The Therapeutic Potential of Cola nitida in Health and Disease: A Review

Kamaldeen Olalekan Sanusi, Umar Zayyanu Usman, Dawoud Usman, Kehinde Ahmad Adeshina, Yaaqub Abiodun Uthman, Lukman Jimoh, Aminat Omolola Imam-Fulani


Cola nitida, also known as Kola nut, is a tropical plant native to West Africa and has a rich history of traditional medicinal use. In this narrative review, we aim to provide an overview of the protective effects of Cola nitida in various health and disease states. Cola nitida has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties, and its bioactive compounds include caffeine, alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, and phenolics. These compounds contribute to its potential therapeutic effects. Here, we examine the potential benefits of Cola nitida in several areas of health, discussing its role in cognitive function, cardiovascular health, immune system function, gastrointestinal health, and metabolic and endocrine health. Relevant original articles available from PubMed, African Journals Online (AJOL), SCOPUS, and Google Scholar were retrieved using the keywords “cola” AND “nitida” without date restriction until July 17, 2023. Evidence suggests that Cola nitida may have positive effects on health, with indications of adverse effects only from its chronic usage. However, more research is needed to establish its efficacy and safety. Cola nitida holds promise as a natural remedy for various health conditions. Understanding the benefits and limitations of Cola nitida will contribute to its effective utilization in health and disease management.


bioactive compounds; Cola nitida; Kola nut; therapeutic effects; traditional medicine

Full Text:



Abah, J. (2016). Kola Nut and Conflict Resolution among the Igala People of Kogi State, Nigeria. Journal of Advocacy, Research and Education, 5(1), 3–11.

Abou, B., Houphouet, F., Alexis, B., Nazaire, D., Prisca, D., & Goueh, G. (2016). Effects of Aqueous and Ethanolic Extracts of Entandrophragma angolense, Cola nitida and Gomphrena celosioides against Doxorubicin-induced Cardiotoxicity in Rats. Journal of Advances in Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 10(4), 1–13.

Adedayo, L. D., Bamidele, O., & Onasanwo, S. A. (2021). Cola nitida and pain relief. Treatments, Mechanisms, and Adverse Reactions of Anesthetics and Analgesics, 375–384.

Adedayo, L. D., Ojo, A. O., Awobajo, F. O., Adeboye, B. A., Adebisi, J. A., Bankole, T. J., Ayilara, G. O., Bamidele, O., Aitokhuehi, N. G., & Onasanwo, S. A. (2019). Methanol extract of Cola nitida ameliorates inflammation and nociception in experimental animals. Neurobiology of Pain, 5.

Adega, A. P. (1970). Kola Nut as a Symbol of Welcome Among the Igede of Benue State. AFRREV IJAH: An International Journal of Arts and Humanities, 5(4), 24–35.

Adeosun, O. I., Olaniyi, K. S., Amusa, O. A., Jimoh, G. Z., & Oniyide, A. A. (2017). Methanolic extract of cola nitida elicits dose-dependent diuretic, natriuretic and kaliuretic activities without causing electrolyte impairment, hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity in rats. International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology, 9(6), 231–239.

Adesanwo, J. K., Ogundele, S. B., Akinpelu, D. A., & McDonald, A. G. (2017). Chemical Analyses, Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Extracts from Cola nitida Seed. Journal of Exploratory Research in Pharmacology, 2(3), 67–77.

Afolabi, B. T., Agu, G. C., & Onajobi, I. B. (2020). Phytochemical Screening and Antibacterial Activity of Garcinia Kola (Hackel) and Cola Nitida (Vent) Extracts. Nigerian Journal of Technology, 39(2), 379–385.

Aria, M., & Cuccurullo, C. (2017). bibliometrix: An R-tool for comprehensive science mapping analysis. Journal of Informetrics, 11(4), 959–975.

Asogwa, E. U., Anikwe, J. C., & Mokwunye, F. C. (2006). Kola production and utilization for economic development. African Scientist, 7(4), 217–222.

