Cola seeds: Uses, Botanical Source, Characters, and Chemical Constituents


Cola, Kola Nut, Colae Semina, Goro Nuts

Botanical source:

Cola seeds are obtained from Cola vera Sch., a large handsome tree of the family Sterculiaceae.

Geographical source:

The plant is indigenous to tropical African countries and is cultivated in other tropical countries West Indies, Brazil and Java.

Cola seeds


Fresh Cola seeds, as commonly eaten in African countries, are somewhat flattened, plano-convex or biconvex and oval or rounded in shape with a green or greenish purple external colour and a pale or dull white internal colour. They consist of two distinct tightly closed or partially opened cotyledons, which are easily separable. They are about 2 to 5 cm long about 2 to 3 cm broad and about 1 to 2 cm thick. The dried seeds have a dull dark brown or reddish brown external colour, and are hard and solid in texture. A shallow furrow encircles the kernel where the two cotyledons meet. Fresh Cola seeds have a bitterish astringent taste and no distinct odour.

Chemical Constituents:

The principal constituent of Cola seed is caffeine (1 -2.5 percent). Other constituents include a crystalline compound, kolatin (0. 75 percent), traces of theobromine, and oxidase enzyme, fat, sugar and abundant starch.

Uses of Cola Seeds:

Cola seeds are commonly eaten raw as a nerve stimulant for its stimulating properties similar to those of tea and coffee. They are also found to increase the energy of the cardiac contractions.

Substitutes and Adulterants:

Seeds of other Cola species, notably C. acuminata, C. ballayi C. astrophora, C. alba and C. mlida have been used as substitutes and adulterants of Cola seed.

Leave a Comment