Garcinia kola is a specie of flowering plant in the Clusiaceae or Guttiferae family. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
The fruit, seeds, nuts and bark of the plant have been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat ailments from coughs to fever.
The kola nut is used to flavor sodas and as a supplement to increase energy.
In Nigeria, it is an important cultural symbol for many ethnic groups. It is given to guests at weddings, funerals, and naming ceremonies. Ceremonial breaking of the kola nut is important for making people feel welcome in a village or gathering.
The kola nut has some reported health benefits
- Boost to metabolism: The nuts contain caffeine, which is thought to boost a person’s metabolism.
- Aid to digestion: The powder and extract may help digestion. They are often thought to facilitate the production of gastric acid, which enhances the effectiveness of digestive enzyme in the stomach.
- Increase in blood circulation: The caffeine and theobromine in the nut may speed up the heart rate, which increases circulation.
- Boost to energy levels: Eating of the nuts naturally stimulates the central nervous system, which may enhance alertness and boost energy levels.
- Antibacterial benefits: One study reported in the Journal of Biosciences and Medicines indicates that the use of kola nut extract might stop the growth of harmful bacteria.