Kola nut is the seed from a plant that comes from the genus Cola. Kola nut was an original ingredient in coca-cola, with about 2 to 4 percent of the seed being caffeine. Kola nuts were used in the 1800s for the now famous soft drink; coca-cola. Extract from the seed was mixed with sugar to make what was drunk as soda back then. But now, it’s no longer being used.
Kola nuts might seem foreign to you, so it is okay to be curious and wonder what it tastes like, or what you can use it for. Asides from being an ingredient in beverages, there are a lot of things you can do with Kolanut. It can be a great way of getting caffeine stimulation when avoiding soft drinks.
What do Kola Nuts taste like? Kola nuts have a bitter taste that seems to taste better the longer you chew. If you are trying it for the first time, you might have an intense aversion to it right away. The flavor of Kola nuts can be compared to that of potatoes although the texture is very firm and chewy. You would also need to apply some pressure to bite through kola nuts.
Kola nuts have a sweet aroma that can be likened to the aroma of rose petals. They also have a thin layer of skin that surrounds the seed. The taste of this skin layer also varies, depending on which variety of kola nut you are having.
Nutritional Benefits of Kola Nuts
Kola nuts might have a bitter taste, but they are full of compounds that have plenty of medicinal properties. Much of the health benefits of kola nuts have not been medically proven. But claims about the medicinal properties of kola nuts go back hundreds of years. For example, locals indigenous to where kola nuts are grown believe that it has properties that help to sweeten stale water, ease hunger pangs, and treat fatigue.
Kolanut is believed to be able to treat a lot of things. It is believed that kola nuts can take care of morning sickness in pregnant women and cater to depression in individuals. Kola nuts may be also capable of fixing various eye-related diseases or at best, keeping them at bay and keeping them from doing too much damage to the eye. Dysentery, intestinal diseases, ulcers, and constipation are also part of the health problems kola nuts can allegedly fix.
Kola nuts could also help to boost the immune system and keep everyday illnesses away. Coughs, asthma, toothaches, and skin diseases also fall under the category of ailments that kola nuts can relieve.
Kola nut is well known for its stimulating caffeine effect. The pink-colored kola nut is known to have the most caffeine effect. The side effects have not been related to adverse side effects but it would be safe to not consume too much kola nuts on a regular basis.
Culinary Uses of Kola Nuts
Kola nuts are mostly enjoyed raw. It is enjoyed in this manner in many West African cultures. At important events like wedding feasts, communal meetings, the naming ceremony of a child, and the likes, kola nuts are usually chewed raw. It is believed that eating kola nuts can restore vitality so, every home you step into, will have some in-store to offer you.
Kola nuts can be dried and grounded into a powder. The powder is in turn used as an extract for beverages. It can also be used in the kitchen together with other spices like fennel, paprika, and cumin to create a meat rub.
Kola nuts could bring uniqueness and diversity to the taste of your food. Kola nuts are still being actively used in beverages that want to create the stimulating effects of caffeine with natural products.
What is the History of Kola Nuts? Where is it Grown? How to Procure Them?
Kola nuts are indigenous to West Africa. The kola tree from which the nut is obtained grows in the tropical rainforests of Africa. Kola nuts are used by the Igbo tribe in Nigeria for their sacred offerings and when they offer prayer to their gods.
In Nigeria, other main tribes like the Yoruba and Hausa also use Kola nuts for special gatherings and traditional practices. In other countries like Niger and Liberia, kola nuts have found importance in their cultures and way of life.
In this present day and time, kola nuts are still actively used for traditional ceremonies like the negotiation of bride price between the groom and bride’s family. It is also used during the naming ceremony of newborns, as a toast to long life and a celebration of youthful vitality.
Getting fresh kola nuts in the United States might be a little bit hard. Finding kola nut extract is much easier than getting the actual seed. You can visit specialty grocery stores or purchase from an online purveyor.
Does Bitter Kola Help Sexually?
No, it doesn’t. Kola nuts cannot help solve the problem of low sex drive as advertised. The claims of it having pro-sexual effects have been scientifically proven to be untrue. In Nigeria, kola nuts are usually eaten by aged males in a bid to enhance sexual invigoration. But a study carried out to verify that fact has rendered the claim to be untrue.
Facts You Don’t Know About Kola Nuts
- The caffeine present in kola nuts can help it act as a diuretic. It can expel extra salt and water from the body in the form of increased urination.
- Eating too much kola nuts can result in increased blood pressure, and could interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium from foods.