The kolanut trees are grown in the western parts of Nigeria by the yoruba speaking tribes which is called “Obi” with a thriving business in kolanut trade while the Hausa of northern Nigeria cherish and consume the kolanuts known as “Goro” as a favorite chewy snack more than any other tribes in Nigeria and turning their passion in the kolanuts into a booming business far greater than that of the Yorubas who are popularly known to cultivate it. The kolanuts refer to as “Oji” by the Ndigbos is completely a part of life with an amazing significance much more than business, eating or planting; for the Igbos it goes far beyond to the spiritual with the belief that the kolanuts tree was the first tree and it’s fruit the first on Earth turning the kolanuts into a symbol of life, hospitality, peace, kindness, goodwill, friendship and unity. The Igbos have a strong cultural belief in the kolanuts which to them signifies “peace” believing that “He Who Brings Kolanuts, Brings Life” in the Igbo saying that “Onye Wetere Oji, Wetere Ndu” meaning “Kola Is Life”.
The native kolanuts for the Igbos are brown in color mostly used for all traditional ceremonies unlike the yellow to red colored goro of the Hausa in Northern Nigeria; all across Nigeria every aspect of life is celebrated with kolanuts customarily according the tribe, religion culture or state of the people.
The kolanuts is derived from the following species with the scientific name “Cola Acuminta, Cola nitida and Cola vera”; The Bitter-Kola which is scientifically called “Garcinia Kola” is a kolanut with the ultimate bitterness taste. The nuts-fruits are sources of caffeine and an essential compounds with a distinctive flavor used for the early blends of tonics and popular soft drinks brand deriving its name from “Kola” but due to supply not meeting up with demands in the manufacturing industries; synthetic derivatives that gives the same flavors are substituted for the kola extracts. The bitter-kola flowering plant produces white-nut like seeds with coverings of brown to deep brown peels; it’s amongst the most treasured trees in Nigeria since the ancient days due to its many medicinal uses and values with utmost importance during cultural sacrifice and festivals, naming the kolanuts “Obi Orogbo” meaning evil must flee. It is called “OROGBO” in Yoruba, known as “AKIILU” in Igbo, and “NA’MIJIN GORO” in Hausa.
The kolanuts tree has a waxy oval leaves framing its beautiful, cute star shaped flowers with gloriously white or yellow slightly purple color edges, each of the blessed pod-shaped fruits, perfectly and neatly nestling about a dozen round shaped seed-nuts popularly known as the kolanuts, with red, white or pink colors in the seedpods. The best of the kolanuts tree is the freshly, hand-picked, organic kolanuts fruits, always store and preserve it freshness after picking it or buying it by wrapping it up with a wetted kitchen towel, or the wetted hand-woven native sack, kept in a dampen rafia basket, calabash or store in an airtight container then placed in the refridgerator.
Traditionally kolanuts are best preserve in wet dry pumpkin or banana leaves to retain it’s freshness and crunchy feel while chewing. Always wash the kolanuts first, break or split the nut-seeds through the demarcating lines using a knife, cut a piece, chew on the seeds. The kolanuts texture and appearance is similar to that of the chestnuts, has a deliciously sweet rose-like aroma, its nuts are eaten raw by chewing it while others swallow the fiber, many spit it out; upon the very first crunchy chewing, has mild to bitter taste and an after taste of bitter-sweet unlike the bitter kola that has an absolute bitterness that can not be compare to any other fruits but the taste of the bitter-leaf plants, a vegetable for soup that must be washed severally to remove it’s bitterness. The kolanut powder can be mixed and consume in beverages, which is prepared by milling or grinding the dried kolanuts into a powder form then added to drink of choice like water, boil it in tea or brew it with coffee; it is added to lime and honey drink or any fruit juice to enhance it effects. The chewing of the kolanuts or the use of the kolanuts powder aids digestion which promote the production of gastric acid to increase digestive enzyme for gut health. The kolanuts contain a lot of vital compounds such as caffeine, theobromine, kolatin and glucose which all have beneficial effects not so addictive when consumed sparingly. The newly harvested kolanuts have a bitter taste but as it matures and ages after storage its bitterness reduces but its price soars called the “Tsohon Goro or Goron Daushe” in northern Nigeria. The nuts of the kolanuts can be boiled to extract the “cola” and as a very versatile fruit it is often used for medicine, flavorings and food products; traditionally in Nigeria the kolanut is used as a sacred offerings in religious rituals.
