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BRIEF HISTORY, USES AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF BITTER KOLA

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Bitter Kola Nut

Garcinia kola, known as bitter kola, is a multipurpose tree indigenous to West and Central Africa. Garcinia Kola plant is called “wonder plant” because all of its parts can be used as medicine.

Bitter Kola plant is a medium-sized tree with an average height of 25-30 meters and 1.5 meters wide as found by Iwu, 1993.

The tree produces characteristics orange like pod, with edible portion in the pod.

It is believed to contain a high source of vitamins and minerals like Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron, with other antioxidants.

Garcinia kola is a species of flowering plant in the clusiaceae or Guttiferae family. It is found in tropical moist lowland forest of Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Ghana, Gabon, Senegal, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

THE SEED AND HEALTH BENEFITS

The seeds are chewed by both rural and urban populations to suppress headaches, laryngitis, bronchitis, malaria, and gonorrhea according to Adebgoye et al., 2008 and sometimes for their typical astringent taste.

(Please consult your family physician before initiating bitter Kola treatment regimen).

The seed extract is used as a cure for various types of inflammation or liver cirrhosis, while dried ground kernels can be mixed with honey to prepare a traditional paste against cough (Adebisi, 2004).

The seeds can successfully substitute hops in brewing industry. The Bark of Garcinia kola is traditionally used in similar way to the seeds, mainly to cure abdominal pains and malaria , Ijomone et al., 2012.

Aside from its medicinal value, the bark serves in palm wine production. It is believed that the bark enhances flavor as well as alcohol content of the traditional beverage.

 In Ghana and other Africa countries, the branches and roots of Garcinia kola are sold in bundles as an essential source of chewing sticks used for dental hygiene (Blay, 2004).  

Leaves of bitter kola are occasionally prepared as an infusion to cure fever.

CHEMICAL CONTENT AND HEALTH BENEFITS

According to Stevens 2018, the kernel contains a wide range of useful phytochemicals, such as tannins and flavonoids.  

Among these compounds, the biflavonoid kolaviron complex holds neuro-protective, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and many other assets favorable to human health (Usunomena, 2012).

The most abundant phytochemicals in Garcinia kola seeds are flavonoids, Saponins, Tannins, Phenols, Glycosides, and Alkaloids,.

Even though anti-nutrients such as oxalate and phytate were found in Garcinia Kola, the seeds are safe for consumption and there are no reports on harmful overdosing so far.

The compounds, Flavonoids are low molecular weight compounds known as natural antioxidants, having an ability to scavenge free radicals and transform them into harmless molecules as well as to impact various aspects of immune cell activation for the human body.

The compounds play a useful role in protecting the central nervous system against oxidative, excitotoxic stresses and work as anti-tumor agents

According to Nwaehujor et al., 2015, kolaviron possess anti-malarial and wound healing properties.

Therapeutic potential of kolaviron was shown in treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (Kalu, 2016).

Kolaviron possesses antinociceptive (sedative) and anti-inflammatory activities, both centrally and peripherally, which justifies its folkloric use to relieve pain and inflammation according to Ibironke and Fasanmade 2015.

the seed extract were also able to stop growth of Ebola virus in laboratory trials (Iwu, 1993).

The antimicrobial properties of Garcinia kola are attributed to benzophenones and flavanones.

Bitter kola isn’t just useful for treating cough, malaria, inflammation, abdominal pains and others; it can also be effective for individuals suffering from type two (2) diabetes as a means of keeping their blood glucose levels stable.

Studies found that the seeds are capable of reducing elevated blood glucose levels, making it model for both treatment of type 2 diabetes as well as any complications that can arise from the condition. Do you need supply of Bitter Kola?

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GARLIC: IT’S HISTORY, USES AND HEALTH BENEFITS (PART TWO)

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Type of Garlic

The name garlic was derived from the Old English word garleac. Literally, interpreted, the latter means “spear leek,” making reference to the lanceolate shape of the plant’s cloves. However, there are two main types of garlic: hardneck and softneck.

