Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Cola

Cola

Botanical Description & Habitat

Cola nitiola
Coila vera
Kola

Family
Sterculiaceae

Habitat
Native to West Africa, cultivated in South America and the West Indies; grows in tropical regions.

Description
The cola tree grows from 50-60 feet in height. It has tough, elliptical, pointed leaves growing on a long stem and can reach 9 inches in length. The flowers grow in spikes on the trunk. The fruit is a yellowish-brown, leathery pod containing reddish-brown leaves.

Medicinal Parts
Cotyledons - dried

Historical Properties & Uses

Cola contains caffeine (up to 3.5% -- more than coffee) and theobromine. Use of cola as a central nervous system stimulant is accompanied by all the usual problems of caffeine abuse: nervousness, sleeplessness, heart and kidney problems, mental fatigue, susceptibility to cancer, even death.

It is generally regarded as safe by the FDA, but avoided by most people concerned about their overall health. Cola is also used as an analgesic in the treatment of neuralgia and headache, and as a euphoric.

Cola nut has approval status by the German Commission E for strengthening the action of psycho-analeptic drugs and caffeine-containing beverages i.e. fatigue.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

The central nervous system stimulant effects of cola are due almost entirely to the presence of caffeine. Yet the influence of the small amounts of procyanidins cannot be ruled out. These substances, present in large amounts in hawthorn, have been found to cardiotonic and hypotensive action. It may be the reported benefits of using kola nut by indigenous peoples, can be attributed to the procyanidins.

Cola also contains considerable tannin which could account for purported usefulness as an antidiarrheal.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Interactions

Potentiates psycho-aneleptic drugs and caffeine-containing beverages.

Possible Interactions

Cola should be used with caution in conjunction with CNS depressants or stimulants.

In the absence of other hard data, it may still be assumed observable interactions may occur between the many central nervous system drugs and the psychoactive principles in cola.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Cola contains caffeine, and thus can cause nervousness, insomnia, increased heart rate, aggravation of peptic ulcers, or loss of potassium if taken in large amounts.

In spite of considerable evidence of cola toxicity and carcinogenicity, it is generally regarded as safe by the FDA, thus allowing manufacturers of soft drinks to freely import it into the USA.

Cola contains caffeine (up to 3.5% - which is more than coffee), and theobromine (less than 1%), along with their attendant problems, including nervousness, sleeplessness, heart and kidney problems, mental fatigue, and even death.

Cola nut has approval status by the German Commission E for strengthening the action of psycho-analeptic drugs and caffeine-containing beverages.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Preparation & Administration

Three times a day

Powdered nut
1-3 grams

Tea
made from 1/2 tsp powdered nut

Fluid extract
1:1 in 60% alcohol, 0.6-1.2 ml

Tincture
1:5 in 60% alcohol, 1-4 ml

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:

2 - 6 g nut.
0.25 - 0.75 cola extract.
2.5 - 7.5 g cola liquid extract.
10 - 30 g cola tincture.
60 - 180 g cola wine.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

Am Hospital Formulary Service. Am Soc of Hosp Pharm. Wash, D.C.

Blacow, N.W. Martindale: The Extra Pharmacopoeia. The Pharmaceutical Press: London, England, 1973

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Bressler, R., M.D. Bogdonoff & G.J. Subak-Sharpe. 1981. The Physicians Drug Manual. Doubleday & Co, Inc. Garden City, NY. 1213 pp.

Culbreath, David M. R. A manual of Materia Medica and Pharmocology. Eclectic Medical Publications, Portland, Or, l983.

Drug package insert (FDA approved official brochure) and other labeling based on sponsored clinical investigations and New Drug Application data.

Goodman, L.S. & A. Gilman. 1975. Pharm Basis of Thera. MacMillan, NY.

Hansten, P.D. 1979. Drug Interactions, 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phila. Hyde, F.F. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Assoc: West Yorks, England, 1983

Kastrup, E.K., ed. 1981. Drug Facts and Comparisons, 1982 edition. Facts and Comparisions Division, J.P. Lippincott Co, Phila(St. Louis).

List, P. & L. Hoerhammer. 1969-1976. Hagers Hanbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, vols. 2-5. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Martin, E. Drug Interactions Index, 1978/79. J.B. Lippincott Co., Phila.

Morrelli, H.F. & K.L. Melmon. 1968. The clinician's approach to drug interactions. California Medicine, 109(11). pp. 380-389.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Scientific Committee, British Herbal Pharmocopaeia, British Herbal Med Assoc, Lane House, Cowling, Na Keighley, West Yorks, Bd Bd220lx, l983.

Spoerke, David G. 1979. Herbal Medications. Woodbridge Press Publishing Co. Santa Barbara, Ca.