Kola Nut

Kola Nut

The kola nut is native to the African continent and offers several benefits. What are these benefits and are there any side effects that we need to look into? These are some of the points that we will be covering in the following sections.
HolisticZine Staff
If you're one of those who like to go in for herbal remedies as a form of treatment for most common ailments, rather than depending on synthetic and chemical products, then the kola nut might be a great alternative to look into. The kola nut is a native to the African continent and grows on the Cola nitida, Cola vera and the Abata cola plants. These nuts have a high content of caffeine, which gives them their unique bitter taste. For many years, these nuts were used as one of the main ingredients in cola beverages. But other than adding flavors to certain drinks, there are several other benefits that one can look into as well. An extract of these nuts is used for treating several ailments that include indigestion, asthma, cough, depression, and others. In the following sections, we shall look at some of these benefits and get into the details of the side effects as well.

Benefits

The nut of the kola plant is cultivated and the extract removed for usage. This extract is then used as a treatment for several ailments. It has several properties that are known to aid the human body. Here are some of the benefits of the same:
  • It has varied properties and the most important one is that it acts as a great stimulant.
  • It energizes and lends an instant boost of energy. It is therefore used as one of the prime energy supplement ingredients in energy drinks.
  • It suppresses one's appetite and has therefore been known to be quite successful in leading to weight loss.
  • It leads to relaxing of muscles and therefore brings a calming effect as well.
  • It helps ease the pain of patients suffering from asthma and bronchitis by dilating the built up mucus and freeing the airway.
  • It helps to treat migraines and headaches in patients.
  • It has been used as an aid for digestion in many African cultures. Chewing on the seeds or consuming the extract of the kola nut is known to increase the content of gastric acid in the intestines which in turn leads to improved digestion.
  • Kola nuts are also used as an aid to improve heart health. They help to reduce high levels of blood pressure and prevent heart failure.
  • They help to increase metabolism and therefore help to keep indigestion and weight gain away.
  • It helps in dealing with diarrhea.
  • It has been known to work as an aphrodisiac for both men and women.
  • It helps in relieving depression, toxins of the body and lead to endurance and stamina.
Side Effects

Even though there are several advantages that the kola nut offers, it becomes imperative to know that there are certain health risks involved in the excess consumption of these as well. These are connected to the negative effects of caffeine as well. Let us see what these side effects are:
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Shaking and jittery hands/legs
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Heart burn (due to the presence of gastric acid)
  • Vomiting
  • Increased urination (in some)
  • It should be avoided by those suffering from heart conditions because it can lead to an increased heart rate as well as high blood pressure.
  • Should be avoided by pregnant women as well as those who are breastfeeding because of the high caffeine content.
  • People who are used to consuming high levels of caffeine in terms of coffee and other stimulants, might have an excess dose of the same with the intake of this extract and therefore might suffer from caffeine overdose symptoms. So also, if the intake is suddenly stopped, then there might be several side effects like headache, fatigue, and drowsiness among others.
  • Constant and unchecked use of kola nut extract might lead to osteoporosis.
It is advised that though kola nuts provide several health benefits, there is a need to act with caution when it comes to constant, regular, and increased consumption of the same. There are several side effects that may develop and it should not be that you end up getting harmed due to these rather than taking in the benefits of the same. So make sure that you start off with low doses and consult a doctor before you start out on these.

Disclaimer - This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.