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Importance of Kola Nut: West African commodity in the Atlantic world.

by in Africa

Do you know that Kola-nut was originated from West Africa, with the export value of over $2.61B annually?


The kola nut has been a major commodity in the West Africa trade for many centuries, long before its distinct taste provided the inspiration for the numerous cola drinks by the western world. For many centuries kola caffeine is being extracted for the production of many beverages, it was originally part of the coca-cola formula, and other cola drinks such as Pepsi-cola, Kola-wine, Kola-chocolate, and also used as an additive in energy drinks and performance enhancers.

Kola Nut is essentially recognized globally for its significant health benefits, it can be used for the treatment of infections, skin diseases, ulcers, toothaches, morning sickness, intestinal diseases, headaches depression, low sex drive, coughs and asthma, dysentery, constipation, various eye problems, and lot more.

Early explorers of West Africa quickly took notice of the region’s native kola nut. One Portuguese explorer who visited the region in 1587 observed that many people he’d encountered on his travels used the nut to relieve thirst and improve the taste of water by chewing on it. He then learned of its importance from the locals.

Kola Nut is indigenous to the West Africans, it is an important cultural symbol for many ethnic groups, and also a symbol of hospitality. A popular belief says that “Who brings Kola Nut brings life”. In a spiritual gathering, some traditional soothsayers and healers pray with the kola nut, they break it and predict the future with the pieces.

Also, Kola nut is given to guests at naming ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. A ceremonial breaking of the Kola nut is important for making people feel important in a village or a gathering. Welcoming a visitor is not complete without the gifting of kola nut, it’s very essential in an African traditional marriage. Kola nut is the first thing presented when seeking the hand of a bride in Africa.

The kola nut is the fruit of the kola tree, a genus (Cola) of trees that are native to the tropical rainforests of West Africa, particularly Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Liberia.


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