THE bitter kola tree is botanically known as Garcinia Kola and it belongs to the family of plants called Guittiferae.All the parts of the tree (fruits, seeds, stem, bark and root) have various healing values, but the seed, which is the main 'kola;, is our concern in this article. In local parlance, bitter kola which is known as 'Migin goro' in Hausa, 'Akilu' in Igbo and 'Orogbo' in Yoruba language is most commonly used for its masticatory value among all the tribes.Chemical constituents: Bitter kola contains among other constituents, chemical compounds such as bioflavonoids, flavones, saponins, xanthones and 'bitter principles' which gives it the slightly bitter taste. Unlike the kolanut, bitter kola contains no caffeine. In herbal therapeutics, most of the bitter-tasting herbs are believed to have as part of their constituents, a group of substances, which are collectively known as 'bitter principles' and most of the bitter-tasting herbs have the following in common: the ability to stimulate the entire digestive system; increases the flow of bile and helps in stimulating the function of the liver and its self-regenerating abilities.Therapeutic activities: Bitter Kola possesses therapeutic activities such as: antimicrobial (antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic), anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antihepatotoxic, anti-cancer and purgative properties.Methods of preparationBitter kola can be chewed alone or used in combination with other natural remedies. The dried seeds can be powdered and be mixed with other herbal preparations.Historical Uses:The early practitioners of herbal medicine regarded bitter kola as a potent anti-poison agent or a poison-antidote: The kola is masticated before and after drinking or eating foods in cases where poisoning is suspected. The hunters carried bitter kolas in their pockets or scatter them in their dwelling place to help repel dangerous reptiles and snakes. This is because they knew that the seed emits powerful repelling biophysical radiation. They also believe that it helps to repel evil men and evil spirits too. Most of the elderly believed that taking one to three bitter kolas a day regularly, especially during its annual season, could promote good health and longevity by keeping the blood and the liver free of toxins. In ancient times, the liver was known as the 'Balance wheel of life', a marvelous living laboratory ' that will filter out, detoxify or destroy any cell irritating or any potentially toxic substance that have gained access into the blood stream. In this way, it helps in protecting every single cell, tissue or organ, from undergoing degenerative changes that can cause all kinds of diseases including all forms of benign growths (such as fibroid) or malignant (cancerous) growths in the human body. Bitter kola tree (with the seeds) is one of the plants which the Lord Almighty, in His Wisdom and Goodness, bestowed on us Africans for the maintenance of a healthy liver and a 'clean blood'. As we have noted before, one cannot be healthy without a 'clean blood' and a healthy liver working at its full capacity.Medicinal Uses:Due to its potent antimicrobial (antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic) and anti-inflammatory properties, bitter kola is used as a supportive remedy in the treatments of bacterial infection, all kinds of fever, cold and sneezing, cough, tuberculosis, bronchial and other respiratory problems. Chewing bitter kola together with any 'mint' product as soon as the symptoms of coughs, chest colds, throat or are noticed will help to allay the problems before it takes a firm root. Syrup prepared with a mixture of bitter kola and garlic powder with a little ginger root and pure honey, have been found to be very effective in relieving the symptoms and the treatment of cold, catarrh, cough, asthma, sore throat, measles and mumps, inflammatory reactions, or any irritation along the entire respiratory tract. The syrup is also useful in treating and preventing the high incidence of opportunistic infections associated with a compromised immunity such as HIV and AIDS. A mixture of bitter kola, spring onion, African mahogany and sausage tree powder is used as an infusion (tea) twice daily to help reduce high blood sugar in diabetic patients. Regular intake of bitter kola masticating 1-2 seeds once and twice daily prevents nausea and vomiting, clears hoarseness (coarse voice), prevents halitosis (bad breath), reduces eye pressure, promotes restful sleep when taken at bed time, may prevent liver disorders and the establishment of malignant growth centres.Chewing one seed of bitter kola after taking a glass (250ml) of fluted pumpkin leaves juice and milk mixture (in a 1:1 ratio) once a day will pep-up men with transient erectile dysfunction especially when it is associated with stress. An alcohol extract (tincture) made from the mixture of bitter kola seeds and bark, cloves, nutmeg, fresh garlic and maize cob is used as a helpful treatment for premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.Contraindication:Regular intake of bitter kola has not been shown to have any side effect on human health. However, some drugs or some medications may act as poison in the human body. Masticating bitter kola may render such drugs ineffective.QUESTON:Investigations have it that the rate of erectile dysfunction in young men is on the increase these days. What are the causes of this disease and is it curable with natural remedies'Joseph Chukwu, Yaba, Lagos.ANWSER:Dear Chukwu,Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintained a penile erection - adequate enough to perform normal sexual relationship.It is true that the incidence of this dysfunction in men has been on the increase these days. The reasons for these are attributable to a variety of factors including:(i) Chronic stress, physical and mental over-exertion, lack of sleep and deep inner tension.(ii) Excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, habitual intake of narcotics, marijuana, and caffeine containing beverages.(iii) Intake of certain medications for diseases such as hypertension, peptic ulcer, depression, etc.(iv) Increased exposure to some domestic industrial and environmental toxins.(v) Intake of foods that are contaminated with artificial estrogens or xenoestrogens, pesticides, colorant, additives etc.(vi) Poor dietary habits ' excessive intake of junk foods, animal fats, fried, over cooked, refined and processed foods.(vii) Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by medical problems such as hypertension, diabetes, clogged arteries, kidney failure, high level of prolactin, prostatitis, etc.There are many proven helpful natural remedies that have been used to correct many cases of transient erectile dysfunction especially when it is associated with stress.Mobile phone no: 08033065263,E-mail: email@example.com. 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