The kolanuts as a connector for seeking blessings through prayers; for most cultures in Nigeria has a magic secrets with a deep rooted belief that if honored, respected and prayed upon before the breaking and eating of it will bless the life of the bearer with endless successes. The kolanuts is given as a symbol of hospitality, friendship and respect; presented to guests at important socio-cultural events such as weddings, infant naming ceremonies, funerals and memorials purposes. It is significantly refer to as “Kolanut is life” for all the major tribes in Nigeria; one of the most valuable fruits which is also a major cash crop in Nigeria with a significant importance in socio-cultural, economic development and medicinal potentials in all communities all over Nigeria. The kolanut tree in Nigeria signifies important life events and a mark of the traditional history of the community; where in most of the rural yoruba communities kolanut trees are planted at birth of a new born and when a family member dies; for the Ndigbos kolanut trees are planted to mark out the demarcation between land boundaries, and most families are known to bury their new born placentas under the kolanut trees while others plant the kolanut trees at the entrance of their shrines. These practices by the farmers of western and southern parts of Nigeria may be the reasons to why a popular north-east Nigeria myths about the kolanut trees refuse to go away; an amazing myths shrouding kolanuts in the north-east of Nigeria is a belief that humanbeings were sacrifice under the kolanuts trees before it produces it’s fruits, attributing the myths to the red color of the kolanuts which turns to bloody red after chewing the nuts which to them is a prove of the human bloods soaked up by the kolanuts trees, so unbelievably funny when one has to go round counting all the kolanut trees planted all across the nation to tally them with the sacrifices of the human heads, an absolutely mysterious tale for any literate mind. A lot of myths sorround the kolanuts with several others believing that it is potent in love potion for capturing hearts.
All over Nigeria the kolanuts are cultivated, transported in rickety trucks by farmers to other states; on display for sale in every market, motor parks, and the airports shoping centres; on all streets corner shops are piles of kolanuts for sale, friends and families consume and discuss the potential of and pleasure in chewing the kolanuts. The kolanuts is a rallying points for all gatherings of who is who during political rallies, religious meetings and every socio-cultural functions. The kolanuts is appreciated by every true Nigerian, a spiritual instrument for the Ndigbos, domesticated, grown and harvested by the yorubas and a snack to food for the northern Nigeria hausa who eat the kolanuts with relish all the time thereby turning it into a thriving trade that are seen hawked by little boys, girls and men along the major roads side walks, all over the nock and cranny of the city centres, villages and towns perfectly arranged in piles on trays, according to its colors, sizes and types covered with wetted hand-woven sacks to preserve it’s crunchy freshness. Placed on the kiosks racks with sweets, cigarettes and lemon, strategically seen in the village markets in large hand-woven baskets invitingly calling for buyers.
A walk into any traditional kanuri household showcases a rainbow of colourful artifacts just like a museum, all decorations are ancient handmade crafts of the multi-colored rafia mats of the head of household popularly called “Ba’Kura” who sits with friends, holding a peacock feathered hand fans to cool off the heats of the scorching desert sun, with a silver covered drinking bowl for a sip of cold water when the thirsty throat dries up, and always by his side a neatly packaged “goron daushe” of the kolanuts to entertain guests on a traditional small round woven mat known as “feifei” which he shares with friends and visitors. On a further walk into the inner sections of the compound reveals the mother of the household generally called “Ya’Kura” coming forward to receive and welcome the female guests, then ushering her visitors into her chamber, where she quickly spread out a beautiful multi-colored, cute rug for on the other side of her room, beckoning for all to sit and then off she goes to bring the traditional “kindai” to offer the customary gifts of kolanuts which she picks out of the culturally decorated kindai; crafted by hand a basket shaped like an oval bucket, with colourful woolen threads sewn all around it, and the white shell cowries alternatingly attached all around it, then she picks out again to serve with the kolanuts, a deep green flowering buds with red tips petal called “gorongo” to rub on the teeth as one chews the kolanuts while sharing jokes and laughing. A practice which if excessively done turns the front teeth into a bright red color that is for the elderly kanuri women a pride; who take a lot of pleasure in chewing the kolanuts along with the gorongo during entertaining or celebrating with guests, and the customary “turaren wuta” incense known as the “ka’aji” slowly burns on, dispeling a sweet smoky fragrance all around. While the toothless old women in the northeast, for their love of the kolanuts, are mostly seen grating the kolanut to make chewing easier, using a tin cover that they pierce several holes into then turning it over to use the jagged edges to grate the kolanuts before chewing.
