13 Dynamic Health Benefits of Bitter Kola

Health benefits of bitter kola
Health benefits of bitter kola

Bitter kola, scientifically known as Garcinia Kola is a “bitter” fruit commonly consumed in some West African countries. Different tribes have different names for Bitter Kola in Nigeria; “Orogbo” in Yoruba, “Miji-goro” in Hausa and “Akiilu” in Igbo. This detailed articles aims at explaining the uses, nutritional properties and health benefits of bitter kola. [1]

This traditional plant is considered an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins [A, C, E, B1, B2, B3], fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, etc. One thing about Bitter Kola is that it is versatile such that its fruit, seeds, nuts, and even bark serve a lot of medical and traditional benefits.

Uses of Bitter Kola 

African traditional healers use bitter kola because it had purgative, antiparasitic, and antimicrobial abilities.

Many traditional healers have also believed that they are some spiritual benefits of bitter kola. They use it for spiritual cleansing, rituals, and to repel negative energy.

Nutritional Content of Bitter Kola 

Health benefits of bitter kola

A medical study examined the nutritional value, properties, and phytochemical content of Bitter Kola. Bitter kola was found to contain a lot of carbohydrates, ash, crude fiber, crude protein, and fat. The study on the nutritional and medicinal values of Bitter Kola showed high levels of vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium.

The phytochemical assessment showed that bitter kola contained tannin, sapoium, phytic acid phenol, Trypsin inhibitor, sterol, flavonoid (2.130%), Alkaloid, oxalate, caffeine, and hydrogen cyanide. [2]

The nutritional properties of bitter kola show it has many powerful health benefits. 

13 Health Benefits of Bitter Kola

Health benefits of bitter kola
Health benefits of bitter kola

Bitter kola’s health benefits include its ability to treat liver disorders, bronchitis, throat infections, colic pain, colds, and cough. As you can see the health benefits of bitter kola are numerous, and you learn more about them in detail soon.  [3]

1. Boosts sexual health

Bitter kola is one of the most effective herbs for enhancing sexual life. A lot of studies has been made on the health benefits of bitter kola on fertility.

Studies reveal that Bitter Kola contains potent aphrodisiac properties and that if taken adequately, it can help boost your libido and overall sexual performance. 

In addition to the above, Bitter Kola is also linked with increased sperm counts as well as improved testosterone levels and male fertility. As a result of this, there are certain African countries [including Nigeria] where bitter Kola is often recommended for men with poor sexual performance. [4]

However, if you want to use bitter kola for this purpose, it is imperative you chew the seed regularly, especially some minutes before you begin the “real stuff.”

2. Combats STDs

Sexually Transmitted Diseases, STDs are one of the health conditions with limited solutions. In fact, a lot of researches are being carried out almost every day just to find a lasting solution to these diseases.

Bitter Kola [its seed and leaf] exhibits antibacterial effects on Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, and Streptococcus pyrogens, all of which enables it to combat various Sexually Transmitted Diseases, STDs. [5]

Having mentioned that, it is equally important to remind you that PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE. Therefore, always avoid casual sex with random partners, but if you must have it at all make sure you protect yourself to the optimum level!

3. Bolsters the immune system

Your immune system is very crucial and should not be handled with levity; the weaker it is, the more you will be susceptible to illnesses. Thankfully, bitter kola contains an extraordinary amount of potent antioxidants, which helps in combating bacteria, free radicals, and illnesses in your body. [6]

When your immune system is strongly-built, it would protect you against any foreign contaminant or strange particles and thus keep you healthier and stronger.

4. Combats malaria

Malaria is one of the most common diseases in Nigeria; Over 1 million cases are recorded annually.

On the plus side, bitter kola contains potent chemical compounds, including quinones, kolaviron, and other anti-malarial properties for combating malaria.

In addition to the above, multiple studies [such as the one conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010] tested for the effectiveness of bitter kola in treating malaria infections, and the vast majority of the studies found it to be very useful. [7]

Again, as a result of the effectiveness of bitter kola in treating malaria infections, some traditional healers in Africa often recommend bitter kola for malaria patients, and the results are usually impressive.

5. Great remedy for osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) or Degenerative Joint Disease is a disease of the cartilage of joints, and it is the most popular joint condition. Some of the symptoms of OA include:

  • swollen joints,
  • joint stiffness,
  • joint pain,
  • joint tenderness,
  • impaired flexibility, etc.

Some of the factors that may result in Osteoarthritis include; aging, heredity, and injury.

Well, are you battling with this joint condition and you are looking for effective natural remedies? Bitter kola might be your best bet! Yes, there are a series of research works that affirmed the effectiveness of Bitter kola in combating arthritis symptoms.

For instance, a study carried out by Olayinka O. Adegbehingbe in Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria [July 2008] examined the “Effects of Garcinia kola against arthritis symptoms” and it was discovered that bitter kola was able to relieve the inflammation and pain of the objects of the study. [8]

6. Might serve as an anti-Poison

This is one of the many intriguing health benefits of Bitter Kola. Bitter Kola exhibits some anti-poisonous effects, which makes it an effective natural remedy for food poisoning.

