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Overview

Benefits of Kola Nut And Its Side Effects

Although the kola nut does not boast the same kind of nutrients as some kinds of nuts, it is still extremely beneficial. The main active ingredient in this nut is caffeine. This nut boosts metabolism, improves heart rate, improves immunity, pushes energy through the body, prevents certain kinds of cancer, assists in losing weight, and helps keep the eyes healthy.

Benefits of Kola Nut And Its Side Effects

Table of Content

Kola Nut
Nutritional Value of Kola Nut
Health Benefits of Kola Nut
Treats Malaria
Prevents Glaucoma by Reducing Eye Pressure
Increased Circulation
Boosts the Immune System
Improves Metabolism
Improves Gastrointestinal Health
Treats Prostate Cancer
Assists in Weight Loss
Treats Osteoarthritis
Uses of Kola Nut
Side-Effects & Allergies of Kola Nut
Cultivation of Kola Nut

Kola Nut

Native to the tropical rainforests of Africa, the kola nut derives its name from the Cola genus of trees. As the name suggests, the cola plant has also given us the cola drink. The tree of the kola nut contains caffeine and in some cultures is considered a gift worthy of being presented to tribal captains and chiefs. It is also used in day to day life, where it is chewed by people, either individually or in a group setting. It has a shell, which is peeled and discarded before consuming the nut inside it.In regions apart from Africa, the kola nut is used majorly as a flavoring ingredient. It was used as a source of caffeine in the cola drink and its variants, although this practice has declined.

Nutritional Value of Kola Nut

One of the reasons why the kola nut is classified as a healthy food is because of its chemical components. Even though it is not nutrient rich in the traditional sense, it still has a chemical composition that offers many short term and long term health benefits. Each kola nut contains about 2—3.5% of caffeine and 1—2.5% of theobromine. Additionally, it is also comprised of theophylline, phenolics such as phlobaphens, epicatechin, D-catechin, and tannic acid. It is also rich in sugar and water.

Health Benefits of Kola Nut

Mentioned below are the best health benefits of Kola Nut
Health Benefits of Kola Nut

Treats Malaria

A popular variety of the kola nut, the bitter kola, is known to have effectively treated malaria, according to many experimental studies. Although the idea originally originated from traditional sources where a tribe’s healers would prescribe the bitter kola to malaria patients, studies have confirmed that the quinone content of the kola nut was able to treat the infection in the body. Further, it has been reported that kolaviron, which is a chemical compound found in bitter kola, when tested on the malaria parasite, inhibited malarial activity.

Prevents Glaucoma by Reducing Eye Pressure

According to some researches, glaucoma is caused by an increase in pressure on the eye. 0.5% of the extract of the Garcinia kola nut was used to create eye drops for a research study conducted in Nigeria. The results of the study revealed that this opthamolic solution reduced eye pressure, and was most effective when used twice a day. While not everyone might have access to this medicinal solution, the kola nut can be consumed orally. Although the effect might not be targeted, it definitely improves overall eye health. It can relieve the stress on the eyes caused by modern habits and lack of proper nutrition in our diets.

Increased Circulation

Consuming kola nuts boosts oxygenation by stimulating increased circulation. Improved oxygenation benefits many parts of the body, including but not limited to, extremities, internal organs, skin, and the brain. Better circulation to the skin keeps it healthier and younger looking for a longer period of time. For the internal organs, it implies vitality and overall improved health. When the amount and flow of oxygen improves throughout the body, cells can repair themselves and wounds are naturally healed. Kola nuts are sometimes called ‘cognitive boosters’. The biggest reason for this is that when it improves blood circulation to the brain, cognition and concentration has been known to dramatically improve.

Boosts the Immune System

The chemical components of the kola can prevent the incubation of certain life-threatening bacteria in the body. In this way it can combat a range of respiratory conditions such as bronchitis. Furthermore, it is known to minimize the risk of developing tuberculosis and meningitis.

Improves Metabolism

One of the biggest reasons why caffeine is consumed in such large amounts is because it acts as a stimulant that pushes a surge of energy that enables the body to go into action at almost a moment’s notice. The way in which this energy is pushed into the body is that caffeine stimulates the heart to pump more blood, and this circulation of oxygenated blood carries glucose with it, which produces energy when burned. The kola nut, with its abundance of caffeine, can have the same effect on the human body. People who suffer from low metabolism can consume this nut to improve metabolism and the health of the heart. When consumed in moderation, the kola nut enables the body to burn and consume energy optimally and stabilizes heart rate.