The kanuri gorongo is a traditional vegetable which is an important social ingredients; so nutritious that the raw fruit of the gorongo is often chewed with the kolanuts by mostly the elderly females in Borno state Nigeria, to color the teeth red as a form of beautification during marriages and naming ceremonies, believing that the use of the gorongo buds clean the teeth as a way to restore a sense of dignity and to light up every event with a healthy and happy smiles. Generally in northern Nigeria, the excessive chewing and consumption of the kolanuts results to stained teeth giving a rusty to red colored teeth for both the males and females where many believe that it sweeten breath and brightens smiles.
The Role Of Igbo Types Of Kolanuts:
The kolanuts plays a vital role in Igbo cultural celebrations, standing tall as a mediator between the ancestors and the living; mostly used in Nigeria as a religious instrument, object, connector and as an essential sacred offering during prayers, communicating with the ancestral lineage and in all significant life events, a deep rooted cultural belief in the potency and divinity powers of the blessed nuts where some ancient tribes and customs in Nigeria are known to use the kolanuts peelings to obtain vital historical facts and informations and thus making it an important part of the Nigeria tradition, culture and the individual tribal customs.
The kolanut grown in Igboland is called “Oji Igbo” which is used for all cultural ceremonies by Ndigbo, while they considered the yoruba kolanuts as “Oji Hausa” which are NEVER used for any traditional events. The kolanuts as a symbol of hospitality, life, peace, kindness, goodwill, friendship and unity. The kolanuts lobes range from two to seven and each lobe or segment symbolizes an important aspect of life such are also are rated according to its number of lobes and that determines what it will be used for; The yoruba one lobed kolanuts are very rare and expensive which are called “Obi Akiriboto” mostly used by them for herbal purposes while the two lobeds with no embryo lines demarcating between the two lobes are eaten for its stimulants as snacks. The kolanuts without lobes is called by the Igbo “Oji Gbara Kpurukakpu” often prefferred by the native doctors but most Igbo people have little or no regards for kolanuts having a single or two lobes does not have a place in the Igbo culture which they consider as powerless or useless in bringing down blessings and thus it is never served or eaten and it is not respected enough to be presented to the gods for the traditional rites but often such kolanuts are highly favored by the Hausa of northern Nigeria and they use it for presentation during important cultural events which they also enjoy chewing a lot of the time as snacks. It is important to know the meaning of the kolanuts segments or lobes, what it stands for, use for, occassion, the community and the people it will be presented to, eventhough such practices are considered to be superstitious but still the elders nonetheless believe in the representation of the kolanut lobes in almost all rural communities; the Igbos of southern nigeria with each having it special role in customary rites.
The kolanuts with the three lobes in some Igbo culture called “Oji Ato” represents good relationship of equality and justice; most Ndigbo is refer to as “Oji Ikenga” meaning that only the “brave warriors” are entitled to eat it but for the yoruba the “Eta-Obi” which is of the three lobes as its name implies is mostly consider a bad omen which to them signifies bad luck consequently it is never use for divination. While the four lobes kolanuts called “Oji Ano” which signifies a sacred number among the Ndigbos is called “Oji Udo Na Ngozi” are refer to as “joy, peace, progress and blessings” but for other Ndigbos each of the four lobes represents the four market days in some Igbo community that’s “Afor”, “Nkwo”, “Eke”, and “Orie”; whilst in the yoruba land of western nigeria the kolanuts with the four lobes is called “Obi Abata or Iya Obi” normally consisting of the 2 males and 2 females mostly used for the Ifa divination, and are used also by fortune tellers to seek and forsee the future events of seekers which is done by casting or throwing upon a special wooden board and the resulting patterns displayed by the lobes are read by fortune tellers when the lobes facing the heavens are seen as lucky omen, success and positivity in life which is contrary to the lobes facing down upon casting, this ancient practice till date is observed in almost all rural communities in the land of the yorubas for seeking information about all life issues that will be either good or bad.
