CAN eating at least a piece of bitter kola (Garcinia kola) daily be the treatment for low libido, low sperm count, erectile dysfunction and knee osteoarthritis?
Results of a study published in African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology have confirmed that bitter kola possesses sexual enhancing effects on male rats as evidenced by the increased mounting (MF) and intromission (IF) frequencies with increased number of subsequent ejaculations over the 20 min observation period.
The study is titled “Effects of ethanolic extract of Garcinia kola on sexual behaviour and sperm parameters in male Wistar rats.”
Another study published in Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research by medical doctors, pharmacists and nurses at Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) concluded: “Garcinia kola appeared to have clinically significant analgesic/anti-inflammatory effects in knee osteoarthritis patients. Garcinia kola is a potential osteoarthritis disease activity modifier with good mid term outcome. Further studies are required for standardization of dosages and to determine long-term effects.”
The study is titled “Clinical effects of Garcinia kola in knee osteoarthritis.”
Botanically known as Garcinia kola, bitter kola belongs to the plant family Guttifereae. In Nigeria it is called oje in Bokyi, edun or efiari in Efik, efrie in Ejagham-Ekin, cida goro in Hausa, efiat in Ibibio, emiale in Icheve, igoligo in Idoma, aku-ilu or ugolo in Ibo, akaan in Ijo-Izon, okain in Isekiri, and orogbo in Yoruba.
Yet another study on bitter kola published recently in Science Journal of Microbiology showed that seed and leaf of bitter kola have antibacterial activity on clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi and Streptococcus pyogenes.
Phytochemical screening of the extracts revealed the presence of some bioactive components like alkaloids, saponins, tannins, anthraquinones and cardiac glycosides. These components determine the antibacterial activity of the seed and leaf extracts. The results from this study, provides scientific evidence that Garcinia kola has the capability of inhibiting the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms; thus it will be useful in tropical medicine for the treatment of microbial infections.
The researchers wrote: “G. kola has been shown to be a popular treatment for diarrhea and fever. The seed extract is antiseptic and is active mostly against gram-positive bacteria. While the leaf, is active mostly against gram-negative bacteria. It is also very efficacious for hepatitis.
“In West Africa, is now being harnessed as a cure for the Ebola virus infections and also against flu. The stem, bark and the seeds are used for acute fever, inflammation of the respiratory tract and throat infections. Historically, Nigerians used Garcinia kola as an aphrodisiac.
“The seeds are also chewed to relieve hoarseness of voice, sore throat and cough. In folk medicine the seed is used for the treatment of liver disorder. It is also used in the treatment of dysentery and diarrhea. The leaves are used for stomachache and pains and is also anti helmithic. They also serve as good remedy for typhoid fever.”
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection sufficient for sexual activity or penetration at least 50 per cent of the time for the last six months.
Unfortunately, it is a problem often neglected by the health practitioners as they strive to deal with life threatening complications of disease. Successful treatment of ED may improve not only sexual relationships, but also the overall quality of life.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disease, affecting the knee more than other joints. Several factors play a role in osteoarthritis risk; these include age, gender, genetics, behavioral influences and ethnicity.
Trauma is a recognised predisposing factor to development of osteoarthritis of the knee (KOA) associated with raised intra osseous pressure and death of the chondrocytes. Osteoarthritis of the knees reduces the ability to avoid obstacles and supporting epidemiologic studies have found osteoarthritis to be a risk factor for falls. The pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knees increased the propensity to trip on an obstacle and underscores the importance of treating pain associated with osteoarthritis.
The South African researchers from Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa investigated the effects of oral administration of ethanolic extract of G. kola on male sexual behaviour, testosterone levels and sperm parameters.
A 70 per cent ethanolic extract of G. kola seeds was prepared and used for treating male Wistar rats in a group of eight; two doses of G. kola (200 and 400 mg/kg body weight) were used for the treatment group, while distilled water was administered to the control group.
All the treatments were orally administered daily for 28 days. On day 28, mounting frequency (MF), intromission frequency (IF) and ejaculation frequency (EF) were quantified during sexual behaviour tests.
At termination, body and organ weights, gastric ulceration and cauda epididymal sperm counts were determined. Serum was collected for determination of testosterone levels. Both doses (200 and 400 mg/kg) showed marked aphrodisiac activity with significantly increased sexual behaviour parameters compared to controls.
However, lower dose of G. kola was more effective than the higher dose. Testosterone levels were higher in both treatment groups compared to controls. Sperm counts were similar to controls however testes weights were higher in G. kola treated rats compared to controls. Thus these results show that G. kola enhances sexual activity in normal male rats.