Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The amazing health benefits of Bitter Kola (Garcinia Kola)

Health Benefits of Bitter Kola (Garcinia Kola)
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.
I hope many Africans both at home and in diaspora will continue to appreciate herbal medicines with little to no side effects compared to pharmaceutical drugs with gazillion known side effects. I have broken down the several health benefits of Bitter Kola (Garcinia kola) for the healing of many common and seasonal ailments:
Bitter Kola Improves Lung Functions
Bitter kola (Garcinia 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.

“We extracted its chemical constituents, which is called Kolaviron and when it was tested on malaria parasite, we found it had significant anti-malarial activity,” says Professor Olusegun Ademowo, a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Medical Research and Training, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, South West of Nigeria.
“What we are now trying to find out is the right dosage of its extract that would be required in treating malaria. Also, we are looking at what other effects its use will have on the human cells. But at the moment it is in the preliminary stage.”
In 1999, a group of researchers in Kinshasa, Congo, attested to why people should consider feeding more on bitter kola to ward off malaria. Under laboratory conditions, they found extracts from bark, stem and seed of bitter kola tree inhibit the growth of malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) by at least 60% at a low concentration of 6 mg/ml.
Bitter Kola Health Benefit for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, characterized by pain, inflammation and limited movement in the joints, according to the National Institutes of Health. Causes of osteoarthritis can include joint injury, obesity and aging. Since many arthritis sufferers prefer natural herbal medicines to other pain relievers and medications, researchers at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria tested the effects of Garcinia kola against arthritis symptoms. The results of the study, written by Olayinka O. Adegbehingbe and published in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, conclude that Garcinia kola significantly reduced inflammation and pain and increased joint movement in subjects that had osteoarthritis symptoms. It is believed that Garcinia kola works well as a result of its antioxidant properties.
Garcinia kola appeared to have clinically significant analgesic/anti-inflammatory effects in knee osteoarthritis patients. Garcinia kola is a potential osteoarthritis disease activity modifier with good mid term outcome; Olayinka O Adegbehingbe, Saburi A Adesanya, Thomas O Idowu, Oluwakemi C Okimi, Oyesiku A Oyelami and Ezekiel O Iwalewa discovered in their study on the Clinical effects of Garcinia kola in knee osteoarthritis.
The side effects reported from the Garcinia kola use in this study were “weight loss”, “increase in sex drive” and “extended sleep” which many considered helpful to meet their individual and marital demands.
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