Kolanut: Uses, Health Benefits, Side Effects and Purchase

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Kola nut, derived from specific Cola species of plants, has a long history of use and cultural significance. Indigenous to the tropical African rainforests, the seeds of these cola trees have been employed as flavoring components in carbonated soft drinks, earning them the common moniker of “cola.” In this article, we will explore the uses, health benefits, and potential side effects of kola nut consumption.

Overview and Cultural Significance of Kola Nut

The term “kola nut” typically refers to the seeds of Cola species, which were previously classified under the Sterculiaceae family but are now included in the Malvaceae family. These cola tree species are primarily cultivated in Nigeria’s western region.

Among the Nigerian ethnic groups, the Yorubas have a strong kola nut industry, while the Hausa people occasionally consume kola nuts as a snack. However, the Igbo people attach significant cultural and traditional meanings to the kola nut, considering the kola tree and its fruit as the first trees and fruits on earth. The scientific name for kola nut is Cola acuminata. It is known as “Gworo” in Hausa, “Obi” in Yoruba, and “Oji” or “Oji Igbo” in Igbo.

Uses of Kola Nut

Kola nut serves a range of purposes, both traditional and modern, including:

Short-Term Relief Of Fatigue, Depression, And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

The stimulating properties of kola nut can help combat feelings of fatigue and improve energy levels.

Melancholy And Lack Of Normal Muscle Tone (Atony)

Kola nut has been traditionally used to uplift the mood and address muscle weakness.

Exhaustion And Dysentery

Kola nut is known for its stimulant properties, which can help combat exhaustion and relieve symptoms of dysentery.

Atonic Diarrhea And Weight Loss

Kola nut consumption has been associated with improved digestion and weight loss. It helps stimulate gastric acid production and increases the effectiveness of digestive enzymes, aiding in digestion. Additionally, the caffeine content in kola nut can act as an appetite suppressant, promoting a feeling of fullness and potentially assisting in weight loss.

Migraine Headaches

Some individuals find relief from migraines by consuming kola nut due to its caffeine content and stimulating effects on the nervous system.

Flavoring Ingredient In Foods, Drinks, And Soda Worldwide

The distinctive flavor and caffeine content of kola nut make it a popular ingredient in various food and beverage products.

Chewed During Ceremonies And Rituals

In some African countries, kola nut is chewed during ceremonies and rituals as a symbol of hospitality, friendship, and communion.

Used To Sweeten Breath

Chewing kola nut can help freshen the breath and combat oral odor.

Additive In Energy Drinks And Performance Enhancers

Due to its natural stimulant properties, kola nut extracts or powders are often included in energy drinks and performance-enhancing supplements.

Utilized In The Form Of An Extract Or Powder

Kola nut extracts or powders are used in the production of various supplements and herbal remedies.

Health Benefits of Kola Nut

The health benefits of kola nut are similar to those of coffee, primarily due to its caffeine content. Some potential benefits of consuming kola nut and its products include:

Boosting Metabolism

Kola nut products containing caffeine may give a person’s metabolism a temporary boost, increasing energy expenditure.

Improving Digestion

Kola nut powder and extract have been associated with improved digestion. They promote the production of gastric acid, enhancing the effectiveness of digestive enzymes in the stomach.

Increasing Circulation

The caffeine and theobromine present in kola nut can stimulate the heart rate, potentially leading to increased blood flow and improved circulation.

Boosting Energy Levels

Kola nut naturally stimulates the central nervous system, increasing alertness and potentially boosting energy levels.

Assisting In Weight Loss

Kola nut’s caffeine content can help suppress appetite, leading to reduced calorie intake. It can also support weight loss by enhancing metabolism and promoting fat burning.

Treating Osteoarthritis

Kola nuts possess compounds that can alleviate inflammation, making them potentially beneficial for individuals with osteoarthritis. This condition is characterized by joint pain, inflammation, and limited movement. Kola nut may help reduce pain, inflammation, and improve joint mobility in osteoarthritis patients.

Side Effects and Risks of Kola Nut

While kola nut offers potential health benefits, excessive consumption can pose risks. Some possible side effects include:

Increased Blood Pressure

The stimulating properties of kola nut can raise blood pressure levels. Individuals with hypertension or those taking blood pressure medication should consult their doctor before consuming any product containing kola nuts.

Sleeping Problems

Consumption of kola nut products, which contain caffeine, can lead to insomnia or difficulties falling or staying asleep. Individuals with sleep disorders should consider avoiding stimulants containing caffeine, including kola nuts.

