Bitter Kola is a tree that grows in the rain forests of West Africa. The fruit, seeds, nuts and bark of the plant have been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat ailments from coughs to fever.
Basically, the nut is about 3-5 cm in length. It is ellipsoid in shape and covered with a deep brown peel which is removed before it is eaten. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when eaten and this is the reason for its name.
The scientific name for bitter kola is Garcinia kola. It is called Orogbo in Yoruba. The Hausas call it Miji-goro, while it is called Akiilu by the Igbos. It has some major health benefits:
1. It 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 fibres in the lung tissue. Bitter kola’s beneficial lung properties are attributed to its high antioxidant content.