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Herbal Monograph 

Herb:   KOLA NUT    (Cola Vera et. Acuminata)

Other Names:    kola tree, guru nut, cola nut, cola seeds, bissy nut (2); guru nut, cola (57)


Meridians/Organs/Body Parts affected:      

Part(s) used: seed kernel   (9)                                                                                                      

Identification & Harvesting:    An evergreen tree 15-20 m. tall.  Trunk is branched from the base.  Old bark breaks off in pieces.  Bark is dark green and rough.  Leaves grow only at ends of branches;  6″-7″ long and 4″ wide, elliptoid to ovate, ending in a curled and spiralled tip, tough and leathery;  both sides are dark green and glossy.  Cultivated widely in tropical regions.    (2)

The Kola tree grows in tropical Africa and is cultivated in South America. The seeds are collected when ripe and are initially white, turning the characteristic red upon drying.   (9)

The fleshy, dried cotyledons are the form in which the seed is met with commerce.  They are brown, often irregular in shape, usually oblong, convex on one side and flattened on the other, 1-1/2 to 2 inches long, about an inch in diameter.  Tastes astringent, and somewhat earthy.  Slight odor.  Native of tropical Africa and cultivated in the West Indies.    (57)

Active Constituents:    Purine alkaloids:  chiefly alkaloid caffeine .6-3.7%, and theobromine and theophylline;  (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin;  catechin tannins;  oligomeric proanthocyanidins;  starch.   (2)

Alkaloids which include more than 1.25 per cent caffein and theobromine; tannin; volatile oil.    (9)

Actions:    Strong central nervous system stimulant;  respiratory analeptic, gastric acid stimulant, lipolytic;  increases motility;  mild positive chronotropic;  mild diuretic (2); stimulant to central nervous system, anti-depressive, astringent, diuretic (9);       

Nerve stimulant, diuretic, cardiac tonic.  A good general tonic, depending largely for its influence upon the caffeine in contains.    (57)

Conditions & Uses:    Banishes mental and phsyical fatigue, suppresses hunger;  folk uses include morning sickness and migraine, and is ground in poultices for external application to wounds and inflammations.    (2)

Kola has a marked stimulating effect on human consciousness. It can be used whereever there is need for direct stimulation, which is less often than is usually thought. Through regaining proper health and therefore right functioning, the nervous system does not need such help. In the short term it may be used for nervous debility, in states of atony and weakness. It can act as a specific in nervous diarrhoea. It will aid in states of depression and may in some people give rise to euphoric states. In some varieties of migraine it can help greatly. 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.   (9)         

An excellent remedy for diarrhea, and also prescribed for the alcohol habit.  Used by African natives to enable them to perform arduous tasks without the aid of food.    (57)

Combinations: Kola will go well with Oats, Damiana and Scullcap.  (9)

Precautions:    No recorded health risks.  Side effects can include insomnia, hyperexcitability, restlessness, stomach complaints.  Avoid intake in presence of stomach or duodenal ulcers.    (2)

Tincturing Process:

Applications:    Decoction:  put 1 to 2 teaspoonful of the powdered nuts in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk when needed.

Tincture: take 1 to 4 ml of the tincture three times daily.    (9)    


Dosage:  See above.

2-6 g. of cola nut; 10-30 drops tincture.    (2)

Powder dose, 15-45 grains.    (57)

General Notes:         



(2)  PDR for Herbal Medicines (Medical Economics Co., 1998), p. 766

(9) The Herbal Handbook by David Hoffman,  pg. 79

(57) Potter’s Cyclopaedia by R.C. Wren, F.L.S., p. 198


PHOTO: Wikipedia