Garcinia kola

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Garcinia kola
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Clusiaceae
Genus: Garcinia
Species: G. kola
Binomial name
Garcinia kola
Garcinia kola - MHNT

Garcinia kola (bitter kola, a name sometimes also used for G. afzelii) is a species of flowering plant in the Clusiaceae or Guttiferae family. It is found in Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Garcinia kola or bitter kola is a tree that grows in the rain forests of west Africa. The fruit, seeds, nuts and bark of the plant have been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat ailments from coughs to fever. According to a report from the Center For International Forestry Research, garcinia kola trade is still important to the tribes and villages in Nigeria. As with any herb, never consume garcinia kola without first discussing its use and benefits with your physician, especially if you are currently being treated for other medical conditions or are on any medications.

Traditional medicine[edit]

Garcinia kola is traditionally used by African medicinemen who believe that it has purgative, antiparasitic, and antimicrobial properties.[2] The seeds are used for bronchitis, throat infections, colic, head or chest colds, and cough.[2] It is also used for liver disorders and as a chewing stick.[2]

Scientific research[edit]

Preliminary study of the plant in the 1990s showed signs that it may benefit ebola victims by slowing down multiplication of the virus.[3]

In animal studies, Garcinia kola increased the activities of the enzymes lactate dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase.[4]

Garcinia kola has been used for centuries to treat chest colds in traditional medicine, but research has taken a look and found out why it is effective. A study in the 2008 issue of The Internet Journal of Pulmonary Medicine, performed on mice, reports that garcinia kola improved respiratory function after 28 days of use of a garcinia extract. Written by David A. Ofusori, MSc, from Igbinedion University in Nigeria, the study shows that garcinia kola works by dilating the alveolar ducts and sacs in the lungs by improving the strength of the fibers in the lung tissue. Garcinia kola's beneficial lung properties are attributed to its high antioxidant content.


  1. ^ Cheek. M. 2004. Garcinia kola. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 20 July 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Maurice Iwu, Angela R. Duncan, and Chris O. Okunji, New Antimicrobials of Plant Origin p. 457–462. 1999, ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA
  3. ^ "Ebola cure hope". BBC News. August 5, 1999. 
  4. ^ Olajide Olayemi Joseph and Adeniyi Philip Adeyemi (2011). "Studies on effects of aqueous Garcinia kola extract on the lateral geniculate body and rostral colliculus of adult Wistar rats". Medical Practice and Reviews 2 (2): 23–28.