What are the spiritual benefits of bitter kola? Bitter kola (Garcinia) is used for both medical and spiritual purposes and is more commonly used in African culture.
Bitter kola is a flowering plant species and 3-5 cm long ellipsoidal nuts. A deep brown crust covers it and is completely removed before consumption. When bitter cola is consumed, it has a taste in the mouth and takes its name as a quality to explain its bitter taste.
The use of bitter kola is not limited to traditional activities, the fruits, seeds, nuts and bark of the plant have been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat diseases ranging from cough to fever. The seeds are edible and are consumed as an adjuvant to the true kola (Cola nitida) and for medicinal and spiritual purposes.
Bitter kola contains a dimeric flavoniode, a lipase inhibitor that is believed to have healing benefits. Bitter cola is believed to prolong life, but this is not always the case, as modern science has shown that bitter kola (Garcinia) contains chemicals that help break down glycogen in the liver.
Bitter Kola nut is called ‘Akiilu’ in Igbo Nigerian language, ‘Orogbo’ in Yoruba Nigerian language and ‘Na Mijin Gworo’ in Hausa Nigerian language.
Bitter kola contains about 2 to 3 percent caffeine and 1-2 percent theobromine, both of which act as stimulants when consumed. Bitter cola contains trace elements such as potassium, magnesium and calcium.
What are the Spiritual Benefits Of Bitter Kola (Garcinia)?
It is believed in the African traditions and cultures that this nut properties have divinity powers. The peelings or shelves of the fruits are used to search for information.
They are also used in a traditional divination system called Obi divination. This ancient practice is currently enjoying increased growth within the United States and Caribbean.
Garcinia Kola was first cited in the pre-colonial West African book, Tarikh al-Fattash, Kola of various kinds are used as a religious object and sacred offering during prayers, ancestor veneration, and significant life events, such as naming ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. let us look are the five spiritual benefit of bitter kola (Garcinia):
1. Spiritually Linked Infertility
Infertility it is a global phenomenon, it is a disease of the reproductive system which affects both men and women. However, it is a very serious health problem in developing continent like Africa.
This is because marriage is basically for childbearing and continuity of the family lineage, thus, any marriage without their biological children is believed to be having a spiritual problem or under a curse.
In Nigeria, among the Ikwerre people of Rivers State, marriage is to show that a man has attained maturity and is ready to take responsibilities.
Therefore, when a young man gets married he is given farmland for himself and his wife. He is also eligible for a piece of land to build his own home where he and his wife will stay to raise their own family.
After all these preparation and arrangements, it is expected that his wife woman should start bearing children so that the family name of the husband will not go extinct.
Reason being that the Ikwerre people, just like other African communities, protecting and keeping their family name is very significant.
Thus, it becomes a problem if after the consummation of marriage children are not forthcoming, it creates so much tension such that the parents of the couple and their relatives start seeking for solutions from various places ranging from tradomedical centers, spiritual prayer houses and from orthodox medicine.
According to the Shona people in Mhondoro-Ngezi, male infertility is an intricate condition that transcends biology. Witchcraft and punishment either from God or angry ancestors were avowed to be the determinants of male infertility.
Myths concerning the appearance of bitter kola tagged it as an original food of the Gods, left behind by one of them on a visit to the earth.
But, science has a total different explanation as to how bitter kola affects fertility as studies have indicated that Garcinia can negatively affect female fertility because, it can relatively reduces the occurrence of estrous while producing 70% blockage of ovulation.
In men, the Kola seed produced decreased serum testosterone levels, decreased sperm counts, decreased semen motility, all these effects were duration dependent and were reversible.
However, a new study reports that Garcinia can increase testosterone levels which can have a beneficial effect on male fertility.
2. Bitter kola and Evil Spirits
Evaluating the effects of bitter kola on evil spirits, scientifically is impossible. But, it is important to say that the idea of religion in Africa presupposes the reality of a supernatural or supra-sensory realm of existence.
If, the life of a common African man or woman is governed by taboos, then it is because they are aware that the spirit world is never far away.
