyesight, etc.
Keep reading to find out more about bitter kola’s amazing benefits.
Potential Benefits Of Bitter Kola
Aids Weight Loss
Even though weight loss effects in bitter kola were believed to be due to its caffeine content, a study conducted in 2009 found that this is a result of several factors.
Bitter kola aids weight loss in several ways. First, it suppresses your appetite and cravings, allowing you to go longer without snacking on unhealthy food. Second, it stimulates thirst, encouraging increased consumption of water. This, in turn, boosts your metabolism, making it burn fat more efficiently.
Weight loss can be really challenging, but adding foods like Garcinia kola in combination with regular physical activity can significantly increase the chances of success.
Effects On The Liver
A research conducted several years ago in Nigeria found that a mixture of Garcinia kola and honey helps protect the liver from damage caused by the intake of drugs and toxic substances.
The study claims that bitter kola enhances the antioxidant levels in the liver, without any side effects after long-term consumption. The study concludes that this bitter plant is great for liver detoxification.
Fights Bad Breath
The active compound in bitter kola called dimeric flavonoid is known for treating bad breath. Studies have demonstrated that this compound has strong antibacterial properties, which means that it efficiently fights bacteria that cause bad mouth odor.
All you need to do is chew a piece or two of Garcinia kola before going to sleep. In the morning, your mouth will feel fresh, just like after brushing your teeth.
Bitter Kola And Honey For Coughs
The above-mentioned antibacterial properties in bitter kola are also very effective in fighting stubborn coughs. When combined with honey, which is also known for fighting bacteria in addition to boosting energy levels and enhancing immunity, Garcinia kola becomes a powerful natural cough remedy.
Here is how to make this simple cure at home:
Take about 15 pieces of kola and crush them into powder.
In a clean container, combine the kola powder with a ½ glass of honey.
Take two tablespoons every morning and night for one week.
Helps With Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition that manifests as increased pressure within the eyeball. If left untreated, glaucoma can result in reduced eyesight and even blindness.
According to medical data, Garcinia kola helps reduce eye pressure, which makes it a great solution for glaucoma.
Scientists claim that eating bitter kola twice a day is enough to keep your vision in good shape. In addition, they recommend annual medical checks for preventive glaucoma testing.
Potential To Ease Respiratory Illness
Another traditional use of bitter kola is for healing lung-related illnesses, including bronchitis, asthma, and even tuberculosis. Recent research has confirmed this fact – Garcinia kola helps in improving lung function by enabling the alveoli to take in oxygen more easily.
Scientists believe that this is due to the powerful antioxidant properties of bitter cola seeds.
This, in combination with the antibacterial function, is what makes the tropical plant an ideal solution for respiratory issues.
Helps Protect Fertility In Men
According to a study conducted in 2014, Garcinia kola protects the sperm from the toxins in the environment. At the same time, regular intake of this bitter plant, especially in combination with doses of vitamin C, makes the sperm stronger and healthier.
Moreover, kola helps increase the spermatozoid count, boosts potency, and improves sexual performance (when consumed a few minutes before intercourse).
Even though this was credited to the caffeine content in the plant, the research concluded that these benefits are due to an antioxidant called kolaviron.
Could Alleviate Colitis Symptoms
Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects around 1 million Americans every year. The disease is manifested through a number of symptoms including abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and fever.
Recent studies have confirmed that bitter kola could help keep the inflammation at bay, allowing you to live your life without the above-mentioned uncomfortable symptoms.
In addition, the plant helps keep weight stable and provides ease of discomfort. However, people suffering from colitis are advised to consult their physician before starting the intake of bitter kola or changing their medication regimen.
Helps Alleviate Arthritis Pains
Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that refers to degeneration of the joint cartilage, which often results in stiffness and pain. Osteoarthritis can often be the cause of obesity, frequent joint injuries, and premature aging.
However, studies have found that bitter kola can significantly reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis, at the same time offering comfort and increasing mobility.
This is, once again, due to the presence of kolaviron, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects.
Bitter Kola As A Snake Repellent
In addition to being used as a remedy, this tropical plant has many other uses.
Garcinia kola has been traditionally used as a natural snake repellent across Africa and Central America. It is known for its ability to repel snakes of all species and sizes in a radius of almost a mile!
All you need to do is grind the plant and combine it with some ground maize. Studies have not been done to confirm if this works on only specific types of snakes.
Bitter Kola Side Effects
If you decide to make this tropical plant a part of your healthy lifestyle, there are some possible side effects to consider.
Bitter cola can interact negatively with sedative medications and medications for the liver. If you’re taking such medications, make sure to consult your doctor before taking bitter kola.
The plant also interacts with sedative medications used for surgery and is forbidden to take at least 2 weeks before surgery, as well as afterward if you’re taking post-surgery medications.
Sometimes, bitter kola can cause insomnia and anxiety. If you exceed the recommended dosage, it can cause an irregular heartbeat. This is especially common in people sensitive to caffeine.
Even though Garcinia kola is not considered harmful for pregnant women, obstetricians advise against its use due to the presence of caffeine.
Although kola nuts are known for boosting metabolism and enhancing digestion, they’re not recommended for infants and very young children in cases of colic. Due to the high content of caffeine, kola can cause overstimulation and, in some cases, diarrhea, breathing trouble, and skin reactions. When your baby is old enough to chew food, you can introduce bitter cola in its diet after consulting a pediatrician.
Start with smaller amounts of this tropical plant see how you feel. If you don’t experience any adverse effects, you can gradually increase the daily dosage.
It is recommended to take bitter kola in the morning so the caffeine effect doesn’t interfere with your sleeping. This way, you will also get the energy to sustain you through your workday.
Where To Buy Bitter Kola
Bitter kola is available in some specialty stores and online. It is found in its raw and dried form. Bear in mind that when it’s dried, the plant’s taste and effects get stronger.
Bitter kola is also available as an extract. Kola extract is the easiest and cheapest way to make this amazing plant a part of your daily regimen. However, it is very important to follow dosage directions in order to avoid the occurrence of possible adverse effects. When buying bitter kola extract, make sure the manufacturer is reliable.
Bitter kola has been used as a powerful natural remedy in the African continent for centuries. Now, health communities in the western world are catching up with the numerous benefits that bitter kola has to offer.
The antioxidants and active components in the plant have been proven to help with a wide variety of health issues, ranging from simple coughs and bad breath to serious respiratory conditions and arthritis pain.
This should be enough to persuade you to include bitter kola in your everyday diet. However, make sure to consult a healthcare professional before doing so, in order to prevent any unwanted side effects.