Improves Gastrointestinal Health

In their cultivation and consumption of the kola nut, people in African tribes believed that chewing the kola nut improved the regularity and quality of their bowel movements. Researchers have confirmed that this is true, but the benefits of this nut extend far beyond that. The kola nut contains certain active ingredients that improve nutrient consumption in the body, and also reduce inflammation and bloating, constipation, and cramping. It is a known fact that menstruating women experience many of these uncomfortable symptoms. Consuming a moderate amount of kola nuts during menses can relive them of these symptoms. Additionally, it also impacts gastrointestinal health in the long run by keeping serious issues at bay.

Treats Prostate Cancer

Kola nuts are rich in phytoestrogens and phytoandrogens. Although research on this matter is still underway, some studies have concluded that these nuts attack the prostate cancer cells and stimulate apoptosis, which means cell death. This effect is being studied on other cancer types.

Assists in Weight Loss

The kola nut can assist in losing weight in two ways. Caffeine has been known to suppress appetite and as it is available in abundance in the kola nut, consuming a handful of it ensures that the body feels full for a longer period of time. It can be consumed with breakfast to avoid the urge to snack before lunch. Or it can be consumed as a snack, since it is definitely healthier than the snacks we tend to consume, and it consequently ensures that we don’t overeat during lunch.However, there is a second way in which kola nuts enable weight loss. It has been closely linked with fat-burning properties. This could be due to its effect on improving the body’s metabolism. In these ways, kola nuts are ideal dietary supplements in a weight loss regimen.

Treats Osteoarthritis

As we already know, kola nuts are able to treat inflammation in the body. Some research studies have found that the compounds found in the kola nut can also treat osteoarthritis. This condition is characterized by intense pain and inflammation in the joints, along with limited movement. It can be caused by a number of things, including obesity, aging, and injury. In one study the Garcinia kola, particularly, relieved the symptoms experienced by osteoarthritis patients by reducing pain and inflammation, and increasing the capability of joint movement.

Uses of Kola Nut

Kola nuts, as we already know, are used as a flavoring agent in cola drinks. However, culturally and historically, in Africa the kola nut has been consumed orally by those who cultivated these plants. This activity was a day-to-day occurrence, but it was also known to have ceremonial significance. More recently, the kola nut and its extract has been used in health supplements, performance enhancers, and energy drinks. This nut is hard to find in the local supermarket and can usually only be found in specialty grocery stores. As can be expected, it is also priced similarly, and as a result not everyone can afford to purchase this nut and avail its benefits. However, if obtained, they can be consumed directly in small to moderate quantities on a daily basis.

Side-Effects & Allergies of Kola Nut

Although the major component of the kola nut, caffeine, has many benefits, there are also side effects to watch out for. Those who suffer from high blood pressure and heart conditions should not consume this nut without professional advice, as the stimulant can have detrimental effects on the body. The caffeine can induce jitters when consumed in large amounts. Even though one of its most prominent benefits is improved digestion, it can upset the stomach, by causing heat in the body, when consumed in large quantities. The best time of the day to consume kola nuts is during the day when there are higher chances of physical activity utilizing the caffeine completely. If consumed at night it can cause insomnia. Lack of proper sleep, in turn, can impact other bodily functions.

Cultivation of Kola Nut

The kola nut appears to have ancient origins, with many West African cultures chewing the nut in individual and social settings. They hold great value in the spiritual context of countries such as Niger, Sierre Leone, Nigeria, and Liberia. These nuts were offered to deities in religious ceremonies. In some cultures, it was also used as currency, showing that the value placed on this nut was very high. It was only in the 1800s that the flavoring aspect of the kola nut was discovered.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am not able to sleep full night/ up to midnight if I drink a cup of tea at evening time. Give me a scientific reason.& how to eliminate this problem. Thank u.

PGD IN ULTRAASONOGRAPHY, Non invasive cardiology course, MD - Medicine, MBBS
General Physician, Narnaul
Caffeine has been called the most popular drug in the world. It is found naturally in over 60 plants including the coffee bean, tea leaf, kola nut and cacao pod. All over the world people consume caffeine on a daily basis in coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, some soft drinks, and some drugs. Because caffeine is a stimulant, most people use it after waking up in the morning or to remain alert during the day. While it is important to note that caffeine cannot replace sleep, it can temporarily make us feel more alert by blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increasing adrenaline production. There is no nutritional need for caffeine in the diet. Moderate caffeine intake, however, is not associated with any recognized health risk. Three 8 oz. Cups of coffee (250 milligrams of caffeine) per day is considered a moderate amount of caffeine. Six or more 8 oz. Cups of coffee per day is considered excessive intake of caffeine. Caffeine enters the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine and can have a stimulating effect as soon as 15 minutes after it is consumed. Once in the body, caffeine will persist for several hours: it takes about 6 hours for one half of the caffeine to be eliminated. There are numerous studies to support the idea that caffeine causes physical dependence. If you suspect that you or someone you know is dependent on to caffeine, the best test is to eliminate it and look for signs of withdrawal, such as headache, fatigue and muscle pain. Although caffeine is safe to consume in moderation, it is not recommended for children. It may negatively affect a child's nutrition by replacing nutrient-dense foods such as milk. A child may also eat less because caffeine acts as an appetite suppressant. Caffeine can be safely eliminated from a child's diet since there is no nutritional requirement for it.

