Eating Bitter Kola (Garcinia Kola) Regularly May Reduce Your Sperm Count. Research Reveal

Last updated on February 22nd, 2024 at 09:20 am

10 minutes read.  


In Nigeria many men do eat bitter kola with intension to enhance their sperm health, unfortunately research had revealed this may adverse negative effect to your sperm.

Although people also eat it for other health benefits such as cough, stomach upset, food poisoning,  intestinal worm and to quench hunger.

Bitter Kola, (Garcinia kola), or akuinu as the Igbo named it, is a small brown pill like fruits native to West Africa and Central Africa.

Bitter Kola has been a staple in traditional remedies and have been used as an anti-poison in some tradition for many years due to its powerful therapeutic and healing properties.

However, there are some health claim about bitter kola that have been scientifically proven wrong. It all depend on the variety.

This article will tell you both the proven and unproven health benefits of bitter kola, plus untold health risk scientists have found about it.

Feel free to skim through.

What’s Bitter Kola?

Bitter kola is a brown pill like fruits produce by an evergreen tree.

It’s mostly found in tropical West Africa and Asia.

It is covered by a green apple like fruits which turns yellow when ripped. It then allowed to be fermented on the ground and washed before the brown pill shape seed emerge.

Although the processing depend on the variety.

Bitter Kola is known for treating various health issues; it’s very common in African traditional medicine.

The most parts of bitter kola commonly used in African traditional medicine is the seed.

There are many species of bitter kola (Garcinia kola) grown globally.

Bitter kola should not be eating in place of kola nuts (Oji) because they’re totally different fruits with different components.

The plant is now attracting considerable interest as a possible source of pharmaceutically important drugs.

Several different classes of compounds such as biflavonoids, benzophenones, benzofurans, benzopyran, vitamin E derivatives, xanthones, and phytosterols, have been isolated from bitter kola.

They showed a wide range of medicinal activities.

Example; anti-pain, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antimicrobial, liver protective and neuroprotective effects,  though this has only been confirmed in animal models.

Nutrition Facts Of Bitter Kola

Based on the study result, the phytochemical and nutrition components of bitter kola include;

  • Carbohydrate (70.31%) was observed to be the most abundant biological molecule.
  • Crude protein (11.27%) were present in appreciable amounts.
  • It also contain Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3 in a significant amount. 
  • The levels of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron were significantly high. 

The mineral and phyto-chemical analysis revealed the nutritional and medicinal values of Bitter Kola.

For instance;

The phyto-chemical result showed that tannin (0.347%), sapoium (0.680%), phytic acid (0.550%), phenol (0.163%).

Trypsin inhibitor (2.737Tu/g), sterol (0.093%), flavonoid (2.130%), Alkaloid (0.433%), oxalate (0.433%), caffeine (0.607%) and Hydrogen cyanide (1.347 mg/kg) were present in significant amounts.

These results suggest that Bitter Kola possess nutritional and healthy benefits.

10 Health Benefits Of Bitter Cola, AkuInu, Garcinia Kola

Bitter kola has been found to be effective in so many health issue, though mostly confirmed by animal study.

Below are the proven top benefits of eating bitter kola;

1. May Be Used To Treat Cough And Bacterial Infection.

Bitter kola have been used as a home remedy in Igbo traditional medicine to manage severe cough.

In particular my mum have used the seed for me and my siblings as home remedy for sever cough.

Awogbindin et al in their study shown that the leaf extract of bitter kola inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumonia.

Klebsiella pneumonia is the common cold causing bacteria.

Their result suggested that kolaviron content of bitter kola may be effective in delaying the development of cough and common cold.

2. May Quench Hunger And Boost Energy.

If I eat half medium bitter kola in an empty stomach in the morning it will prevent me from eating breakfast because I will no longer feel hungry and forget about food for that morning.

The interesting thing is that you still feel energized and sharp to do work.

Many people have practiced this and confirm it.

Although no scientific human research has been carried out on it effect on appetite.

3. Serves As Anti Poison

Chewing bitter Kola is a natural, herbal remedy to all sorts of food poisoning.