This is how it works; Immediately you suspect that the food you ate has been contaminated get yourself a few bitter kolas and chew immediately.

After chewing the bitter kola, it will then detoxify your system so as to make the poison harmless to you.

7. Helps in weight loss

Weight loss might seem difficult at times, especially when you can’t control your caloric intake. But do you know bitter kola can help you lose more weight? Yes, regular consumption of bitter kola can give your weight loss goal a significant boost.

To start with, studies show that bitter kola could increase your body’s metabolism rate as high as 100%, which means that it could help shed some fats and even reduce your craving for food.

When you chew bitter kola, it will help suppress your appetite and increase your water intake. As a result of this, you will not get hungry easily, and this will, in return, prevent you from overeating or clogging your stomach with unhealthy foods that could result in excess weight gain.

As someone who is willing to lose weight fast, one of the best decisions you could ever make is incorporating bitter kola into your diet so as to help suppress your appetite and cravings for food.

8. Helps the lung function even better

The lung is a vital organ of the body and must be adequately cared for to prevent sudden breakdown.

However, bitter kola is made up of potent properties that could help boost the functioning of the lung as well as the respiratory system.

In support of the above, a research work published in the 2008 Internet Journal of Pulmonary Medicine reveals that bitter kola boosted the respiratory function of the objects of study in less than one month of continuous consumption. [9]

9. Could help in preventing glaucoma

Glaucoma is a very serious eye disease which destroys the optic nerve and ultimately results in permanent vision loss. It is the commonest causal factors of blindness after cataracts.

A very strange thing about this eye disease is that it rarely produces any symptoms or pains except for a few cases where the patient may notice some symptoms like blurry vision, excruciating eye pain, nausea, and the likes.

However, studies reveal that Bitter kola extract is very effective in combating glaucoma and other related diseases. [10]

To further prevent yourself against glaucoma always take adequate care of your eye, be hygienic always, eat balanced diets, and perhaps you notice some symptoms in your eye region consult your optician or doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

10. Treats cold and cough

Garcinia Kola is also an effective remedy for treating head or chest colds and cough. A recent study on the shed more light on the use of bitter kola for cough treatment. The study found out that a mixture of bitter kola and honey could be helpful in treating cough. It concludes by saying that bitter kola has medicinal properties and have been used for the treatment of certain disease conditions, including cough. [11]

11. Good for the liver

The health benefits of bitter kola haven’t yet ended, as it is good for the liver and also used to treat liver problems. A scientific study on the effects of Garcinia Kola and honey on the liver of albino rats proved that it has protective effects on the liver. [11]

12. Fights inflammation

Another potential health benefits of Bitter kola is that it might fight inflammation. For decades, bitter kola seeds have been commonly chewed in Africa to combat inflammation, such as arthritis. A 2008 study found that patients with osteoarthritis in their knees experienced significantly reduced inflammation when consuming bitter kola compared to a placebo. The high potassium levels in bitter kola may contribute to the reduction of inflammation.

Furthermore, a 2020 study found that bitter kola contained compounds that promoted anti-Inflammatory effects.

13. May help manage diabetes

According to early studies, kolaviron, a chemical present in bitter kola, may have the potential to protect against hypoglycemia in individuals with type 2 diabetes. While the initial study was conducted on rats and has not yet been replicated in humans, the preliminary results are promising.

Bitter Kola and Menstruation

A lot of Nigerians have been searching online if there was a link between bitter kola and menstruation. No medical study has shown if bitter kola can help with period pain.

However, there was a scientific study on the effects of bitter kola seed extract on estrous cycle, ovulation, implantation and pregnancy in adult female rats with the aim of finding if it could possibly be used as a female contraceptive. The study only claimed that ovulation was partially blocked in some rats. [12]

Bitter Kola and Ulcer 

Another common question that has been asked is if bitter kola can help with ulcer treatment. Well, according to what I found, that might be true. A scientific study was done on the gastroprotective potentials of the methanolic extract of bitter kola in rats.

They showed that treatment with methanolic extract of bitter kola reduced the morphological damage of the gastrointestinal system, ulcer, gastric wall thickness, and also improved the chemical structure of the gastric mucosa.

Thus, the study concluded that bitter kola might help with ulcer treatment. The reason might be due to the anti-oxidative activities of the flavonoid constituents in bitter kola. [13]

Other Health Benefits of Bitter Kola

  • It reduces the risk of cancer
  • It promotes diuresis
  • It keeps blood sugar levels in check
  • It Increases alertness, etc.



  1. Thank you very much for this information, God bless you.
    Pls, does bitter kola cure fibroid and adenomyosis ? Pls i need answer. Thanks.

    • You’re welcome. I’m glad you found you found the article helpful. To answer your question: a few people have claimed that bitter kola can cure fibroids, but honestly there is NO concrete medical evidence to back that up, same with adenomyosis.

      Consult a doctor if you notice the symptoms of fibroid for the most effective treatment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here