Atawodi, S. E. O., Pfundstein, B., Haubner, R., Spiegelhalder, B., Bartsch, H., & Owen, R. W. (2007). Content of polyphenols compounds in the Nigerian stimulants Cola nitida ssp. alba, Cola nitida ssp. rubra A. Chev, and Cola acuminata Schott & Endl and their antioxidant capacity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 55(24), 9824–9828.

Atiba, F. A., Fatokun, A. A., Imosemi, I. O., & Malomo, A. O. (2021). Kola nut from Cola nitida vent. Schott administered to pregnant rats induces histological alterations in pups’ cerebellum. PLoS ONE, 16(3 March 2021).

Awuchi, C. G. (2019). The Biochemistry, Toxicology, and Uses of the Pharmacologically Active Phytochemicals: Alkaloids, Terpenes, Polyphenols, and Glycosides. Journal of Food and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2.

de Veras, B. O., da Silva, M. V., & Cabral Ribeiro, P. P. (2021). Tannic acid is a gastroprotective that regulates inflammation and oxidative stress. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 156.

Demarque, D. P., Callejon, D. R., de Oliveira, G. G., Silva, D. B., Carollo, C. A., & Lopes, N. P. (2018). The role of tannins as antiulcer agents: a fluorescence-imaging based study. Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia, 28(4), 425–432.

Dewole, E. A., Dewumi, D. F. A., Alabi, J. Y. T., & Adegoke, A. (2013). Proximate and phytochemical of cola nitida and cola acuminata. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 16(22), 1593–1596.

Dorathy, I., Okere, S., Daniel, E., & Mubarak, L. (2014). Phytochemical Constitutents and Antidiabetic Property of Cola nitida Seeds on Alloxan-Induced Diabetes Mellitus in Rats. British Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 4(23), 2631–2641.

Easton, M. R., & Morton, W. A. (1999). An assessment of herbal weight loss products. Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 12(3), 240–250.

Ejuh, G. W., Ndjaka, J. M. B., Tchangnwa Nya, F., Ndukum, P. L., Fonkem, C., Tadjouteu Assatse, Y., & Yossa Kamsi, R. A. (2020). Determination of the structural, electronic, optoelectronic and thermodynamic properties of the methylxanthine molecules theophylline and theobromine. Optical and Quantum Electronics, 52(11).

Ekalu, A., & Habila, J. D. (2020). Phytochemistry, pharmacology and medicinal uses of Cola (Malvaceae) family: a review. Medicinal Chemistry Research, 29(12), 2089–2105.

Erukainure, O. L., Msomi, N. Z., Beseni, B. K., Salau, V. F., Ijomone, O. M., Koorbanally, N. A., & Islam, M. S. (2021). Cola nitida infusion modulates cardiometabolic activities linked to cardiomyopathy in diabetic rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 154.

Erukainure, O. L., Oyebode, O. A., Sokhela, M. K., Koorbanally, N. A., & Islam, M. S. (2017). Caffeine – rich infusion from Cola nitida (kola nut) inhibits major carbohydrate catabolic enzymes; abates redox imbalance; and modulates oxidative dysregulated metabolic pathways and metabolites in Fe2+-induced hepatic toxicity. Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, 96, 1065–1074.

Erukainure, O. L., Sanni, O., Ijomone, O. M., Ibeji, C. U., Chukwuma, C. I., & Islam, M. S. (2019). The antidiabetic properties of the hot water extract of kola nut (Cola nitida (Vent.) Schott & Endl.) in type 2 diabetic rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 242.

Erukainure, O. L., Sanni, O., Salau, V. F., Koorbanally, N. A., & Islam, M. S. (2020). Cola Nitida (Kola Nuts) Attenuates Hepatic Injury in Type 2 Diabetes by Improving Antioxidant and Cholinergic Dysfunctions and Dysregulated Lipid Metabolism. Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders - Drug Targets, 21(4), 688–699.

Heinrich, M., Mah, J., & Amirkia, V. (2021). Alkaloids used as medicines: Structural phytochemistry meets biodiversity—An update and forward look. Molecules, 26(7).