Popular Health Tips

6 Magical Tips to Cope with Migraine Attacks

Ayurveda, Delhi

6 Magical Tips to Cope with Migraine Attacks

Migraines affect up to 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the United States. Today, migraines affect as many as four out of every five people in America.  Doctors are still unraveling the mysteries of migraines. Most doctors believe a combination of things that cause people to have migraines. The causes of migraines range from genetics to neurovascular imbalances in the brain.

Why Do Most People Experience Weather Related Migraines?

It is not entirely clear why some people experience more migraines around the change of weather.  Even though the cause of weather related migraines has not been identified, there are ways to decrease the severity, reduce and prevent migraines from occurring.

In a recent survey by the National Headache Foundation, headache sufferers were given a list of possible causes. They were asked to rank them in terms of what commonly brought on their migraines. Three out of every four respondents said that weather triggered their headache pain.

Specific weather triggers included:

  • Changes in humidity
  • Changes in temperature
  • Storms
  • Extremely dry conditions

Most people have an idea of what causes their migraines, but the real question is what can you do to help reduce the amount of migraines, decrease the severity or prevent the migraines from occurring?   Below are six tips to help you cope and find a solution to preventing your migraines. 

6 Tips on How to Cope With Your Migraines

Tip # 1 – Keep a Diary of Your Migraines:

Keeping a diary is the first step toward finding a solution, so your migraines do not disrupt you and stop you from having a healthy, happy and productive life.  The first step is to try to figure out what triggers your migraines.  One way to do that is to keep a diary of all your migraines.  If you think weather is a reason for your migraines then record any of the common weather and environmental factors that may have initiated your migraines. Keep a detailed diary and bring this diary to your doctor, so your doctor can figure what the best treatment is for you.

In your diary, you should include:

  • What part of the brain do you feel the pain?
  • What does the pain feel like?
  • The time your headache began and when it ended
  • Any changes in the weather, such as storms, high winds, or high humidity
  • Any warning signs – symptoms before the migraine occurred
  • Any treatment you tried, and whether it helped or made the migraine worse

Tip # 2 – Making Changes in Your Daily Regimen:

Making changes in your everyday life can help reduce the number and severity of migraines you are experiencing. Here are some changes you can incorporate into your life that can help improve the number of migraines you are experiencing.

  • Sleep: Make sure you get enough of sleep and try going to sleep around the same time each night.  Interruptions in your sleep schedule, getting too much or too little sleep, can trigger a migraine.
  • Exercise regularly: Research has shown that regular, moderate aerobic exercise may reduce the severity, duration, and number of migraines in many people. Regular exercise also helps control stress, another migraine trigger.
  • Eat regular meals: Eating healthy meals regularly are important to maintain level blood sugar. A drop in blood sugar can trigger a migraine.
  • Drink plenty of water: Make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which can trigger migraine.
  • Limit stress: For many migraine sufferers, stress is plays a big factor. Take time each day to relax. Find something that helps you relax like listening to soothing music, taking short walks, meditating or doing yoga.
  • Try complementary therapies: Try using complementary therapy to help prevent migraines. For example, you may be able to manage stress and prevent migraines through acupuncture, massages and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Tip # 3 – Incorporate Certain Foods into Your Diet:

If you are a migraine sufferer like me, you are constantly looking for prevention ideas. Certain foods can help fight off and prevent migraines.  These foods include:

  • Cayenne: Cayenne peppers are widely recognized as culinary ingredients that add intense heat and flavor to southwest American, Caribbean, Indian and Asian dishes. However, this pepper may also offer healing benefits. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives cayenne peppers their heat, may help reduce blood vessel constriction. This may help prevent rapid blood pressure fluctuations that can trigger migraine headaches.
  • Coffee: When it comes to coffee, caffeine can give you migraine relief. It is a major ingredient in many headache medications. However, if you consume too much, it can actually cause migraines. Moderation is key!
  • Flaxseed and Fish: An anti-inflammatory diet is beneficial to preventing migraines.  Flaxseeds and fish are packed with omega-3s and fiber can actually help prevent migraines.
  • Riboflavin-rich Foods: Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B-2, is one of eight B vitamins necessary for the metabolism of nutrients and protection of your central nervous system. A deficiency of this vitamin may also contribute to headaches, particularly migraines. Adding foods high in riboflavin may help stop recurring migraines by correcting deficiencies. Eggs, avocados, broccoli, romaine lettuce, alfalfa, asparagus, walnuts and mushrooms are abundant sources of riboflavin.
  • Magnesium-rich Foods: About 60 percent of migraine sufferers may have magnesium deficiencies. Magnesium is a trace mineral that may help normalize nerve impulses in your brain that transmit pain signals. This may help stop intense pain associated with migraine headaches. It may also help regulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical that may contribute to sudden changes in blood pressure – a contributing factor of migraines. Increase your magnesium intake by consuming foods such as kale, tofu, lima beans, kelp, garlic, apples, bananas and apricots.