It works by detoxifying and stopping the bacteria infection from food poisoning.

Chewing bitter Kola has been used for hundreds of years and is still used by people today for its antiviral and bacterial infections.

If possible, make a mixture of both the seed and the bark of the bitter Kola immediately after coming in contact with a contaminated food source.

Taking it will provide effective anti-contamination results and free the user from viral infections.

One 2017 study used lead to induce food poisoning and investigated the effect of bitter kola on it.

The study concluded that bitter kola has the medicinal potential to act as abatement of lead toxicity and alternative antimicrobial.

Furthermore, Garcinia kola (bitter kola) could be a double-edged drug for the spontaneous amelioration of lead toxicity and secondary infections due to lead poisoning.

4. Good Source Of Anti-Oxidant And Anti-Inflammatory

Kolaviron is the biflavonoid compound found in Bitter kola. It is responsible for the strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of bitter kola which reduce the oxidative stress.

Several studies have reported that kolaviron found in bitter kola prevent liver toxicity induced by several toxins.It exhibit strong antioxidant activities both in vivo and in vitro experimental models.

One recent study on bitter kola recommended that Kolaviron (from bitter kola seed)  may be developed as a herbal-based natural product with healing potential in the management of neurodegenerative disorders associated with disturbed cholinergic neurotransmitter systems.

Neurons are the cells of the nervous system which conduct nerve impulse.

5. Anti-Cancer

Garcinol, a powerful compound found in Indian bitter kola (kokum: mainly seed and root), has been found to be an effective inhibitor of several key regulatory pathways in cancer cells, thereby being able to control malignant growth of solid tumours in the body.

Despite its high potential as an anti-neoplastic modulator of several cancer types such as head and neck cancer, breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, prostate cancer, colon cancer, more clinical and systematic research are needed to draw a conclusion.

6. Protect Against Excess Gas & Diarrhea From Certain Foods.

For ages bitter kola seed (akuinu) have used as a quick remedy for gastrointestinal disorder in Igbo traditional medicine. Interestingly, scientific research have proven this to be true.

Oral ingestion of sodium arsenite (NaAsO2) has been known to produce severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea.

One 2015 study investigated the effect of bitter kola seed extract on sodium arsenic intoxication on rats.

The study concluded that kolaviron extracted from bitter kola seed shown antigastric effect in animal model and recommended that bitter kola seed might a potent product to remedy gastro intestinal problem.

7. Anti-Inflammatory (Anti Pain/Pain Reliever) Effect.

One 2015 study was conducted to evaluate the pain relieving effect of bitter kola,

The results obtained validate the traditional use of Garcinia kola (bitter kola) in treating fever and pain resulting from headache, stomach ache, as well as other inflammatory disorders such as gastritis and laryngitis.

These findings show that bitter kola seed extract may serve as an alternative to Non-SteroidalAnti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such ibuprofen, aspirin and diclofenac among others in clinical practice.

8. Anti-diabetic

One study found that Garcinia kola (Indian specie) may have a strong therapeutic potential against type one diabetes and its microvascular complications.

One recent study (2022) evaluated the effect of bitter kola seed on hyperglycemia, interestingly the result of the study justifies the traditional use of bitter kola seeds as an anti-diabetic.

However there’s a controversy here because another 2022 study got a different result.

The study thus, the results showed that a Garcinia kola seed extract treatment, which started a week before induction of diabetes neither delayed the development of type one diabetes nor reduced glycaemia severity.

Interestingly, a Garcinia kola seeds treatment did affect T cells and their function, significantly decreasing the frequency of helper T cells and cytotoxic T cells.

But was found to elevate the levels of signaling molecules that promote inflammation.

Helper T cells are arguably the most important cells in adaptive immunity, as they are required for almost all adaptive immune responses.

They not only help activate B cells to secrete antibodies and macrophages to destroy ingested microbes, but they also help activate cytotoxic T cells to kill infected target cells

The researcher then reported that their findings didn’t confirm the antidiabetic property of Garcinia kola (bitter kola).