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The hardneck varieties produce a flowering stalk which is surrounded by underground cloves and are considered to be more flavorful and easier to peel than softneck, making them the best choice of most chefs. However, the hardneck garlic does not store well.

The Softneck varieties also called silverskin, generally do not flower and form seed, but often produce bulblets on their stem.

They are considered to be more productive and easier to grow than hardneck varieties. Under proper conditions softneck varieties can be stored from six to eight months. Most of the garlic found at supermarkets is of the softneck type.

The Soil, Weather and ph level for Garlic

Garlic grows best in a sunny location in soil that is well-drained yet moisture-retentive and relatively high in organic matter. Well-rotted manure or compost is an ideal soil amendment to improve the latter in garden soils.

Garlic prefers a soil pH of between 6 and 7. Liming is recommended if the pH falls below 5.8.

Garlic: Minerals and Vitamins

A single clove of garlic can gives 4 calories, but the minerals are Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc, Sulfur, Selenium and Germanium with Vitamin B1 – Thiamine, Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin, Vitamin B3 – Niacin, Vitamin B5 – Pathothenic acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9 – Folate, Vitamin C, Protein Fiber, and only 1 gram of sugar for 100g of garlic.

Garlic as Herbal Supplement

These days garlic is used as an herbal supplement to help prevent heart disease, lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and to boost the immune system.

Some evidence exists that eating garlic regularly may also help protect against certain types of cancer, Please consult your family physician before initiating a garlic treatment regimen.

Garlic and Bacteria

In 1858, Louis Pasteur wrote that garlic killed bacteria. As he maintained, it was effective even against some bacteria resistant to other factors. He also noted that garlic killed Helicobacter pylori.

The antiseptic properties of garlic were confirmed in the keeping down of cholera (in 1913), typhoid fever and diphtheria (in 1918) in Beirut (Tucakov 1948).

Albert Schweitzer, the famous physician and humanitarian, used garlic in Africa to treat amoebic dysentery.

Garlic later attained a status as a folk remedy, and was no longer taken seriously by scientists, medical practitioners or researchers until two decades ago, when garlic research blossomed in laboratories worldwide.

One of such researches, concluded that garlic may have direct benefits against the “seven major diseases of our time” hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipemia (high cholesterol), heavy metal intoxication, infectious diseases, free-radical damage, cancer and immune deficiency diseases.

 French phytotherapist Lekrek used garlic as a preventive remedy with success during the great pandemic of influenza, the so-called ‘Spanish fever’, in 1918.

During the epidemic of influenza in America during 1917 and 1918, people wore a necklace of garlic when going out in public.

Garlic and Vampires

Garlic was also believed by some culture to have the power to ward off vampires (Mindell, 1994). Transylvanian peasants draped garlands of it over their doorways to banish these fanged devils and evil spirits, and garlic cloves were hung around the necks of young girls throughout Europe to protect them from the vampire’s deadly kiss.

According to legend, the three things vampires feared the most were sunshine, the cross or crucifix and garlic. (It must work. Have you seen any vampires lately?), Even if you don’t believe in vampires, garlic would protect you from a lot of pathogens.

It contain vitamins, a lot of trace metals, fiber, selenium and many others. It has been used as an alternative medicine for many years. There are a lot of advantages in using garlic, on a daily basis.

Consumption of Garlic

In eating of garlic, you should not consume just one clove and expect garlic to wave its magic wand and cleanse your body. It has to be taken in moderate amount, continuously to get the medicinal advantages of the bulb.

For a few medical conditions (Please consult your family physician before initiating a garlic treatment regimen) garlic would provide an instant relief and for a few, it would take more time that the medicine prescribed by the doctors. Thus, garlic is an alternative medicine, which has to be used along with the doctor’s medicine for major medical conditions. Do you need supply of Garlic?

