Scientific Name/Common Name: Cola nitida / Kola
Part(s) Used: Nut
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Kola nut contains: Caffeine (0.6-3.0%), theobromine (up to 0.1%), other xanthine alkaloids, condensed catechin tannins, betaine, cellulose, enzymes, fat, fiber, starch, a glucoside, gum, protein, proanthocyanidins, and anthocyanins including cyanidin and sugars.
Overview: Cola/Kola nuts are the fruit of a tree native to West Africa popularly used around the world today in soda drinks like Coca Cola, particularly valued for their stimulant effects. Cola is related to cocoa and contains the same xanthine stimulant alkaloids including caffeine, found in coffee, tea, cocoa, and mate. For thousands of years, West Africans have traditionally chewed cola nuts for their stimulant effects. The German Commission E recommends cola nut for treating mental and physical fatigue and melancholy. Pharmacological studies show that xanthines relax bronchial smooth muscle, stimulate the central nervous system and cardiac muscle, and are also diuretic. Caffeine is also sometimes used with analgesics to accelerate their pain-relieving effects, similar to how Ephedra is used in Chinese medicine to deliver and potentiate other herbal active ingredients.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: As a central nervous system stimulant; to suppress appetite and promote alertness; to relieve mental and physical fatigue.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications. Pp. 72-74.
Newall CA, Anderson LA, and Phillipson JD. 1996. Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, pp. 84.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.