Shakiness

Due to the impact of kola nuts on the central nervous system, they can cause shakiness, tremors, and anxiousness. People with anxiety may be particularly susceptible to these effects.

Nausea

Overeating kola nuts may result in an upset stomach, potentially accompanied by stomach pains due to increased production of stomach acids triggered by kola nuts.

It is important to consume kola nut and its products in moderation and consider individual sensitivities and health conditions. If you experience any adverse effects or have concerns, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional.

To Sum It All Up

In conclusion, kola nut, derived from specific Cola species, has been used for various purposes throughout history. It holds cultural significance and is cultivated in Nigeria’s western region. The kola nut offers potential health benefits, including boosting metabolism, aiding digestion, increasing circulation, boosting energy levels, assisting in weight loss, and treating osteoarthritis. However, it is important to be aware of potential side effects such as increased blood pressure, sleeping problems, shakiness, and nausea. Moderation and consulting with healthcare professionals are recommended when incorporating kola nut into one’s diet or using kola nut products.

How To Safely Source for Your Kola Nut (Cola Nitida & Cola Acuminata) Produce

If you find the right export company, buying directly from them can make the purchase process easy and stress-free, when compared with doing the sourcing on your own. That said, there are few things to note when dealing with an export company in Nigeria or Africa. The specific requirements for Nigeria are listed below, but they mostly apply to other African countries:

  1. The exporting company must be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to make sure the company is registered and permitted to carry out business operations.
  2. The export company must also be registered with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
  3. The company must possess a domiciliary account to accept international payments.
  4. The company should get all necessary export-related documentation done before the shipment leaves the port of origin. Some of the documents are:
  5. Certificate of origin
  6. Bill of lading
  7. Inspection Certificate (SGS, Cotecna, Bureau Veritas, Intertek, etc)
  8. Phytosanitary certificate
  9. Fumigation certificate

Where To Find Reliable Exporters

An important question that still needs to be answered is how to find kola nut exporters in Nigeria. You can use any of the methods listed below:

  • Attend trade fairs
  • Use search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc.
  • Search for agents on Linkedln
  • Sign up on trade platforms (e.g. Alibaba, Tradeford, Go4WorldBusiness)
  • Neogric offers a reliable global order fulfilment solution for kola nut and other agric produce. Our end-to-end supply chain solution makes the export of quality kola nut easy, quick and safe. From the point of placing your order till it successfully gets delivered, we ensure you have nothing to worry about.

International Price of Kola Nut (Cola Nitida & Cola Acuminata) Per Metric Ton

The unit price ($ per kg) of kola nut in the international market depends on a host of different factors including:

  • The grade of the produce (usually the more the processing, the higher the price)
  • The price of the raw material
  • Age of the seeds (this can affect the price)
  • The quantity ordered (the greater the quantity, the cheaper you can get it per ton)
  • Harvest season (it is more costly when it is out of harvest season).
  • Freight & haulage cost
  • Percentage of markup
  • Import duties
  • Distance from the country of origin
  • Technology/Infrastructure available in country of origin
  • Relationship between the buyer and seller

That said, as at October 2023, Kola nut (Cola Nitida & Cola Acuminata) costs between $2,500 and $4,800 per metric ton (1,000 kilograms) in the international market (i.e. $2.5/kg to $4.8/kg).

How To Pay For Your Kola Nut Produce

You can pay for your kola nut using different methods, but three of the popular ways of paying for your agric produce are:

  • Bank (T/T) Payment
  • Advance Payment
  • Letter of Credit (LC)

Bank Payment (T/T)

Bank payment is also known as T/T, “Telegraphic Transfer” or “Telex Transfer” In other words, it is an international wire of funds from the buyer’s bank to the seller’s bank.

A T/T is technically not the same as a wire transfer, which is often done through the SWIFT network. However, when a seller or supplier asks for a T/T payment, a wire transfer is what they are really asking for.

The wire transfer based on the SWIFT system is the most common payment method in international trade. Typically, it takes 3-5 working days to clear, and generally costs between 25 and 50 USD, depending on your agreement with the commercial department in your bank.

Advance Payment

There are sellers that will demand anywhere from 30% to 50% advance payment, and for good reason. If both parties have done deals in the past, sellers can ask for a percentage of the sales (about 30%) before they ship the produce and they can request for the remaining amount after a scanned copy of the Bill of Lading has been sent to the buyer.

