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Kola

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  • Botanical: Cola acuminata
  • Family: Malvaceae
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Kola

Botanical

Cola acuminata

Family

Malvaceae

Known as

Cola nitida, Kolanuss

Old Use

medicinal and culonary use

Parts Used

seed

Medicinal

asthma, bronchitis, bronchitis, coughs, digestion, difficulty breathing, exhaustion, fatigue, respiratory

Mind & Nerves

fatigue (exhaustion), migraine, neuralgia

Respiratory System

asthma, bronchitis, cough, respiratory, whooping cough

Properties

antispasmodic, astringent, expectorant, nervine, stimulant

Description

This tree grows about 40 feet high, has yellow flowers, spotted with purple; leaves 6 to 8 inches long, pointed at both ends.

The trees have yellow flowers with purple spots, and star-shaped fruit. Inside the fruit, about a dozen round or square seeds can be found in a white seed shell.

The seeds are extensively used as a condiment by the natives of Western and Central tropical Africa, also by the negroes of the West Indies and Brazil, who introduced the trees to these countries. 

Traditional Use

The properties of Kola are the same as caffeine, modified only by the astringents present. Fresh Kola Nuts have stimulant action apart from the caffeine content, but as they appear in European commerce, their action is indistinguishable from that of other caffeine drugs and Kola red is inert. Kola is also a valuable nervine, heart tonic, and a good general tonic.

Kola nuts are often used to treat whooping cough and asthma. The caffeine present acts as a bronchodilator, expanding the bronchial air passages. 

Cautions

Orally, cola nut can cause symptoms of caffeine toxicity. Caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, gastric irritation, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, quickened respiration, tremors, delirium, convulsions, and diuresis. Other symptoms include headache, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, hypokalemia, respiratory alkalosis, chest pain, premature heartbeat, and arrhythmia.
Although acute administration of caffeine can cause increased blood pressure, regular consumption does not seem to increase either blood pressure or pulse, even in mildly hypertensive patients. Epidemiological research suggests there is no association of caffeine consumption with incidence of hypertension. Habitual coffee consumption doesn't seem to be related to hypertension, but habitual consumption of sugared or diet cola is associated with development of hypertension. Whether chronic use of cola nut can cause hypertension is unknown.
Large doses of caffeine can cause massive catecholamine release and subsequent sinus tachycardia, metabolic acidosis, hyperglycemia, and ketosis. In fatal caffeine overdose, the cause of death is usually ventricular fibrillation.
Insomnia is a frequent adverse effect in children. Caffeine may cause feeding intolerance and gastrointestinal irritation in infants.
Caffeine may exacerbate sleep disturbances in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Some evidence shows caffeine is associated with fibrocystic breast disease, breast cancer, and endometriosis in women; however, this is controversial since findings are conflicting. Restricting caffeine in women with fibrocystic breast conditions doesn't seem to affect breast nodularity, swelling, or pain.
The existence or clinical importance of caffeine withdrawal is controversial. Some researchers think that if it exists, it appears to be of little clinical significance. Other researchers suggest symptoms such as headache; tiredness and fatigue; decreased energy, alertness and attentiveness; drowsiness; decreased contentedness; depressed mood; difficulty concentrating; irritability; and lack of clear-headedness are typical of caffeine withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms such as delirium, nausea, vomiting, rhinorrhea, nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, muscle tension, muscle pains, and flushed face have been described. However, these symptoms may be from nonpharmacological factors related to knowledge and expectation of effects. Clinically significant symptoms caused by caffeine withdrawal may be uncommon.
Epidemiological evidence regarding the relationship between caffeine use and the risk for osteoporosis is contradictory. Caffeine can increase urinary excretion of calcium. Women identified with a genetic variant of the vitamin D receptor appear to be at an increased risk for the detrimental effect of caffeine on bone mass. However, moderate caffeine intake, less than 300 mg per day, does not seem to significantly increase osteoporosis risk in most postmenopausal women with normal calcium intake.
Combining ephedra with caffeine can increase the risk of adverse effects. Jitteriness, hypertension, seizures, temporary loss of consciousness, and hospitalization requiring l ife support has been associated with the combined use of ephedra and caffeine. There is also a report of ischemic stroke in an athlete who consumed ephedra 40-60 mg, creatine monohydrate 6 grams, caffeine 400-600 mg, and a variety of other supplements daily for six weeks.
Caffeine can cause anaphylaxis in sensitive individuals, although true IgE-mediated caffeine allergy seems to be relatively rare.
Preliminary research suggests that chewing cola nut could increase the risk of oral and gastrointestinal cancer. Cola nut contains high amounts of tannins and N-nitroso compounds, which are carcinogenic. Chewing cola nuts is practiced widely in Nigeria, which has a high incidence of oral and gastrointestinal cancer. The risk may be even higher in smokers.

Distribution

africa

Constituents

caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, phenolics, phlobaphens, epicatechin, D-catechin, tannic acid

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.