12 Amazing Health Benefits Of Bitter Kola

Bitter Kola(Akuilu, orogbo) is botanically known as Garcinia kola, and belong to the “Guttifere ” family.

It is predominantly grown in the tropical or subtropical part of west Africa specifically, Nigeria.

It has different names depending on the region for instance, in the western Nigeria, it is know as orogbo, Akuilu in eastern Nigeria and namijingworo northern Nigeria.

Moreover, bitter kola has a bitter taste when chewed, and highly revered in Africa, as it is used for welcoming guest during traditional ceremonies such as traditional marriages, cultural rituals, new yam festival, to mention but a few.

The seeds are dehulled prior eating though the leaves, stems and bark are also used for medicinal purposes.

It is highly recognised plant in Africa because of it constituents including iron, vitamin C  , riboflavin niacin, thiamine, calcium, potassium, and fiber and saponin, alkaloids.

This medicinal plant, is consumed widely not because it can easily be chewed with ground fish or as an insects repellent but it antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, and antioxidant qualities (1) .

Most importantly, It is used by the herbal medicine practitioners to cure stomach upsets, liver disorder, glaucoma, impotence, cough and constipation. These functions are associated to the properties found in bitter kola.

Bitter Kola(Akuilu, orogbo)health benefits includes; May help in diabetics management, treat erectile dysfunction, boost immunity, treat glaucoma, and cough, weight loss, combat arthritis, treat malaria, serve as snake repellent, maintain digestive system, and prevent cancer.

12 Amazing Health Benefits Of Bitter Kola

1. Good for Diabetics Management

Some of the problem affecting those living with diabetes are poor Blood sugar control, insufficient secretion of insulin and insulin resistance. Bitter kola can be very useful at controlling blood sugar level, stimulating secretion of insulin and speeding up insulin sensitivity, since it possesses dietary fiber, antioxidant and has low glycemic index. Fiber helps reduce uptake of glucose into the blood stream as well as accelerating insulin response, which in turn regulate the blood sugar levels. Moreover, nutritionists say foods of low glycemic index helps optimize blood sugar level, bitter kola is one of this foods with low glycemic index.

2. Boost Immunity

To boost immune system, opt for bitter kola being rich with vitamin C, B vitamins and alkaloids. Alkaloids is an antioxidant helping your body get rid of dangerous free radicals which triggers oxidative damage in the body and leading to immunosuppressant. Moreover, these minerals and vitamins particularly, vitamin C are very impressive at safeguarding your immune system. Interestedly, eating bitter kola will definitely earn you a healthy immune, eliminate pathogenic growth and enhance White blood cells performance.

3. Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Fat deposits in arteries and blood vessels precisely one supplying blood to the penis could be one of the reason of erectile dysfunction. Bitter kola has abundance of natural compounds, antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties with great potent to scrap out toxins, inflammation, bacteria, and viral infections on the arteries and blood vessels. People take bitter kola to boost their sexual drive, and last long on bed. Hence, intake of bitter kola is recommended as it helps combat poor libido and ensure overall well-being.

4. Treat Glaucoma

Research has shown that frequent use of eye drop made from an extract of bitter kola assist at treating glaucoma ( Farombi et., al 2005). However, bitter kola protect the optic nerves and moderate intraocular pressure as well as inhibition of oxidative damage owing to the natural compounds in bitter kola.

5. Treat Cough

Bitter kola serve as a natural remedy in the treatment of cough. Thanks to it properties, it helps clear up mucus and build ups on the airways. Apart from acting as an expectorant, it also decrease bacteria and viral growth on the respiratory system.

6. Weight Loss

In weight reduction, low calories intake, increase in physical activities are required. Bitter kola is a natural hunger suppressants – making you feel full as well as reducing return of hunger. By reducing return of hunger, enable your body use triglycerides in the body to generate energy.

7. Combat Arthritis

Daily consumption of Garcinia can help prevent and cure joint pain, stiffness and swelling owing to the analgesic and Anti-inflammatory properties in bitter kola. Analgesic function as pain killer drugs, conventional medicine for pains. Hence, Garcinia relaxes cells, the nerves and reduce inflammation which cause arthritis or osteoarthritis.

8. Maintain Digestive System

It plays a very crucial role in digestive system as it stimulate secretion of enzymes, and improve intestinal health. Bitter kola stimulate secretion of hormones and enzymes needed for proper digestion and utilization of nutrients. They maintain and destroy harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal track. Bitter kola enhance bowel movement,treat digestive disorder such as stomach pain, diarrhoea. People who are suffering from diarrhoea are given bitter kola.

9. Help Treat Malaria

Bitter kola can also helps treat malaria due to the presence of kolaviron, antioxidant. Some studies conducted shows that bitter kola can treat malaria. Its antiparasitic properties inhibit growth of parasite thus reducing all symptoms linked to malaria.

10. Repellent for Snake

Importance of bitter kola is not limited only to health benefit but also helps displace snake. Just drop bitter kola around your home guard, house where snakes are commonly found, it help display them.

11. Prevent Cancer

It can be helpful in prevention of cancerous cells growth, since it has antioxidant. Findings have shown that bitter kola may inhibit growth of cancer such as breast cancer, colon and prostate cancer.

12. Antimicrobial & Anti-inflammatory properties

Bitter Kola also play an important role in prevention of pathogenic growth since it has antimicrobial and Anti-inflammatory properties.



Bitter Kola(Akuilu,Orogbo) is packed with numerous nutrients and phytochemicals which are linked to it effectiveness in combating different diseases  such as arthritis,  cough, cancer and many others.  It is a stimulate, must be taken moderately, especially with those suffering metabolic disorders.

Dietther: Ojeoru Goodluck is a passionate health writer who has written numerous articles on health. He obtained bachelor of science in nutrition and dietetics.