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Natural Health Benefits of Bitter Kola Nut (Garcinia Kola)


Natural Health Benefits of Bitter Kola Nut

Over the recent years, a good number of previously unknown superfoods have cropped up and taken the health and wellness industry by storm. We've had Sweet potato, Quinoa, Chia seeds, Avocado, Goji berries and etc. But it's time for them to move aside, because there's a new name in town bitter Kola.

If you haven't heard of bitter Kola before, that's hardly surprising. You won't often find this food product stocked to the max in your local supermarket. You might have tried it before, though, as it's mostly used to flavor sodas.

Don't let this deceive you into believing that it isn't healthy on its own, it certainly is. 

What is Bitter Kola?

Bitter Kola is a nut that can be used as a supplement for improving health and energy levels.

It's found in the evergreen cola tree, which you'll mostly see in the African rainforests. In its region, it has long been used for health and medicinal purposes, and is even seen as an important cultural symbol. 

There are plenty of reasons why the Kola nut is so widely celebrated, and in this post, we're going to cover them all.

1. Bitter Kola Aids Digestion and Digestive Issues Such as Bloating

Abdominal pain, and constipation can be a nightmare to deal with, and often it's best to treat the problem naturally. Bitter Kola in particular is an effective natural remedy for a number of digestion troubles. 

This is because it promotes the production of gastric acid, which increases the effectiveness of some digestive enzymes in the stomach.

This helps the body to break down food more thoroughly, assisting in healthy and speedy digestion. 

2. Bitter Kola Increases Circulation

Oxygenation, or the delivering of oxygen around the body, is vital for the proper functioning of our extremities, internal organs, skin, and brain. Adding bitter cola to your diet has been shown to improve oxygenation by increasing circulation of blood around the body.

This increase in circulation can lower your risk of heart disease, as well as improve brain functioning and keep your skin healthy and young-looking for a longer period of time.

Oxygenation helps cells to repair themselves, enabling wounds to heal faster and improving concentration, which is why consuming kola nuts can have such a big impact on our overall health.

3. Bitter Kola Boosts Metabolism 

Kola nuts are a good source of caffeine, which, when consumed in moderation, has the ability to raise your metabolism by about 10%, helping you to burn energy and calories at a faster rate.

Caffeine is useful for giving you that hit of energy right when you need it, by stimulating the heart to pump more blood. 

Bitter kola has been found to be particularly useful to people with a low metabolism, who can take the nut to improve metabolism, improving their overall heart health in the long run. 

4. Bitter Kola Prevents Harmful Bacteria Growth

Unfortunately, research into bitter Kola's antibacterial benefits is fairly limited at the moment. 

However, one study does suggest that using the Kola nut might stop the growth of harmful bacteria in the body. 

The nut was found to inhibit the growth of a number of bacteria, indicating that it displays promising chemotherapeutic and antibacterial potential. We're sure we'll hear more about this in the near future.

5. Bitter Kola Decreases the Risk of Prostate Cancer 

One of the most interesting studies into bitter Kola has discovered that the nut may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. 

It's thought that phytoestrogens, certain compounds found inside the nut, may actually be able to kill cancer cells, preventing them from multiplying to form tumors in the prostate. 

We definitely need to research more into how bitter Kola may prevent the disease, but what we know so far is promising.

6. Aids in Weight Loss

There are two ways that adding bitter Kola to your diet might help you to achieve your weight loss goals. 

One is that the Kola nut contains a good helping of caffeine, which, when consumed in moderation, has been found to suppress appetite and then help you feel fuller for a longer period of time. 

If you're a frequent daytime snacker, adding bitter Kola to your breakfast or lunch might help you curb the cravings.

Aside from suppressing appetite, bitter Kola possesses a number of fat-burning properties that are linked to its ability to speed up metabolism. 

Including bitter Kola in your daily diet, along with a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise, should help you to burn calories faster and lose weight at an increased rate. 

7. Bitter Kola Improves Energy Levels

One of the main benefits of caffeine, which we know can be found in high quantities in bitter Kola, is its ability to boost energy levels. 

