Pharm Peter Obi has called on the public to eat bitter kola for its numerous benefits to human development and healthy living as a result of its anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who went round to sample opinions of the public on Saturday, in Awka, reports that the respondents were all agreed on the use of bitter kola for its medicinal and economic value.
He said that “Bitter Kola”, commonly known as ” Aki ilu” in Igbo land, is cherished for its medicinal properties.
“We use the kola at special social engagements like bride price , blessing, child naming, conflict resolution and wedding ceremonies,” he said .
Obi added that bitter kola is a fruit with a handful elements that gives it a unique characteristic, and scientifically its caffeine and theobromine content account for some of its benefits which includes boost in energy levels.
Obi said that it is also used as an economic tree that yields so much money and its healing benefits cannot be dismissed.
A lecture in the department of pharmacy at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Mrs Chinelo Ezejiegu, said that bitter kola had a business value and advised the public to trade in Bitter Kola for its financial returns.
Ezejiegu, however, warned that if not properly preserved, its monetary value could reduce because of breakages and possibly lead to a huge loss.
She added that bitter kola was used as an anti-diabetes therapy because the seed is believed to posses the ability to lower blood glucose and by extension be a potential treatment for diabetes melitus.
“ Studies have shown that saponin extract from garcinia roots has anti diabetic activity with potent cardio protective effects,” she said
Ezejiegu also identified bitter kola as having some anti-microbial properties, which influences multiple regulatory system in the body including the immune system, just as its antibacterial and anti fungal properties have also been confirmed.
She said that its medical value were numerous, citing it as a cold remedy because it possess the ability to enlarge the alveolar sac and duct.
“This fruit is regarded as a wonder plant because all most all parts of plant, the bark, leaves, seed and root, have been found to be medicinal significance.
“ The plant is rich in sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and many phytonutrients, both the fresh and dry are used as spices and condiments, “she said.
Some traders interviewed at Nkwo Enugwu-Ukwu, Afor Nawfia Markets, in Njikoka Local Government Area reported the availability of bitter kola throughout the Eastern part of the country .
Mrs Uju Ekwo, a seller of the product, identified Nnobi, Nnewi,Osumenyi, Umunze as some communities in Anambra that harvested large quantities of Bitter Kola.
Another trader, Mrs. Martha Ube, who had been in the business for the past 28 years, spoke of its numerous medicinal benefits, in addition to being a repellent for dangerous reptiles such as snakes, insects, among others.
Mr Chiadi Okeke, a community leader, said that because it comes in different sizes, bitter kola was usually sold based on its size which can go for as much as N15,000 for eight kilogrammes.
Okeke said that the normal size of the fruit was sold for N10,000, while a full bag of big seed could fetch N115,000, while the small seed was sold for N90,000.