Kola nut is a native of West Africa and widely grown in Angola, Togo, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The plant is also found in all tropical regions and is cultivated for its nuts which is said to have both medicinal and cultural uses.  The kola plant is an evergreen tree that can grow as tall as 40 feet with branches that reaches up to the trunk. The leaves usually grow only at the ends of the branches while the fruits are star-shaped, 2 inches wide and about 7 inches long. When the fruit is cut open, you can find about a dozen square or round seeds covered in white shell. Though the nuts are bitter at the initial taste, the sweet taste comes out when chewed. Kola nut is grown in America where it was believed that the slaves introduced it to the Americans. Some species of the kola nut are also cultivated in Jamaica, Indonesia and Brazil. Because of its importance in the production of energy drinks, kola nuts are highly demanded in countries like Canada, USA, New Zealand and Australia.


Fresh Kola nuts


Kola nut is commonly propagated by seed. The plant, though a tropical tree, grows well in a hot humid climate but can equally survive in dry areas provided ground water is available. The tree prospers in rich soils with evenly distributed rainfall throughout the season.  There are several varieties of kola nut, but the most common are the Cola nitida,Cola vera and Cola accuminata. Generally, the accuminata and nitida varieties are higher in quality and are preferred for exports than other varieties.  The tree requires regular weeding and can be carried out with herbicides or even manually. Irrigation can as well be provided but caution should be taken to provide an effective drainage system as excess water can deter the growth of the plant. Kola plant can equally be fertilized when it is not cultivated in adequate shade.

The benefits of kola nuts are numerous and more insights into these benefits are necessary. The kola nut powder and other extracts of kola nut help extensively in digestion and speed up the production of gastric acid. It has been discovered that kola nut can efficiently be utilized as a remedy to nervous diarrhea. Similarly, kola nut and its extract have been used over the years as an effective treatment to congestive heart failure, rheumatism, venereal diseases, hepatitis and excretion tract-infections.  Those who are concerned about gaining weight can also benefits from the caffeine content of the kola nut.  Chewing kola nut aids digestion as well as curbing appetite, making it a valuable food for weight loss. Another important benefit of the kola nut is its role in improving metabolism. They supply direct energy and can be taken after exercise, thus providing more energy for further work-out sessions which ultimately helps in more weight loss. It has been proven that kola nut can serve as a pain reliever.  Kola nut is equally used as raw material in the production of some soft drinks and wines.



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