What Is It?
And Where Does It Come From?
The Kola nut (Cola nitida), also known as Cola, Guru nut, Kola Tree, Cola Nut, Cola Seed, Guru Nut, and Bissy Nut is African in origin, and grows on several native tree species such as the Cola nitida or Cola vera, and the Abata Cola (Cola acuminata). The Cola acuminata is an evergreen tree of about 20 meters in height, and has long leaves that have a leathery texture. The trees have yellow flowers, and star-shaped fruit.
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Kola Nut Fruit & Flowers.
Photos Courtesy Of Virtual Field Herbarium.
Kola nuts are grown worldwide, and are extremely popular due to their high caffeine content. Kola nuts have a bitter taste, and contain between 1-1.5% caffeine by weight. They are also a source of antioxidants and contain small amounts of theobromine, d-catechin, l-epicatechin, kolatin, phlobaphens, antocyanin pigment kola red, betaine, and protein.
What Does It Do?
And What Scientific Studies Give Evidence To Support This?
Kola nuts and kola extract are used in the manufacture of soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, candy and nutritional supplements. Kola extract is a popular ingredient in fat-loss supplements due to its ability to stimulate the forebrain (thereby increasing focus), suppress hunger, aid in the digestion of food, and act as a diuretic.1
Medicinally, kola nut and kola extract are used to treat depression, childhood asthma (thereby opening the bronchial tubes), migraine headaches, and kola has shown promise as an aphrodisiac.
Kolas phenolics are also likely to act as antioxidants, thereby preventing free-radical damage.
Who Needs It?
And What Are Some Symptoms Of Deficiency?
No physiological requirement for kola exists, and there are no symptoms of deficiency.
Athletes and overweight persons can benefit from supplementing with kola. Because of its caffeine content, kola can provide energy and elicit efficacious changes in body composition. Kola nut may also improve athletic performance due to its ability to enhance oxygen delivery and enhance focus.
How Much Should Be Taken?
Are There Any Side Effects?
The maximum daily allowable dose is based on standardization. Always follow dosing procedures listed on the product label.
Pregnant or nursing women, diabetics, persons with insomnia, persons with digestive disorders, hypertension, heart conditions, or high cholesterol should avoid consuming products containing kola until approved by a qualified medical professional.
Caffeine-containing products like coffee should not be consumed when supplementing with products containing kola nut.
Side effects of excessive supplementation can include sleep disorders, nervousness or restlessness, over-excitability, gastric irritations and duodenal ulcers. By reasonably limiting supplementation, these symptoms can be avoided or minimized.
- "Herbal Ephedra/Caffeine for Weight Loss: a 6-month Randomized Safety and Efficacy Trial." Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord., 2002 May; 26(5):593-604.