Ibu, J. O., Iyama, A., Ijije, C. T., Ishmael, D., Ibeshim, M., & Nwokediuko, S. (1986). The effect of cola acuminata and cola nitida on gastric acid secretion. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 21(S124), 39–45.

Igbinovia, E., Edebiri, O. E., Omodiagbe, O., Edwin, E. E., Blackies, H. O. ., Turay, A. ., & W.O, O. (2023). The Influence of Cola Nitida on Testosterone and Progesterone Concentrations in the Normal Weight Humans under Resting Condition in Ambrose Alli University. Clinical Medicine And Health Research Journal, 3(2), 329–335.

Igwe, S. A., Akunyili, D. N., & Ikonne, E. U. (2007). Ocular effects of acute ingestion of Cola nitida(Linn) on healthy adult volunteers. African Vision and Eye Health, 66(1).

Imam-Fulani, A. O., Bamikole, O. K., & Owoyele, B. V. (2016). Effects of Caffeine Administration on Brain Sodium-Potassium ATPase Activity in Healthy and Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Female Wistar Rats. Journal of Caffeine Research, 6(3), 117–125.

Imam-Fulani, A. O., Olajide, L., & Owoyele, B. V. (2019). Effects of acetone extract of cola nitida on memory and metabotropic glutamate receptor1a (mGlutR1a) in female wistar rats. IBRO Reports, 7, 42.

Imam-Fulani, A. O., Sanusi, K. O., & Owoyele, B. V. (2018). Effects of acetone extract of Cola nitida on brain sodium-potassium adenosine triphosphatase activity and spatial memory in healthy and streptozotocin-induced diabetic female Wistar rats. Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology, 29(4), 411–416.

Jayeola, C. O. (2001). Preliminary studies on the use of kolanuts (cola nitida) for soft drink production. Journal of Food Technology in Africa, 6(1).

Kwame, A. (2019). An ethnographic sketch of social interaction in Dagbon society: The case of greeting, sharing drinks and kola nut. Journal of Multidisciplinary Research at Trent, 2(1), 1–20.

Lawal, A., Gusau Abubakar, M., Abubakar, A. L., Eneji, S. M., Sulaiman, R., Okafor, E., & Usman, W. (2022). Effects of Sub-chronic Administration of Crude Ethanol Extract of Cola nitida on Stomach Mucosa Epithelial Lining and Liver Function Enzymes in Albino Rats. International Journal of Biochemistry Research & Review, 1–8.

Lawal, B., Shittu, O. K., Oibiokpa, F. I., Berinyuy, E. B., & Mohammed, H. (2017). African natural products with potential antioxidants and hepatoprotectives properties: a review. Clinical Phytoscience, 2(1).

Lim, T. K. (2012). Cola nitida. In T. K. Lim (Ed.), Edible Medicinal And Non Medicinal Plants (pp. 175–183). Springer Netherlands.

Mbembo, B. M., Inkoto, C. L., Amogu, J.-J. O., Ashande, C. M., Nagahuedi, J. M. S., Mpiana, P. T., & Ngbolua, K.-N. (2022). Mini-review on the phyto-chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology of Cola nitida (Vent.) Schott & Endl. (Malvaceae): A medically interesting bio-resource of multiple purposes in Africa. Natural Resources for Human Health, 2(3), 335–342.

Muhammad, S., & Fatima, A. (2014). Studies on Phytochemical Evaluation and Antibacterial Properties of Two Varieties of Kolanut (Cola nitida) in Nigeria. Journal of Biosciences and Medicines, 02(03), 37–42.

Oboh, G., Nwokocha, K. E., Akinyemi, A. J., & Ademiluyi, A. O. (2014). Inhibitory effect of polyphenolic-rich extract from Cola nitida (Kolanut) seed on key enzyme linked to type 2 diabetes and Fe2+ induced lipid peroxidation in rat pancreas in vitro. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 4, S405–S412.

Odonye, D. D., Upla, P. U., Ladi, A. L., Odonye, E. P., Adamu, A., Adikwu, P., Tsaku, M. I., Okposhi, U. I., Hadi, N. S., & Al-Mustapha, F. Y. (2021). Phytochemical screening and antibacterial activity of Cola nitida seed on selected bacterial isolates. GSC Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 14(3), 001–007.

