Garcinia Kola (Bitter Kola): Is it truly the Wonder Seed?

  • OA Labo-Popoola
  • OA Adaramoye
Keywords: Garcinia kola, Therapeutic Agent, Health, Medicinal Plant


In search for new therapeutic agents, against several diseases such as inflammation, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc, scientists have embraced the importance and great values of medicinal plants. Garcinia kola seed is eaten raw with the belief that it promotes longevity. In folkloric medicine, extracts of this seeds are used for the treatment of laryngitis, cough, and liver diseases (Iwu, 1990).

Kolaviron (KV) (a biflavonoid fraction) has been isolated as one of the active components of Garcinia kola (Iwu, 1986). Basic medical research has shown KV to act as anti-inflammatory agent by inhibiting the production of nitric oxide, prostaglandin E2 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (Aggarwal, 2004). In several models of hepatotoxicity, KV has been shown to elicit anti-tumor property via elevation of phase-II drug metabolizing enzymes, prevention of DNA oxidation, inhibition of lipid peroxidation process and pro-apoptotic effect by increasing bax/bcl2 ratio. The anti-hypercholesterolmic effect of KV in animals fed on high cholesterol diets has been established.

In addition, the antidiabetic activity of KV in rats rendered type-II diabetic has been confirmed. KV is known to inhibit α-amylase and glucose-6-phosphatase activities, thereby reducing fasting plasma glucose levels in diabetic rats. KV is a known chemo preventive agent against testicular damage caused by several toxicants. Experiments on the longevity effect of KV and involvement of regulator genes is on-going. This review summarises the diverse biological activities of Garcinia kola and possible role as an emerging therapeutic agent.

Keywords: Garcinia kola, Therapeutic Agent, Health, Medicinal Plant


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2315-6317