A pharmacist, Peter Obi, has urged people to consume bitter kola because of its anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal characteristics, which have multiple benefits for human development and good living.
Respondents in Awka, Anambra State, agreed that bitter kola should be used for its therapeutic and economic benefits.
In Igbo territory, “Bitter Kola,” also known as “Akiilu,” is prized for its therapeutic powers, he claimed.
He explained :
“We use the kola during major social engagements like bride price, blessing, kid naming, conflict resolution, and wedding ceremonies.”
According to Obi, bitter kola is a fruit with a number of components that make it a distinct flavor, and its caffeine and theobromine content account for some of its benefits, including an increase in energy levels.
He went on to say that it aids digestion, boosts metabolism, improves circulation, and has antibacterial characteristics that protect against infections.
According to Obi, it is also employed as an economic tree that produces a lot of money, and its therapeutic properties cannot be overlooked.
Mrs Chinelo Ezejiegu, a lecturer in the school of pharmacy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, claimed bitter kola had a business value and recommended the people to trade in it for financial gains.
However, Ezejiegu cautioned that if it is not carefully conserved, its monetary value may be reduced due to breakages, perhaps resulting in a significant loss.
She went on to say that bitter kola was utilized as an anti-diabetic medication because the seed is thought to have the ability to lower blood glucose and, as a result, might be used to treat diabetes melitus.
“Saponin extract from garcinia roots has been found in studies to have anti-diabetic action as well as potent cardio protective effects,” she said.
Bitter kola also has anti-microbial qualities, which affect many regulatory systems in the body, including the immune system, as well as antibacterial and anti-fungal capabilities, according to Ezejiegu.
She said it had several medical benefits, mentioning it as a cold treatment due to its capacity to widen the alveolar sac and duct.
“This fruit is known as a wonder plant because it has therapeutic properties in almost every part of the plant, including the bark, leaves, seed, and root.
“The plant is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and numerous phytonutrients, and it is used as a spice and condiment in both fresh and dried form,” she said.
Bitter kola is widely available in the Eastern region of the country, according to traders interviewed in Nkwo Enugwu-Ukwu, Afor Nawfia Markets in Njikoka Local Government Area.
Mrs Uju Ekwo, a Bitter Kola seller, named Nnobi, Nnewi, Osumenyi, and Umunze as communities in Anambra that harvested considerable amounts of the plant.
Mrs. Martha Ube, another merchant who had been in the business for 28 years, spoke of its multiple therapeutic virtues, as well as its use as a repellant for harmful reptiles such as snakes and insects.
Mr Chiadi Okeke, a community elder, explained that because bitter kola comes in various quantities, it is normally sold by the kilogram, which can cost up to N15,000 for eight kilogrammes.
According to Okeke, the normal size of the fruit was sold for N10,000, a complete bag of giant seed for N115,000, and a small seed for N90,000.
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