Garcinia kola or 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. According to a report from the Center For International Forestry Research, garcinia kola trade is still important to the tribes and villages in Nigeria. As with any herb, never consume garcinia kola without first discussing its use and benefits with your physician, especially if you are currently being treated for other medical conditions or are on any medications.
Improve Lung Function
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 2008 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 David A. Ofusori, MSc, from Igbinedion 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 fibers in the lung tissue. Garcinia kola's beneficial lung properties are attributed to its high antioxidant content.
Reduce Eye Pressure
An increase in eye pressure can lead to glaucoma, according to a report from The New York Times Health Guide. Researchers at Lagos University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria tested the effectiveness of eye drops that contained 0.5 percent extract of garcinia kola. The results of their study, published in the January 2010 issue of Middle East African Journal of Opthamology, showed that the opthamolic solution that contained the garcinia significantly reduced eye pressure when used twice a day.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, characterized by pain, inflammation and limited movement in the joints, according to the National Institutes of Health. Causes of osteoarthritis can include joint injury, obesity and aging. Since many arthritis sufferers prefer natural herbal medicines to other pain relievers and medications, researchers at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria tested the effects of garcinia kola against arthritis symptoms. The results of the study, written by Olayinka O. Adegbehingbe and published in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, conclude that garcinia kola significantly reduced inflammation and pain and increased joint movement in subjects that had osteoarthritis symptoms. It is believed that garcinia kola works well as a result of its antioxidant properties.
The side effects reported from the garcinia kola use in this study were weight loss, increase in sex drive and extended sleep. If you take garcinia kola and experience diarrhea, hives, irregular heartbeat or other signs of allergic reaction, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention.
- CIFOR: Restution Africa: Bitter kola
- Internet Journal of Pulmonary Medicine: Microanatomical Effect of Ethanolic Extract of Garcinia Kola on the Lung of Swiss Albino Mice
- New York Times Health Guide: A New Understanding of Glaucoma
- National Institutes of Helath: Osteoarthritis
- Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research: Clinical Effects of Garcinia Kola in Knee Osteoarthritis