English Names: – Bitter Kola, False Kola
Nigerian Names: Bini – Edun. Efik – Efiari. Ibibio – Efiat. Igbo – Akilu, Aki-unu, Adi, Akara-inu, Ogolu. Ijaw – Okan
I was given a care pack from the East recently. My package included Cocoyam, Palm Oil, Udala (a.k.a Agbalumo) and Bitter Kola. I thought the last item had been added by mistake so I contacted my benefactor to ask if I should return it. I was quite surprised to hear that it had been added intentionally.
Prior to this time, I had never considered Bitter Kola as something I would be interested in. Of course, I had tried it in the past but the bitter taste of the aptly named Bitter Kola meant that I really did not want to have much to do with it. Also, I mentally associate Bitter Kola with the old men in my village – sitting together and cracking open kola nuts and bitter kola while discussing topical issues.
However, upon being reminded that it had innumerable health benefits, I decided that I would not only incorporate it in my diet, I would also find a way to present it to you. Who knows who will find this helpful.
Bitter Kola has been used for many decades for coughs and colds although there has been no scientific backing of its efficacy. Thankfully the researchers1 decided to do some digging and it turns our our ancestors were right all along –
- Consumption of Bitter Kola shows significant antibacterial effect on respiratory tract pathogens. As a matter of fact, when compared to 5 commercial antibiotics commonly used to treat respiratory issues – clindamycin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, penicillin and erythromycin – Bitter Kola beat them hands down.
- For the medically inclined: In fact, it was remarked that the test organisms (S. aureus, S. pneumoniae, S. progenies, H. influenzae) were resistant to these antibiotics. Bitter Kola scored one extra major point because unlike the anitbiotics, “there are no reports of severe toxicity in humans from eating …bitter kola”. So you can throw down quite a bit.
- Bitter Kola extract fed to female catfish increased fertility. Caution does have to be taken…don’t go and start feeding your cat fish a whole lot of Bitter Kola as the amounts administered have to be exactly right. If not, it can lead to a lot of negative consequences for the fish.
- There is evidence that Bitter Kola helps to improve male fertility. The quality of sperm is thought to be better.
- Bitter Kola has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral. It is also though to be antidiabetic.
Use of ethanol extracts of Garcinia Kola as fertility enhancer in female catfish Clarias gariepinus broodstock, A.A Dada and V.O Ajilore International Journal of Fisheries and Aquaculture Vol. 1 (1), pp. 005-010, June 2009