Ogunlade, I., Awosanmi, I. A., & Osukoy, O. A. (2014). Antioxidant activity and total phenolic content of some nuts commonly consumed in South-Western Nigeria. The Journal of Phytopharmacology, 3(4), 248–253.

Ogutuga, D. B. A. (1975). Chemical compositon and potential commercial uses of kolanut. Cola nitida, Vent (Schott and Endicher). Ghana J. Agric. Sci., 8, 121–125.

Ojo, G. B., Nwoha, P. U., Ofusori, D. A., Ajayi, S. A., Odukoya, S. A., Ukwenya, V. O., Bamidele, O., Ojo, O. A., & Oluwayinka, O. P. (2010). Microanatomical effects of ethanolic extract of cola nitida on the stomach mucosa of adult wistar rats. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 7(1), 47–52.

Okoli, B. J., Abdullahi, K., Myina, O., & Iwu, G. (2012). Caffeine Content of Three Nigerian Cola. Journal of Emerging Trends in Engineering and Applied Sciences, 3(5), 830–833. Content of Three Nigerian Cola.pdf

Omorogiuwa, A., & Eiya, B. O. (2019). Effect of Cola nitida on immediate post moderate-exercise cardiopulmonary response in young adult male. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management, 22(12), 1885.

Osim, E. E., Arthur, S. K., & Etta, K. M. (1991). Influence of kola nuts (cola nitida Alba) on in vivo secretion of gastric acid in cats. Pharmaceutical Biology, 29(3), 215–220.

Ottuh, P. O. O. (2021). Evwie (kola nut) and its socio-religious values among Idjerhe people of Nigeria. Australasian Review of African Studies, 42(1), 51–63.

Persad, L. A. B. (2011). Energy drinks and the neurophysiological impact of caffeine. Frontiers in Neuroscience, OCT.

Salahdeen, H. M., Omoaghe, A. O., Isehunwa, G. O., Murtala, B. A., & Alada, A. R. (2014). Effects of chronic administration of ethanolic extract of kolanut (Cola nitida) and caffeine on vascular function. African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences, 43(1), 17–27.

Sarr, A., Dieng, S. I. M., Sene, M., Diatta, C., Diatta-Badji, K., Diatta, W., & Fall, A. D. (2022). Role of Condensed Tannins in the Antioxidant Activity of Seeds of Cola nitida (Vent.) Schott & Endl. (Malvaceae). European Journal of Medicinal Plants, 26–33.

Tende, J. A., Ezekiel, I., Dare, S. S., Okpanachi, A. O., Kemuma, S. O., Goji, A. D. T., & Physiology, H. (2011). Study of the Effect of Aqueous Extract of Kolanut ( Cola nitida ) on Gastric Acid Secretion and Ulcer in White Wistar Rats. British Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 2(3), 132–134.

Umoh, I., Jimmy, E., & Inyang, P. . (2019). Cola Nitida (Kola-Nut) Enhances Gastric Ulceration and Secretion Via Ileum Motility Increase. Journal of Diseases, 6(1), 13–22.

Unya, I. U. (2021). The Historical Significance and Role of the Kola Nut among the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria. Journal of Religion and Human Relations, 13(1), 289–312.

Weckerle, C. S., Timbul, V., & Blumenshine, P. (2010). Medicinal, stimulant and ritual plant use: An ethnobotany of caffeine-containing plants. Plants, Health and Healing: On the Interface of Ethnobotany and Medical Anthropology, 6, 262–301.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Kamaldeen Olalekan Sanusi, Umar Zayyanu Usman, Dawoud Usman, Kehinde Ahmad Adeshina, Yaaqub Abiodun Uthman, Lukman Jimoh, Aminat Omolola Imam-Fulani

Biology, Medicine, & Natural Product Chemistry
ISSN 2089-6514 (paper) - ISSN 2540-9328 (online)
Published by Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University & Society for Indonesian Biodiversity.

This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC