Kola Nut – Benefits, Extract, Powder, Allergy and Side Effects

What is Kola Nut?

Kola is a kind of herb that grows in tropical climate. The seeds of the fruits of kola tree are called the kola nut, or bitter cola. It belongs to the Malvaceae plant family, of the cocoa family. Kola trees are originally grown in tropical countries, mostly western Africa, but are now grown in many other humid climate countries like Sri Lanka and others.

These are caffeine based edible seeds. The kola tree, formally known as Cola acuminate, is usually 20m tall tree of the evergreen species. Yellow kola flowers have purple spots on them. Kola nuts caffeine content is 3 times higher than coffee, thus it is an instant energizer, but according to researches it is not addictive like other caffeine energizers.

The nut has to be boiled to get the kola extract. The well known Cola drinks’ recipes originated from kola seed.

Scientific Name Of Kola Nut: Cola acuminate Sterculiaceae

kola nuts imagesPicture 1 – Kola Nut
Source – healthnatural

Kola Nut Description

Kola Nut Looks

Kola nut trees are about 20-40ft tall. The kola trees bear white and yellow flowers with purplish spots on them. Kola leaf is ovate shaped, pointy at both ends and long with a leathery texture. The fruit is star shaped. Each fruit bears about a dozen of square or round shaped bitter kola seeds within whitish seed shells.


The seed, which is actually the kola nut, smells like rose.


The initial taste of the seed when put in mouth is bitter but gradually it sweetens on chewing. Kola seeds are chewed as a breath freshener.

Kola Nut Chemical Composition

Kola nuts contains :

  • 2-3.5% of caffeine
  • 1.0-2.5% of theobromine
  • Phenolix (composed of phlobaphens which is the kola red
  • Epicatechin
  • D-catechin, and tannic acid)
  • Sugar (which contains water and cellulose)

Kola Nut Constituents

Kola nut is constituted of

  • Caffeine (with tinge of theobromine)
  • Kolanin (combination of kola red and caffeine)
  • Glocuside
  • Starch
  • Sugar
  • Fatty matter
  • Tannins
  • Some anti-oxidants like phenolics and anthrocyanin
  • Protein.

Kola Nut History

Kola nut finds its purpose in many ancient traditional rituals of Western Africa. It was also offered as a sacred offering during religious and spiritual ceremonies. Kola nuts find their origin in Africa, though are cultivated in many other tropical countries these days.

Kola Nut Allergy Symptoms

Anybody who is allergic to peanuts or any other kinds of nuts, the person is likely to be allergic to kola nuts also. Kola nuts allergy symptoms are almost same as those of usual nuts allergy like  :

  • Stomach Upset: Over consumption of kola nut products can sometimes result in stomach pain, frequent and abnormal excretion, vomiting, and even diarrhea
  • Nasal Trouble: It is often seen that nasal congestion, running nose, itchy nose, and sneezing occur due to the allergy.
  • Skin Reaction: Sometimes the allergy leads to itchy skin, flakey skin particles when itched, red and swollen marks on body parts, irritation inside or around the mouth
  • Breathing Trouble: Allergy can result in breath shortness, increase chances of asthma attack, could be even fatal if aid is not provided immediately.
  • Anaphylaxis:  Severe nut allergy can be a life threat resulting in anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis are swelling of tongue or throat, fainting down, extreme breathing difficulty, low blood pressure, and difficult to speak. It could be fatal if not taken care of as an emergency.
  • Heartbeat Increase: This allergy can increase the heartbeat to a notable rate after consumption of nuts and leave the person feel dizzy and fatigued.

Kola Nuts Side Effects

Though kola nut products are energy boosters for the caffeine content, but over intake of it can be harmful. The side effects of intake of kola nut products are :

  • Stomach Upset: Over consumption of kola nut products can result in heartburn, vomiting, and nausea because it accelerates creation of stomach acids.
  • Insomnia: Due to the caffeine content in the kola nut products as it stimulates the nervous system and boost up, it can sometimes also affect the sleeping habit, resulting in insomnia.
  • High Blood Pressure: Kola nut products increase blood pressure level resulting in high blood pressure tendency, due to the caffeine content. Researches show that those with hypertension symptoms are more prone to high blood pressure and thus suffer higher risk with kola nut product.
  • Unsteady Hands: Regular consumption of caffeine content kola nut products can result in unsteady nerves, leading to unsteady hands, noticed specially while doing any minute work.

