« back to list of herbs


Relieves drowsiness, temporarily increase stamina, enhances the pain-relieving effects of aspirin

Colas account for more than half of the enormous U.S. soft drink market, and possibly even more abroad. Yet few consumers know that the tropical nut that flavors cola has several medicinal benefits.

West Africans have used kola since prehistoric times for its stimulant effect, and no wonder — kola contains caffeine. In one 12-ounce can of cola, you'll find about 40 milligrams. For comparison, a 6-ounce cup of brewed coffee contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine, and a cup of instant coffee contains about 60.

When slaves brought kola to the New World, its stimulant action was adopted medicinally as an antidepressant pick-me-up. Pharmacists stocked it, including John Pemberton of Atlanta, who aspired to developing a kola-based "nerve tonic." Legend has it that in 1886, Pemberton mixed some sugar with extracts of kola and coca (the source of cocaine) in a three-legged brass pot in his backyard. He added carbonated water to his sweet syrup and created a refreshing drink that his bookkeeper dubbed Coca-Cola. Today, Coca-Cola is one of the best-known brand names in the world. Its formula has always been a closely guarded secret, but regardless of whether Coke ever contained cocaine, you can be sure that today its kick comes entirely from caffeine.

Soda With a Gentle Kick

As with coffee, kola's caffeine content accounts for both its medicinal benefits and its potential problems. On the plus side, caffeine increases the pain-relieving action of aspirin. It is also a stimulant that may open (dilate) the bronchial passages and temporarily increase athletic stamina. On the minus side, large amounts of caffeine can cause insomnia, jitters, irritability and upset stomach and, some experts say, may increase risk of heart attack. It's also addictive. Once you are accustomed to caffeine, sudden elimination often causes a headache that can last for several days.

"In moderate amounts-no more than 250 milligrams a day-caffeine is reasonably safe," says Varro E. Tyler, Ph.D., professor of pharmacognosy at Purdue University School of Pharmacy in West Lafayette, Indiana, and author of The Honest Herbal. "Most healthy people can consume up to that much before they need to get too concerned."

Putting the herb to work

Cola beverages, although they tend to be loaded with sugar, are the most convenient way to consume this herb, as it is very hard to obtain it its nut form. But for a medicinal tea, add one to two teaspoons of powdered kola nut to a cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer ten minutes. Drink up to three cups a day.

Like this page? Please link to us and let the world know!

^ back to top

© 2014 OrganicFoodee.com All Rights Reserved. Website by: Get Lucas