We all know that person who needs their morning hit of caffeine to get through the day, and there's truth to the belief that caffeine can keep you awake and alert for longer. 

Notably, caffeine increases the release of adrenaline, which helps the heart to beat blood faster around the body, spiking our energy levels right when we need it. 

Getting your daily dose of bitter Kola should help you to stay attentive and productive, no matter what daily activities are on the cards.

8. Bitter Kola Treats Osteoarthritis 

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can cause intense pain and inflammation in the joints. Long-term osteoarthritis sufferers may experience frequent discomfort and limited movement. 

Promisingly, many natural remedies for arthritis are coming forward, and kola nuts are one of them. 

The anti-inflammatory properties of bitter kola have been found in several studies to help relieve the common symptoms experienced by osteoarthritis patients, reducing pain and inflammation, and increasing the capability of joint movement. 

9. Bitter Kola Prevents Glaucoma 

Glaucoma, nerve damage to the eye that can eventually lead to blindness, is caused by an increase in pressure on and behind the eye. Interestingly, one study found that using eyedrops containing bitter cola actually reduced this eye pressure when used twice a day. 

While we're still not sure why exactly this happens, it is thought that the nuts' caffeine content may play a part in the reduction in pressure. 

Not all glaucoma patients have access to such eyedrops, but it's thought that orally supplementing with bitter cola can relieve the stress on the eyes and maintain optimal health. 

10. Bitter Kola Decreases Migraine Pain

Migraines are increasingly common in today's population, especially in teenagers and younger women. 

Some research suggests that the symptoms of migraines may be improved by the kola nut, thanks to its high caffeine content, making it helpful for people who suffer from migraine headaches. 

Migraines usually affect the blood vessels in the head, and caffeine has vasoconstrictive properties that cause the blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow, lessening migraine pain.

Be aware, though, that daily caffeine exposure might cause the brain to develop a tolerance to the compound, so migraine sufferers are best only taking bitter cola when necessary. 

11. Bitter Kola Increases Sexual Desire and Performance 

Sexual dysfunction is a fairly common but embarrassing issue to treat. 

However, you might not have to resort to visiting the doctor to discuss your symptoms. If you're not comfortable with doing so, as bitter kola may be able to naturally improve sexual performance without the need for outside help. 

Studies have shown that men who take bitter kola supplements on a daily basis experience not only an increased sex drive, but an improvement of sexual performance too. 

It's thought that this may be due to bitter kola's aphrodisiac effects, an ability to speed up blood flow around the body. 

12. Bitter Kola Improves Asthma Symptoms 

We already know about bitter cola's anti-inflammatory properties, and these do more than just ease joint pain in the body.

For people who suffer from asthma, a respiratory condition that causes a tightening of the chest and loss of breath, regularly chewing on bitter Kola has been found to strengthen lung tissues and manage the common asthma symptoms. 

Even for people with healthy lungs, the bitter Kola nut is thought to maintain the respiratory tract and treat chest colds and infections. 


To conclude, if you're tempted to give bitter Kola a try yourself, you'll first have to find out where in your local area sells the nut. 

Marketplaces selling ethnic foods are a good place to try, or anywhere that sells a wide variety of nuts. 

Bitter Kola is relatively large, around chestnut size, and as its name suggests, is slightly bitter to taste, although it sweetens up after a bit of chewing. You can eat bitter Kola raw, roasted in spices, or add it to your savory dishes as suits you. 

If you're not particularly bothered about trying the nut itself, but still want to enjoy the health benefits bitter Kola offers, why not visit your local health store in search of supplements? 

It's easy to see why there's so much building hype around bitter Kola, and it's more than likely that the nuts will only continue to make a name for themselves in the future. 

While we definitely need to research more into exactly how beneficial they are to our health, we know for sure that these are budding superfoods to watch out for. I hope you have enjoyed this post on the health benefits of bitter kola. 


2. Icheku, V, Onianwah, IF and Nwulia, A (2019). A descriptive cross-sectional study on various uses and outcomes of Garcinia Kola among people of Oshimili North in the Delta State of Nigeria. AYU. 39 (3), pp. 132-138.

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