Have you ever wondered what the difference between Bitter Kola and Kola nuts is? Though both are tropical fruits that are very popular and widely used
Have you ever wondered what the difference between Bitter Kola and Kola nuts is? Though both are tropical fruits that are very popular and widely used in Central and West Africa, these nuts belong to a different family of plants, although they have very similar uses. So, what is the difference between Bitter Kola and Kola nuts?
What is Bitter Kola?
Bitter kola, scientific name Garcinia Kola, is a wild plant naturally found in western and central Africa. Bitter kola has a bitter, slightly acidic taste which gradually turns to a slight sweetness when eaten raw. The most commonly used part of this plant is the seeds which have remarkable medicinal, nutritional and health benefits.
What are Kola Nuts?
It’s a little confusing, isn’t it…but yes, kola nuts are different from bitter kola. The scientific name Cola Acuminata, Kola nuts is a tropical fruit from the kola plant. It contains large quantities of caffeine and is used basically as a Central nervous system stimulant. Kola nuts are also widely used as a cultural, traditional, and ceremonial symbol in West and Central Africa.
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What is the difference between Bitter Kola and Kola nuts?
Bitter kola has a bitter taste with a nutmeg-like flavor, while kola nuts have a bitter-sweet taste with a distinctly caffeinated flavor.
2. Health and Medicine
Bitter kola is widely used to treat bacterial and viral infections, including coughs and pneumonia. Bitter kola has also been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties, and there’s also a strong suggestion that eating bitter kola helps lower blood sugar levels and fights against diabetes.
On the other hand, Kola nuts are good central nervous system stimulants due to their very high caffeine content. They are widely used to improve memory and boost mental alertness and concentration levels.
Also, kola nuts are used to ease some respiratory problems like asthma. The caffeine in Kola nuts helps as a bronchodilator (the ability to open the airways and ease breathing), and this can be helpful to people with breathing difficulties.
Bitter kola helps improve digestion. It is effective against constipation and other digestive disorders related to the bowel.
Kola nuts, meanwhile, are effective weight loss supplements. This property of kola nuts helps to break down fat significantly. Taking kola nuts often can increase your rate of metabolism.
Bitter kola is an excellent source of carbohydrates and proteins as well as essential micronutrients like iron, potassium, and vitamin C.
Improve Sex Life Bitter Kola is also said to have aphrodisiac properties. Eating bitter kola or soaking the nut in some water before drinking could help improve sexual stamina and performance.
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4. Additives in Food and Drinks
Kola nuts are used as additives in some drugs and flavoring for drinks and Sodas. The popular beverage Coca-Cola got its name from the kola nut tree, and kola nuts were initially used as the primary source of flavor for this drink.
5. Other Uses
Culture and tradition: Besides their medicinal and nutritional uses, Bitter Kola and Kola nuts are widely used as a cultural and traditional symbol in the west and central Africa. Often they are used during ceremonies like weddings, funerals, and traditional meetings.
Although kola nut and bitter kola have been used for hundreds of years in Africa and beyond, there is still minimal scientific research. Notwithstanding, there is also very little to suggest that these nuts have any adverse effects on your health.
However, you may want to pay attention to the high caffeine content of Kola nuts especially, and not take it in excess as that may lead to undesired side effects, especially those associated with caffeine.
All in All, kola nuts and bitter kola are very safe and valuable tropical fruits, as we have seen above. So, whenever you travel through any west African country, town, or village, don’t forget to taste these lovely, readily available nuts. Be advised to carry some along with you for future use. They may just come in handy when you least expect it.