The seeds of the fruit of the kola herb are called kola nuts and belong to the Malyaceae plant family. Kola is a herb which is found in tropical climates. Originally found in Western Africa, Kola herbs are now found across the tropical climate.
The star shaped Kola fruit bears a dozen of round or square shaped kola seeds which are bitter to taste. The internal core of Kola nuts is whitish in color and the kola nuts actually smell like rose.
Kola nuts contain caffeine, starch, sugar, antioxidants like anthrocyanin and phenolics, tannic acid, proteins and certain fatty matter including oils.
Kola nuts have several benefits but also have certain side effects which have resulted in the FDA to issue warnings against the use of the nuts.
Health Benefits Of Kola Nut Extract
Kola nuts have been used for several centuries due to their potential benefits on the health. These benefits are attributed to the ingredients of kola nuts. Some of the commonly noted health benefits of kola nuts include,
- Improves Digestion: Kola nut extracts and powders have been known to stimulate the production of gastric acids which in turn aid in the process of digestion. Further, there are studies which have shown that kola nuts can be used in the management of diarrhea, especially nervous diarrhea.
- Reduces blood pressure: Kola nut extracts have been used as an effective treatment for management for reducing blood pressure levels. They have also been recommended in the management of congestive cardiac failure.
- Aids in weight loss: The caffeine content in kola nuts helps control the appetite. Further, as kola nuts improve digestion process, it can help in enhancing metabolism and aids in weight loss in general. Further kola nuts are an instant source of energy and are used effectively by athletes and body builders.
- Pain Relief: Research studies have shown that Kola nuts play a crucial role in reducing pain and are considered effective in the management of migraine.
- Other additional benefits of kola nuts include treatment of rheumatism, venereal disease and hepatitis.
Side Effects Of Kola Nut
Though kola nuts have several health benefits but their high caffeine content is often considered to be harmful and is associated with several side effects. Some of the commonly recorded side effects of kola nuts include,
- Stomach or Gastric Upset: Since kola nuts can stimulate the production of gastric acid, over consumption can often result in complications like heartburn, nausea, reflux and vomiting.
- Insomnia: Kola nuts are known to cause sleeplessness primarily due to the high caffeine content. This is attributed to the fact that caffeine tends to stimulate the nervous system which in turn interferes with sleeping habits.
- Hypertension: Though kola nuts are used to lower blood pressure, they have not been beneficial in individuals suffering from hypertension in general. Studies have shown that kola nuts when consumed by individuals suffering from hypertension can actually result in elevation of blood pressure levels.
- Unsteadiness: Regular consumption of kola nuts is considered to result in over stimulation of the nervous system which in turn results in trembling and unsteady hands. This unsteadiness is observed especially while performing a fine motor activity.
- In individuals who are allergic to nuts, kola nuts are associated with allergic reactions which can range from nasal trouble and skin reactions to anaphylactic shocks.