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GARLIC: IT’S HISTORY, USES AND HEALTH BENEFITS (PART ONE)

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Garlic and Family

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a member of the onion family (Amaryllidaceae), classified in the same genus to which onion, chive, leek, and shallot belongs. Scholars agree that garlic has been used as a medicinal plant and food source for over 7000 years.

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The Origin of Garlic

 Biblical history references that garlic formed part of the daily diet of many Egyptians. It was fed particularly to the working class involved in heavy labor, as in the building of the pyramids (Moyers 1996).

Garlic was given to the laboring classes, presumably to maintain and increase their strength, as well as protect them from disease.

The latter makes garlic one of the most ancient of vegetables. According to Jethro Kloss’ book Back to Eden, “for nearly as long as there has been a written record of history, garlic has been mentioned as a food.”

Garlic nutritional value along with its extensive array of medicinal benefits made garlic one of the most valued plants in ancient times and probably the first to be cultivated.

Ancient Greece and Garlic

In ancient Greece, the Greeks also valued garlic, even though, those who had eaten garlic were forbidden entry into the temples. During the archeological excavations in the Knossos Palace on the Greek island of Crete, garlic bulbs were discovered dating from 1850–1400 BC (Vanjkevic et al 2002).

Early Greek army leaders fed their army with garlic before major battles. It is an interesting fact that while nowadays some athletes take a wide spectrum of dangerous tranquilizers, Greek Olympic athletes eat garlic to ensure a good score (Gorunovic; 2001).

According to Theophrastus (370–285 BC), the Greeks offered gifts to their Gods consisting of garlic bulbs, which they used to lay on the main crossroads.

Please consult your family physician before initiating a garlic treatment regimen.

Orpheus referred to garlic as a remedy. In his works, Hippocrates (459–370 BC), the Father of Medicine (Tucakov 1948), mentioned garlic as a remedy against intestine remedy for colic relief (Vanjkevic et al; 2002), an anthelmintic, for regulating the menstruation cycle and against seasickness.

Pelagic V, 1970 also recommended garlic as a remedy against snakebite, for which purpose they drank a mixture of garlic and wine and against mad dog’s bite (for that purpose they applied garlic on the wound directly). Hence, the Greeks called garlic a snake grass, (Tucakov et al., 1971).

Garlic May Help Cure Diarrhea Intestinal Worms

In ancient China and Japan, garlic was prescribed to help digestion, cure diarrhea and rid the body of intestinal worms. It also was used to alleviate depression. In India, a medical text titled Charaka-Samhita, recommended garlic to treat heart disease and arthritis.

Garlic as Spice and Food

In Roman Empire, garlic and onion remained to be a remedy, spice and food for survival of the poor, while the wealthy people were increasingly using and finding pleasure in valuable medicinal plants with intense physiological effects, mostly delicate aromatic spices and aromas from all of the invaded territories in Africa and Asia.

Vergilius mentioned the usage of a squashed juice from garlic and wild thyme, and according to him, mowers should lubricate their body with this juice if they wanted to rest peacefully for they would not be bitten by a snake. 

In the 1st AD century, Columel said that garlic was used as an aphrodisiac, and Celsius in the second century was using garlic to cure tuberculosis and fever (Tucakov 1948).

Galen (121–200 AD), the renowned medical writer and physician among Romans, and later among other nations, referred to as the father of galenic pharmacy, spoke of garlic as the most popular folk remedy that cured many diseases and named it a ‘rustic’s theriac’. Galen used garlic for regulation of the digestion and against colic (Tucakov et al., 1971).

Garlic Chemical Content

Garlic’s medicinal properties are thought to be due to sulfur-containing compounds called thiosulfinates.

One of them, allicin, is produced when a sulfur-containing amino acid called allicin comes in contact with the enzyme alliinase when raw garlic is minced, crushed, or chewed.

Since the enzyme alliinase is broken down by heat, cooked garlic is less effective medicinally than is fresh garlic. Do you need supply of Garlic?