Tip # 4 – Consider Dietary Supplements:

  • Magnesium: This is probably the most important one as it contributes to relaxing the brain blood vessels that cause the pain. Magnesium penetrates cell membranes, including the mitochondria. Some of the best drugs used to treat migraines are calcium channel blockers.
  • Vitamin B2: (riboflavin) – Riboflavin, which is vitamin B2, converts energy from carbohydrates. The riboflavin gives your brain more energy, which makes it less likely to be bothered by migraine triggers.
  • Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is needed so the body can properly use serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are necessary for normal nerve cell communication. Researchers have found lower levels of serotonin in people with migraine headaches. Therefore taking Vitamin B6 may help the body better use these crucial chemicals and it is thought be a key vitamin for migraine aura and a natural remedy for migraines.
  • Vitamin B12 & Folic acid:  Vitamin B-12 supplements may also be effective for migraine relief if taken along with vitamin B6 and folic acid. A study published in “Pharmacogenetics & Genomics” in June 2009 showed that participants who took all three supplements together saw a reduction in migraine headache frequency and the severity of their pain.

Tip # 5 – Consider the Possibilities of Herbal Supplements:

For centuries, many people have used alternative therapies to help or cure common conditions.    Certain herbs have been used to help reduce or prevent migraines.  Some can be just as strong or effective as prescription drugs. Therefore, it is important to remember, if you consider using any type of herbal supplements, consult your doctor first.  Make sure it does not conflict with any medications you are currently taking.   You should not take any herbal supplements or drugs unless your doctor says it is OK and if you are pregnant, you should not take any herbal supplements because it may harm the baby.

Herbal supplements used to reduce and prevent migraines include the following:

  • Alfalfa Leaf
  • Barberry Root
  • Bay Leaf
  • Brazilian Guarana
  • Butterbur
  • Catnip
  • Cayenne
  • Chamomile
  • Dong Quai
  • Evening Primrose
  • Feverfew
  • Ginger Root
  • Green Tea
  • Griffonia Seed
  • Hawthorne Leaf
  • Honeysuckle
  • Kola Nut
  • Lemon Balm
  • Passion Flower
  • Peppermint Leaf
  • Valerian Root
  • White Willow Bark
  • Wintergreen
  • Wood Betony

Tip # 6 – Prescription Medications:

Not all experts would recommend using medication to prevent temperature-change-related migraines.  However, if you have tried natural, holistic and alternative therapies to try to eliminate your migraines and nothing seems to be effective then you should focus on other alternatives such as prescription medications specifically made to help people suffering from migraines.

Below are some prescription medications for patients suffering from migraines:

  1. Antiepileptic drugs: Certain medications used to control seizures are also effective for preventing migraines as well. These drugs may work by calming the neurons in the brain. Neuron “hyperexcitability” plays a role in migraine and epilepsy. Up to 20% of people with epilepsy also suffer from migraines including myself.  Anti – seizure medications that help migraines include:
    1. Depacon (valproate)
    2. Depakote (divalproex)
    3. Topiragen, Topamax (topiramate)
  2.  Beta-blockers: These medications are frequently used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. It is not clear how they help prevent migraines. Nevertheless, beta-blockers improve the blood flow and this may be significant reason why beta-blockers help prevent migraines.  Beta-blockers that have been proven effective for the prevention of migraines include:
    1.  Blocadren (timolol)
    2. Inderal, Innopran XL (propranolol)
    3. Lopressor, Toprol XL (metoprolol)
  3. Antidepressants: These medications affect the level of the brain chemical serotonin. Research has shown that Elavil (amitriptyline) and Effexor (venlafaxine) work well for preventing migraines.

Table of Content

Kola Nut
Nutritional Value of Kola Nut
Health Benefits of Kola Nut
Treats Malaria
Prevents Glaucoma by Reducing Eye Pressure
Increased Circulation
Boosts the Immune System
Improves Metabolism
Improves Gastrointestinal Health
Treats Prostate Cancer
Assists in Weight Loss
Treats Osteoarthritis
Uses of Kola Nut
Side-Effects & Allergies of Kola Nut
Cultivation of Kola Nut