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Botanical Name : Cola acuminata
Species: C. acuminata
Common Names :Local name:
Cola is called differently by different tribes:
Tribe Ewondo call it Abeu and tribe Boulou call it Abel
Habitat :Cola acuminata is native to Democratic Republic of Congo.Grows in the forest areas.
Cola acuminata is an evergreen tree of about 20 meters in height. Its germination can reach 2 to 3 months at a fast rate, and has long and ovoid leaves pointed at both the ends that have a leathery texture. 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 nut’s aroma is sweet and rose-like. The first taste is bitter, but sweetens upon chewing. The nut can be boiled to extract the cola. This tree reaches 25 meters in height and is propagated through seeds. C. nitida and C. acuminata can easily be interchanged with other Cola species.
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Originally a tree of tropical rainforest, it needs a hot humid climate but can withstand a dry season on sites with a high ground water level. It may be cultivated in drier areas where ground water is available. C. nitida is a shade bearer but develops a better spreading crown which yields more fruits in open places. Though it is a lowland forest tree it has been found at altitudes over 300 m on deep rich soils under heavy and evenly distributed rainfall.
Regular weeding is a must and this can either be done manually or by using herbicides. Some irrigation can be provided to the plants, but it is important to remove the water through an effective drainage system as excess water may prove to be detrimental for the growth of the plant. When not grown in adequate shade, the kola nut plant responds well to fertilizers. Usually, the plants need to be provided with windbreaks to protect them from strong gales.
Harvesting and storage: Kola nuts can be harvested by hand, by plucking it at the tree branch. Like in western countries and other countries of the world, it has been harvested by the use of harvesters. When kept in a cold and dry place, Kola nut can be stored for a long time.
Propagation: Usually by seed, although cuttings are sometimes used. Trees will bear in 7-10 years from seed.
Chemical constituents of kola nut:
*phlobaphens (kola red)
Kola nut stimulates the central nervous system and the body as a whole. It increases alertness and muscular strength, counters lethargy, and has been used extensively both in western African and Anglo-American herbal medicine as an antidepressant, particularly during recovery from chronic illness. Like coffee, kola is used to treat headaches and migraine. It is diuretic and astringent and may be taken for diarrhea and dysentery. It will aid in states of depression and may in some people give rise to euphoric states. Through the stimulation it will be a valuable part of the treatment for anorexia. It can be viewed as specific in cases of depression associated with weakness and debility.
In addition to its medicinal value, Cola plays a significant social role in Cameroon. Among Moslems from the north, Cola is sacred. In other communities, in particular the Bamiléké, Cola is a sign of love and friendship. Furthermore, Cola is consumed in ceremonies in particular dowry ceremonies, ‘tontines’, funerals, wake-keepings, etc. Some people consume Cola to reduce tiredness, hunger and to stay awake. Others consume it for its stimulant effect. Cola from the north is also used to tint clothing. Cola is also used in breweries (Nkongmeneck, 1985).
Kola nuts are perhaps best known to Western culture as a flavouring ingredient and one of the sources of caffeine in cola and other similarly flavoured beverages, although the use of kola (or kola flavoring) in commercial cola drinks has become uncommon. However, recently the use of Kola nut has been reintroduced, most notably in Whole Foods Market 365 Cola as part of their trend to use natural rather than artificial ingredients. It is also used in Barr’s Red Kola, Red Bull’s new Simply Cola, Harboe Original Taste Cola, Foxon Park Kola, Blue Sky Organic Cola, Sprecher’s Puma Kola, Virgil’s Real Cola, Hansen’s Natural Original Cola, and Cricket Cola, and formerly in Royal Crown Premium. In Barbados the Kola nut is made into a sweet drink known as Clayton’s Kola Tonic.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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