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DATES AND HUMAN HEALTH

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The exact origin of date palm is considered to be lost in Antiquity. However, the date palm tree is native to North Africa and the Middle East.

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Date fruit comes from the genus Phoenix, which is mostly produced to be eaten. It has a great source of energy and Vitamin C, when dried, dates become very concentrated, but during drying process, the Vitamin C is lost.

Dates as Natural Sweetener

Dates are rich in fructose, which is a natural type of sugar in fruit. Because of this, dates are very sweet and also have a subtle caramel-like taste.

They are a great healthy substitute for white sugar in recipes due to the fiber content and antioxidants that they provide.

In substituting dates for white sugar, the date is turn into a paste by mixing it with water in a blender and then using it as 1:1 ratio to replace white sugar.

However, note that even though dates are high in fiber and nutrients, they are still fairly high in calories and they should be consumed in moderation.

Dates and Pregnancy

Research shows that dates contain tannins, which are compounds that have been shown to help facilitate contractions.

Dates fruit are good source of natural sugar and calories, which is necessary to maintain energy levels during labor.

Research also shows that eating dates throughout the last few weeks of pregnancy may promote cervical dilation and lower the need for induced labor. The fruit may also be helpful for reducing labor time (Trusted Source).

Dates and Disease-Fighting Antioxidants

Dates provide different antioxidants that have a number of health benefits to human, including a reduced risk of several diseases.

Antioxidants help protect our cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that may cause harmful reactions in our body.

The three most potent antioxidants in dates are flavonoids, carotennoids and phenolic acids.

Flavonoids may help reduce inflammation and may reduce the risk of diabetes.

Carotenoids may promote heart health and may reduce the risk of eye-related disorders like macular degeneration.

Phenolic acid is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which may help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Other Health Benefits Of Date


Date is rich in potassium, and contains little sodium which goes a long way in keeping the nervous system in order.

The potassium may helps to reduce cholesterol, and keeps the risk of a stroke in check. 
Date may be recommended as fruit for those who suffer from iron deficiency because it contains iron.  Severe iron-deficiency anemia may cause fatigue or tiredness.

Adding dates into your diet might help in improving the skin’s elasticity and smooth because of it Vitamin C and D content. 

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF KOLA NUT

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 Kola nut has many health benefits, whether taken in supplement form or chewed.  Although it can have certain side effects if taken without measure.

Kola nut comes from the evergreen kola tree found in the rainforests of Africa.

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It is an important cultural symbol in Nigeria and for many ethnic groups in Africa, which is given to guests at funerals, weddings; it is used in medicine and serves as a flavoring ingredient in beverages also known as cola.

The nut has some reported benefits for health. The Health benefits and other information about this tropical nut are:

Aid to digestion

Kola nut powder and extract can help digestion. The nut is thought to promote the production of gastric acid, which increases digestive enzyme effectiveness in the stomach.

Increase energy levels:

The nut naturally stimulates the central nervous system, which may enhance alertness and energy boost.

Migraines

Kola nut may be helpful for people who suffer migraine headaches. Migraines pains may be link to the blood vessels in the head.

The caffeine in the Nut has been used for headaches pain reliever.

Antibacterial Help

According to journal of Biosciences and Medicines, reported that the use of kola nut extract might stop the growth of harmful bacteria.

Increase Blood circulation and Metabolism

Kola Nut contains caffeine and theobromine in it which may speed up the heart rate and increases blood circulation and then boost metabolism.

Asthma

It maybe useful for people with certain breathing problems like asthma.

The caffeine in it may act as a bronchodilator which opens the airways to make breathing easier

Research also shows that certain compounds in kola nut can decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

Although, despite the many health benefits of Kola nuts, too much caffeine can produce unwanted side effects, such as:

  • Restlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • shakiness
  • rapid or abnormal heart rate
  • anxiety

Too much caffeine may result to health problems and is particularly dangerous when combined with alcohol.

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