Kola Nut Benefits

Kola Nut picturesPicture 2 – Kola Nuts
Source – tradenote

Kola nut and its products have many benefits. Since ancient days kola nut had been in vogue use for its caffeine content and many other beneficial contents.

  • Helps In Digestion: Kola nut extract, kola nut powder, and kola nut products accelerate production of gastric acid and helps remarkably in digestion. Research show that kola nut can be used as a treatment of nervous diarrhea.
  • Decrease High Blood Pressure: Kola nut extract and other kola nut products are also used as effective remedies for venereal diseases, rheumatism, excretion-tract infections, congestive heart failure, and hepatitis.
  • Helps In Weight Loss: The caffeine content of kola nut extract, kola nut powder, and other kola nut products curbs appetite and helps in digestion as well, leading to weight loss. Kola nut and kola nut products help in enhancing metabolism. Kola nut supply almost instant energy and is often taken after work out sessions, thus giving more energy for further exercise and in turn helping in further weight loss.
  • Acts As Pain Reliever: Researches showed that consumption of kola nut, kola nut extract, kola nut powder, and other kola nut products are effective in treating migraine. Due to the caffeine content in kola nut which supplies instant energy, consumption of kola nut products help in bearing pain.

Kola Nut Extract

Kola nut extract is the extract got from the seed of kola fruit or kola nut. Some of the kola nut extract facts are as followed :

  • It is mostly used as energy supplement and aid in weight loss.
  • The extract has been found to effectively work for curing many medical conditions like whooping cough, migraine and usual headache. It is also used as a great diuretic that is it supplies the necessary fluid substitute amount to the body instantly.
  • Kola nut extract and the extract products are a good anti-depressant but are not addictive.
  • Kola nut extract works as a good bronchodilator. The caffeine content in the extract and extract products help in opening p the bronchial tubes which are the air passage in lungs thus helping in breathing fresh when exhausted.
  • Researches show that kola nut extract and extract products can also be used to reduce intoxicated feel due to consumption of alcohol.

Kola Nut Powder

Kola nut powder is the dust made out of kola seed. The powder is not alien to anybody since it is used in the mother recipe any cola beverage that everybody has tasted some time or the other.

Home made kola nut tincture made out of kola nut powder can be consumed in a proportion of around 2ml each time thrice a day as a medicinal dosage.

Kola Nut Precautions

Kola nut is a great energy booster. But there are pros and cons of all. Here are some of the kola nut precautions that are generally suggested :

  • People with heart disease symptom, stroke, anxiety, and insomnia should avoid over consumption of kola nut extract or the extract products.
  • Kola nut extract ant its products are instant energizers due to the caffeine content. Over consumption should strictly be avoided of extract and its products of kola nut and pregnancy duration stands the maximum risk of getting the mother and the child affected.
  • Though this is not a healthy way to loose weight as this is just a temporary remedy and if kola nut extract and extract products are taken regularly they can be harmful to the natural physiological system.

Kola Nut Uses

Kola nut is used in many forms and for various reasons. Some are good and some are bad, but kola nut uses are many like:

  • Kola nut liquid extract, kola nut extract, kola nut powder, and all kola nut products are used as instant energy stimulators.
  • Kola nut extract finds medicinal use in treating migraine, breathing difficulty due to exhaustion, fatigue, and digestion.
  • Kola nut is chewed in its motherland, western Africa, as a breath sweetener.
  • Kola nut is offered in rituals and ceremonies in western Africa.
  • Kola nut was chewed in its motherland as a ritualistic offering to the guest in any gathering.

Kola Nut Cultivation

Kola nut trees need hot and humid climate to be cultivated, but can bear dry season also where the ground water level is high. It can be harvested plugging it on the tree branches. Kola trees can be fertilized also if the natural growth rate is less.

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