Health Benefits of the Kola Nut

Caffeine-rich kola nuts are the seeds of the cola tree, native to tropical coasts of Western and Central Africa. Several different types of kola nuts are obtained from different species of the cola tree, such as Cola vera, Cola nitida and Cola accuminata. The seeds vary in the amount of caffeine and astringent content, and are generally used in decoction and tincture form.Kola nuts have been used traditionally to treat a variety of conditions, although excessive intake may lead to insomnia, restlessness, nausea, vomiting and increased heart rate.

Prostate Cancer

Kola nut extracts contain nonsteroidal plant compounds that have the ability to induce death of cancerous prostate cells and may modulate prostate growth and function, says Rajasree Solipuram in an article published in the 2009 edition of the “Journal of Toxicology.” No clinical studies have been conducted to study the benefits of kola nut extracts in prostate cancer patients and the herb may not be substituted for your prescription medications. Always talk to a doctor before using kola nut to avoid possible adverse reactions and drug interactions.



Extracts obtained from a variety of kola nuts can significantly inhibit the growth of the bacteria belonging to the Mycobacterium species that cause a variety of diseases, including tuberculosis and meningitis, says a study published in the May 2004 edition of the journal “Phytotherapy Research.” However, the anti-mycobacterial properties of kola nut have not been proven clinically and the herb should be used only under the guidance of a trained health care professional.

Nervous System Stimulation

One tablespoon of kola nut powder in a cup of black coffee can stimulate and economize nervous and muscular energies, according to Richard Alan Miller, author of the book “The Magical and Ritual Use of Herbs.” Kola nut has also been used in combination with ephedrine to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. However, the University of Maryland Medical Center, on its website, warns against the use of kola nut to treat CFS because of the risk of seizures and psychosis. It is best to consult a doctor before using kola nut as a nervous system stimulator.

Weight Loss

Another animal study published in the first issue of the 2009 edition of the “Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences” has shown that chronic intake of kola nut can reduce food intake and body weight in rats without affecting water intake. The weight loss is believed to be because of the appetite inhibiting properties of the caffeine in kola nuts. An article published in March 2006 edition of the “African Journal of Biotechnology” states that kola nut can increase the metabolic rate at low concentrations and this may promote weight loss. However, large amounts of kola nut reduces the metabolic rate and heart rate. Therefore, discuss the pros and cons of kola nut with a physician before using it.

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