However, it is the benevolent belief in the existence of a spirit world, the revelations arising from there, and the human responses to that world that gives rise to the idea of religion.
In Africa, philosophical thought the seen and unseen, visible and invisible, or sacred and secular worlds and realities are inseparably related. Since religion permeates all aspects of life
Also, in Africa, traditional societies, religion revolves around the expressions, appropriations, and experiences of supernatural power within the natural order hence the use of bitter kola.
gods, spirits, and other unseen forces including evil spirits and witches are believed to be at work in the world that is seen and they are “postulated in explanation of the workings of the universe, of the incidence of spiritual benefits and misfortunes, and of the strains of life in society.
3. Bitter Kola and Longevity
Traditional worshippers in Africa believe Bitter kola can prolong life, this explains why it is mainly consumed by the elderly.
Scientific evidence supports this claim, bitter kola seeds have commonly been chewed in Africa to fight against inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
One 2008 study showed that patients with osteoarthritis in their knees showed significantly reduced inflammation when eating bitter kola compared to a placebo.
The high levels of potassium in bitter kola may be a contributing factor in reducing inflammation.
Early studies also suggest that a chemical called kolaviron, which is found in bitter kola, may protect against hypoglycemia in people with type 2 diabetes.
Although this first study was done on rats and has not yet been reproduced on humans, these early findings are promising.
Although the burden of diabetes is often described in terms of its impact on working age adults, diabetes in older adults is linked to higher mortality, reduced functional status, and increased risk of institutionalization.
Older adults with diabetes are at substantial risk for both acute and chronic micro vascular and cardiovascular complications of the disease.
Despite having the highest prevalence of diabetes of any aged group, older persons and/or those with multiple comorbidities have often been excluded from randomized controlled trials of treatments and treatment targets for diabetes and its associated conditions.
Apart from helping individuals cope with diabetes, bitter Kola can help prolong the life by alleviating the complications and discomfort associated with inflammatory conditions like arthritis.
The elderly are more likely than other segments of the population to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).
Garcinia kola acts by restoring and maintaining the balance of fatty acids in osteoarthritis. Arthritis can result in chronic pain (common in older people) and can lead to depression and sleep disturbances, as well as increased health care costs
4. Bitter Kola And Erectile Dysfunction
The African culture promotes the discussion on sex and sexuality to be done in low tunes and appreciation.
Spiritual teachings and beliefs also tend to suppress such discussions during child upbringing and these in the long run influence the help seeking habit of men when they develop erectile dysfunction (ED).
An impotent man was in the past regarded powerless and worthless and the issue was barely discussed until the early 1980s when ED became a diagnostic entity and a topic of intense research.
In many developing countries, erectile dysfunction is linked to spiritual and spousal infidelity and a substantial percentage believe it is the work of the devil.
In Africa, from historical times, plants have served as a reliable and ever ready source of remedy for the treatment of a plethora of chronic and acute diseases of mankind.
Various communities and societies on the continent, in addition to ‘owning’ traditional remedies for sociocultural ailments such as erectile dysfunction.
Also, studies has shown that, Bitter Kola contains potent aphrodisiac properties and that if taken adequately, it can help increase libido and all-around sexual performance.
5. Antidote For Poisoning
Poisoning is a common practice in Africa at large and specifically so in West Africa, studies have shown this practice in an experiment to clarify the general lack of trust in relationships which is made precise through expressions of fear of being poisoned.
This happenings has been elsewhere characterized as simply a more complicated expression of sorcery and witchcraft beliefs.
Studies support the ability of this plant to serve as a solution for poisoning. Garcinia has been used as an antidote for cases of poisons or supposed poisons.
When food is believed to be contaminated by bacteria, bitter kola is chewed to prevent the development of any disorder or poisoning.
The plant products also contain chemical compounds that help in the breakdown of glycogen in the liver.
This is due to the phenolic compounds existing in bitter kola which contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral and antidiabetic properties. To see more post on Spiritual Health click here.
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