Vedantu

What is Kola Nut?

Once classified as a cousin of the cocoa family, the kola nut is derived from the Cola plant. These are found in the African tropical rainforests and are in great demand all over the world for their caffeinated nature. These are used in making soft drinks and beverages. When the nuts are chewed fresh, they have a certain bitter taste. However, after they are processed, they taste somewhat of nutmeg. 


What Do Kola Nuts Look Like?

Kola nuts grow on evergreen Cola trees in the African rainforests. Cola acuminate is a tree that can grow up to 20 meters tall with long oval-shaped leaves. The fruit produced by this tree is star-shaped and has white-colored flowers. The nuts can be extracted from the fruits and they usually have an aromatic fragrance. 


Originally found only in Africa, they were later on brought to parts of Brazil and the Caribbean island through the slave trade network. However, the bulk of all Kola nut productions come from Brazil. 


What are the Uses of Kola Nut?

This is mostly used as a stimulant in Africa and is used to treat guests as a sign of respect. Other than that, the Kola not also has a number of other uses. It is one of the most potent cash crops in Africa with a significantly big international market. 


Kola nut was earlier used in many pharmaceutical preparations that dealt with weight loss, but it is not very clearly established as to how it helps in reducing weight. A number of natural supplements that have been approved by the FDA also contain Kola nut. 


Kola Nut Cultivation

It is a tropical rain forest tree that prefers a hot, humid climate, but this can survive a dry season if the groundwater level is high enough. It can be grown in drier areas with access to groundwater. C. nitida is a shade bearer, but it grows a wider crown that produces more fruits in open areas. Despite being a lowland forest tree, this has been identified at altitudes of over 300 meters on deep, fertile soils with uniformly distributed rainfall.


Weeding must be done on a regular basis, either manually or with the use of herbicides. Irrigation could be given to the plants, although it is critical to extract the water via an efficient drainage system because excess water could be harmful to the plant's development. The kola nut plant reacts well to fertilizers when cultivated in an inadequate shade. In most cases, windbreaks are necessary to defend the plants against strong gales.


Kola nuts can be harvested either mechanically or manually by plucking them from a tree branch. Nigeria accounts for 52.4 percent of global production, with the Ivory Coast and Cameroon following closely behind. Kola nuts could be preserved for a long time if held in a cool, dry spot.


Pests and Diseases

The kola weevil - Balanogastris cola is known to strike the nuts. The larvae of the cacao-eating moth Characoma strictigrapta penetrate into the nuts. To combat the assault on nursery plants, traders often use an extract of Rauvolfia vomitoria bark or pulverized fruits of Xylopia and Capsicum. Sahlbergella spp., cacao pests, were being discovered on C. nitida as an alternative host plant. Though seeds are vulnerable to worms, wood is vulnerable to borer attack.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Kola Nut

1. Mention the side effect that might occur due to bitter kola?

Bitter Kola nuts can cause shakiness, tremors, and anxiety because they can affect the central nervous system. Kola nuts can make people feel shaky, particularly if they have anxiety. Overeating kola nuts can cause nausea and upset the stomach.

2. What role does wonderful kola play?

Buchhlozia coriacea (BC), also known as 'wonderful kola,' is a plant in the Capparaceae family that has historically been macerated in water or local gin to treat diabetes. Kola is also useful in the treatment of migraine headaches.

3. How to grow kola nut?

You can begin by planting a few nuts in jars/bins if you want to grow kola nuts. Transplant the seedlings outdoors once they have germinated. Kola nuts can also be grown from cuttings. If you want to try growing the plant outside in the yard, you'll need to find a location with thick, fertile soil and good drainage. If you live by the sea in a rainforest, this really is the best choice.

 

According to kola nut records, the trees can reach a height of 60 feet (18 m.). This is a project that will put a gardener's patience to the test. It may take up to a decade for the trees to produce nuts.

4. How is Kola nut cultivated?

Cola trees need conditions that resemble the tropical rainforests of West Africa in order to thrive well. Since the trees can grow very tall, a spacious area is preferred. The seeds can be planted in the soil and they germinate easily. The plan can also be directly planted onto the soil. Good drainage is very important for the plants to grow well. After the nuts are harvested, they are dried and processed to extract the juice from them which goes into making soft drinks.

5. Can Kola nut be used to treat diseases?

There are very few clinical reports that can firmly assent to this, however, it has been seen that taking Kola nits has been beneficial to most people. It has shown useful results in managing problems such as high blood pressure and obesity when accompanied by a healthy lifestyle. Basically, since it contains caffeine, all the properties that caffeine can exhibit on health can be noticed here as well. This increases energy and reduces hunger and cravings, making it a good choice for people trying to lose weight.

6. Can Kola nut have side effects?

Caffeine present in Kola nut is, after all, a stimulant. Thus, it also has certain side effects. People allergic to caffeine cannot take this for obvious reasons. It can overstimulate the central nervous system, making someone feel hyperactive. It also acts as a diuretic and makes the body lose more fluid through more urination, so it is not always recommended for kidney patients. It can also lead to excess production of stomach acid, which can cause gastric ulcers and other GI problems. 

7. What side effects should be reported to a doctor?

It is possible that someone can get addicted to Kola nut since it has stimulating properties. In mild cases, it does not have any long-term health problems, but in other cases, it can cause a lot of issues. If someone notices persistent symptoms such as insomnia, hyperactivity, headache, dizziness, fainting spells, dehydration, tachycardia, mood disorders, restlessness, anxiety, as well as withdrawal effects, they should be referred to a doctor. Energy drinks that claim to have Kola nut may have more than permissible levels of it, so it is possible that an overdose may happen.

8. Should Kola nut be chewed or boiled?

It can technically be taken in both ways. Chewing them will definitely take away from the taste a little bit since these are very bitter unless processed. They can be chewed to reduce hunger, cure sleepovers, help with fatigue and sleepiness. In Africa, they are mostly taken through chewing only. In most other parts of the world, however, they are taken in some form of a liquid, either through popular soft drinks or by boiling and making into a tea form.


Learn through videos