Scientists need to research more on this using clinical trial to clear this confusion.

9. May Relief Arthritis Pain

One Prospective randomized, placebo controlled, double blind, clinical trial  at Obafemi Awolowo University involving 143 participants, 58 % were male 28% were female.

The study reported that 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 midterm outcome. Further studies are required for standardization of dosages and to determine long-term effects said the scientists.

10. Reduces Bad Cholesterol

In one study, rat were administered biflavornoid of bitter kola extract for 21 days and was found to reduce triglycerides, total Cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol).

The scientists reported that Garcinia kola biflavonoid fraction has potential to improve good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce bad Cholesterol (LDL). Thus bitter kola seed can be used to manage hyperlipidemia.

However, human study is needed.

11. Valuable in Pregnancy

Bitter Kola is an inexpensive, natural, and safe supplement that benefits pregnant women.

The bitter taste of the supplement helps pregnant women avoid the side effects of caffeine, which can lead to headaches and heart palpitations.

Bitter Kola is an incredible remedy for pregnant women, as it helps to prevent vomiting and nausea, which can affect their health.

It also helps to ensure a healthier uterus, resulting in better overall well-being.

Bitter Kola drink reduces the risk of post-natal depression and other complications such as infection, dehydration, and uterine prolapse.

Bitter Kola can is a home remedy for all kinds of stomach disorders. However talk with your doctor before eating bitter kola if you’re pregnant.

Related: Kola (Oji): So Much More Than Just A Nut.

Related: What’s Sperm Motility and how does it affect Fertility?


Is Bitter Kola An Aphrodisiac Fruit?

In Nigeria, some men claimed that bitter kola promote sperm health but that’s totally fiction, especially for the Nigeria specie.

One scientific study investigated the effect of bitter kola extract on sperm health of male albino rat and found that to be negative.

The result of the study shown a significant decreases in relative organ weights of extract-treated rats compared to the control.

Garcinia kola seed extract decreased sperm motility, sperm concentration and sperm viability as well as affected normal morphology of sperm cells in dose-dependent manner.

Furthermore, the extract reduced the serum concentrations of sex hormones of the treated rats.

The findings suggested that aqueous extract of Garcina kola seed may have anti-spermatogenic property. Meaning its regular consumption may block production of sperm.

Another study in Nigeria evaluated the effect of bitter kola extract on sex behavior of male rat and got a negative result.

The scientists suggested that, the acclaimed pro sexual effect of bitter kola seeds is scientifically untrue.

This study has refuted the claim that one of the rationales for consuming the bitter kola seeds by the aged population of Nigeria is to enhance sexual invigoration in males.

So learn it today, stop eating bitter kola on regular basis to avoid low sperm count.  Just eat it on a specific and confirmed condition.

However, human studies are needed to draw any conclusion.

Side Effects

Is too much of bitter kola bad for you?


One 2018 study on food science and nutrition in Nigeria suggested that high consumption of bitter kola seed could be toxic and therefore moderate consumption is hence recommended.

More so, too much bitter kola may negatively affect the production of sperm in men research reveal.


Bitter Kola, (Garcinia kola), or akuinu as the Igbo named it, is a small brown pill like fruits native to West Africa and Central Africa.

The most parts of bitter kola commonly used in African traditional medicine is the seed.

Bitter Kola is known for treating various health issues; it’s very common in African traditional medicine.

Example; anti-pain, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antimicrobial, liver protective and neuroprotective effects, anti-cough and ameliorate stomach upset.

Bitter kola should not be eating in place of kola nuts (Oji) because they’re totally different fruits with different components.

Very importantly, two animal research have reported that better kola is anti-aphrodisiac fruit-meaning it does not improve your sexual health as some men thought. It was shown to reduce sperm count, motility, and morphology and sperm production in male rats.

Therefore it is recommended you eat bitter kola occasionally or specifically on a health discomfort and discontinue once you get healed.

I hope you get the value worth your time, I appreciate the time you spend with me. Leave a comment below if you find this article helpful and don’t forget to drop your question, opinion or criticism if any. Cheers!


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