Bitter kola is a type of nut mostly found in several parts of Nigeria and West-Central Africa as a whole and the tree grows in the (tropical) rain forests. Its biological name is “Garcinia kola” and belongs to the family of “Guittiferal”. Bitter Kola has been identified as a potent antibiotic which could be effective in the treatment of many diseases. The fruit, seeds, nuts and bark of the tropical tree have been used for centuries in traditional medicines to treat many forms of ailments.
Chewing bitter kola relieves coughs, hoarseness, bronchial and throat troubles. Several studies discovered bitter kola to be a remedy for dysentery, osteoarthritis, antidote against poisoning and considered an aphrodisiac.
Bitter kola has been used for centuries to treat chest colds in traditional medicine, but research has taken a look and found out why it is effective. A study in the 2009 issue of The Internet Journal of Pulmonary Medicine, performed on mice, reports that Garcinia kola improved respiratory function after 28 days of use of a Garcinia extract. Written by Simon Adekunle of the Ekiti State University in Nigeria, the study shows that Garcinia kola works by dilating the alveolar ducts and sacs in the lungs by improving the strength of the fibers in the lung tissue. Bitter kola’s beneficial lung properties are attributed to its high antioxidant content.
Bitter Kola health benefit for malaria
Considerable experimental studies found the chemical constituents in bitter kola have anti-malaria properties. That aside, traditional healers have for many years prescribed bitter kola for the treatment of malaria infections. Researchers who reported that bitter kola had anti-malaria effect in the 2010 issue of Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, from a survey of plants used by traditional healers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, attributed this to its quinones content.
Further more, kolaviron, the powerful chemical compound found in bitter kola, was reportedly tested on a malaria parasite and found to inhibit malarial activity.