It is the safest option for exporters and it also guarantees that they will have some funds to help with sourcing. It is popular among manufacturers on B2B marketplaces like Alibaba and also with commodity traders.                                                                                               

However, advance payment carries considerable risk for the importer (buyer) because the exporter (seller) might not be under as much pressure to ensure quality checks compared with a stricter form of payment. Some might even disappear entirely.

Having said that, advance payment is very useful and is widely used. For instance, the seller might need to secure the commodity in the face of increased competition. It can also be used when the exporter needs some money for sourcing the produce or for processing raw materials.

The most important thing is for both importer and exporter to build mutual trust by having a track record of successful deals with each other or other known companies.

Letter of Credit

Letter of Credit is an agreement generated by the bank of the buyer, guaranteeing payment once certain conditions are met. It is one of the safest types of payment available to both buyer and seller.

Some of the types of Letter of credit are:

  • Commercial Letter of Credit,
  • Sight Letter of Credit
  • Transferrable or Non-Transferable Letter of Credit
  • Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC)
  • Usance or Deferred Payment Letter of Credit
  • Revocable or Irrevocable Letter of Credit
  • Confirmed or Unconfirmed Letter of Credit
  • Revolving Letter of Credit
  • Green Clause Letter of Credit
  • Red Clause Letter of Credit

L/Cs are not totally safe (for either buyer or seller) too. For instance, sellers can ship substandard products or those that are different from the ones agreed upon. In this case, the seller gets paid and the buyer receives good he cannot use.

And speaking of the dangers of L/Cs for the exporter, the conditions in the Letter of credit might be practically impossible to fulfil; if an exporter agrees to such, he might be unable to receive payment. A report stated that of the letters of credit received in the UK, 50% are unworkable while 70% are rejected by the banks for payment.

Shipping & Delivery Terms

When shipping your products, it is important to take note of a few factors:

Order Quantity

For smaller shipments, airfreight is often the preferred option but as the order volume increases, sea freight could become significantly cheaper. Usually when the order is close to a full container load (20 ft), sea freight is used. Despite all these, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an increase in cost of delivery of products.

Cost of Delivery

When the order is of a large volume, sea freight often turns out cheaper than air freight. In fact, airfreight could be up to 6 times more costly than sea freight if the volume is large enough.

Time of Delivery

Sometimes, time will be more important to the buyer than the cost of delivering the produce. In this case, air freight will be the logical option (as stated above, the cost will be more). But if you have more time as a buyer, you should strongly consider using sea freight.

Incoterms

Incoterms refer to generally accepted shipping and payments terms. For example, buyers that have representatives in the source country or that can negotiate with the freight company can use the Free of Board (FOB) terms, since it gives them more control and can save them some money.

However, if the shipment is small or the buyer doesn’t have an extensive network to effectively handle payment for freight, insurance and port charges, he will be better off choosing the Cost-Insurance-Freight (CIF) payment option. You can find out more about Incoterms here.

Import Kola Nut (Cola Nitida & Cola Acuminata) The Right Way with Neogric

Neogric is a trusted global order fulfilment and sourcing solution company with deep expertise in the Kola Nut industry. Our end-to-end supply chain solution makes the export of quality kola nut easy, quick and safe. Whichever region of the world you are, be it Europe, Asia, USA, Canada, Africa, South America or Oceania, you can reliably order your agric products and we will ensure it is successfully delivered to you.

Our Kola Nut trade specifications are listed below:

  • Origin: Nigeria
  • Product Name: Kola Nut (Cola Nitida & Cola Acuminata)
  • Product Types: Kola Nitida (Red, White)
  • Physical Specification: Based On Buyer’s Specification
  • Quantity: Based On Buyer’s Specification
  • MOQ: 20 Metric Tonnes
  • Trade Process: Ex Works/FOB/CIF
  • Moisture Content: 8% Max
  • Admixture/Impurities: 2% Max
  • Other Colours: 5% Max
  • Inspection: SGS/Cotecna/Intertek/Bureau Veritas
  • Packaging: Based On Buyer’s Specification
  • Payment Method: TT (Bank Transfer) or  L/C
  • Shipping Time: 15 to 25 Days After Confirmation of TT or L/C
  • Loading Port: Lagos, Nigeria or Tema, Ghana

Expected Shipping Documents

  • Bill of Lading
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Phytosanitary Certificate
  • Fumigation Certificate
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List

Contact Neogric

Tel: +2348147860157
Email: neo@neogric.com
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