Also known as Garcinia kola or bitter cola, bitter kola is a fruit with diverse uses. Traditionally, bitter kola is an important fruit and Nigerians recognise how important it is in our culture. 


Bitter kola is the fruit from the Kola tree (usually about 40 to 60 feet). This star-shaped fruit is native to West Africa.

Bitter kola contains about 2 percent of caffeine and is bitter when eaten fresh. Experts say that when dry, bitter kola has a less bitter taste and could smell like nutmeg.

Historically, bitter kola is also an important fruit. If you’re a fan of Coca Cola and other cola drinks, then you might have a closer relationship with bitter kola than you might know. The first type of Coca Cola was made from extracts of the bitter kola.


In the 1800s, John Pemberton of Georgia invented the first cola drink by mixing ingredients from the kola plant and coca, and carbonated water, to make the Coca Cola drink; a worldwide popular cola drink. Yeah, shocking, I know right!

Why would we encourage you to eat such a bitter fruit you wonder. Because of the presence of important nutrients in bitter kola, this fruit provides the body with a lot of benefits. Below are some health benefits of the kola fruit and why you should ignore its taste and include it into your diet:

  • Bitter Kola Might Protect You Against Diabetes

According to early studies, kolaviron, a chemical present in bitter kola, might protect patients of Type 2 Diabetes against hypoglycemia.


Although this study has only be carried out on rats, we can hope that when replicated on humans, the result will be the same and a break will be discovered for people living with Type 2 Diabetes.

For more context, Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). In addition, according to the College of Medicine University in Ibadan, with type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin.

Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, and hunger.

  • Bitter Kola Fights Infections

Bitter kola has been used as a remedy to treat infections such as hepatitis and the flu. According to a recent study in 2018, bitter kola helps to treat coughs, bacterial, and viral infections.


As simple as chewing the fruit can help relieve cough as well as other infections. On the plus side, this remedy works effectively and rapidly.

  • Bitter Kola Reduces Inflammation

In addition to fighting against infections, they also help reduce inflammation. Chewing of bitter kola combats inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Experts suspect that the high quantities of potassium may be contributing to this wonderful component of the kola nut.

On an unrelated note, did you also know that bitter kola helps fight off halitosis (the fancy name for mouth odour).

  • Bitter Kola Boosts Metabolism

Bitter kola is sometimes referred to as cognitive boosters, as increased levels of oxygen in the brain have been connected with higher levels of brain function and concentration. The kola has a unique quality of stimulating the body and increasing heart rate.


This unique quality also promotes the healing of wounds through the increased flow of oxygen and nutrients

  • Bitter Kola Boosts The Immune System

Several parts of the plant such as the stem and roots help prevent some bacterial infections targeting the body system.

Although it is the extracts from bitter kola which possess this unique power against infections, the fruit itself has not been directly linked to this. But hey, we must give kudos to the bitter kola plant for its unique quality.


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