The Yoruba “Olufuwa Obi” with the five lobes or segments are mostly used for the “Osun Oshogbo” Goddess of purity, whiteness and serene water whereby the five lobes kolanuts called “Oji Ise” for the Ndigbos is referred to as “Oji Ubara Mmadu Omumu Na Ukwuoma” which is to them a symbol of fertility, protection, wealth and good fortune in all aspect of life which is mostly split and shared among sucessful head of households with large families and a thriving business. The king of all the yoruba Obi is the “Iwarefa” use for initiations, odinations and installations of the high and mighty in the given community and for the “Oji Asa” which is the highest number of kolanut segments ranging between six or seven lobes kolanuts symbolises massive progress in life which is an amazing blessings from the Gods and most often is called in Igbo the “Oji Ndi Mmuo Na Ndi Mmadu Jiri Gbaa Ndu” which simply means a communion with the great ancestors; the breaking and eating of it will bring on the bearer outstanding and remarkable blessings. The seven-lobed kola nuts is powerful and highly spiritual, which is mostly used by herbalists; the seven lobes are very rare, scarce and if seen it is cherished immensely but so expensive if found; it signifies a good omen just as the number seven is believed to be a lucky number signifying prosperity. The Kolanut “Obi” in Yoruba is a powerful offering during divinations of Ifa, Ori’sha and other great deities in the yoruba kingdom.
The Kolanut Presentation:- The kolanuts are respected and highly placed in all prestigious events in Nigeria, it is a great fruit like no other fruits which symbolizes a lot of things for all the different ethnic groups, tribes, and cultures all across native communities in Nigeria. The kolanuts is a must in almost every activity of any ceremony most especially in traditional marriage ceremony where the kolanuts given to visitors is a sign of love, welcome, and acceptance. The presentation of the kolanuts differs in the Igbo communities, where for some culture it must be presented along with money or “Nzu” known as the white chalk. The kolanuts are used to welcome guests for a happy hospitality, to invoke the gods and must be presented to the deity during devotions in most of the Ndigbo religion and for them it is a must before sacrificing an animal during feast or festivals; a sign of unity, collectiveness, sharing for oneness and peace. It is the first to be presented at all gatherings, every ceremony, highly respected rituals and a powerful seal of togetherness for personal or community relationships, a welcome for the new and old friends, an agreement and settlement bond for contractual issues, during social and formal functions. The Igbos make the presentation of the kolanuts on a specially made wooden platter, the Yoruba’s present theirs in a calabash and the Hausas is on hand-woven, beautifully crafted round cute mats or baskets. The kolanuts must always be presented with both hands at the same time, for it is an abomination to present an exotic and exalted nuts with one hand before elders while the great ancestors watches; It is of utmost necessity that before the kolanuts are presented to visitors and guests that whosoever presents the kolanuts to visitors must first place it on the lips to show good intent, purity of heart that is free of evil or hatred, thereby making the kolanut presentation, breaking and eating a symbol of welcome, peace, and together.
The kolanuts as a symbol of communion food, a feast of love, trust and togetherness; it absence in any gathering denotes the absence of friendship, lack of kolanuts presentation or denial only shows the opposite of all the goodness of the kolanuts, showing displeasure or disapproval because the spliting and sharing of the kolanuts with ones friends, families or guests is an oath of preserving each others life in a beautiful union of togetherness.
Kolanuts presented to visitors shows welcome, acceptance, love and friendship amongst all the tribes of yoruba, hausa and the Ndigbos of Nigeria. A gathering of any importance in family homes or public functions always starts and breaks the day with the breaking of the kolanuts during the celebration of birth, or death, unions of engagements, marriages or divorce, the settlement of disputes or contractual agreements thereby inculcating the tradition of blessing the kolanuts into religious prayer worships, invoking the spirits of the great ancestors by the Ndigbos. The yorubas are known to beautifully starts the kolanuts blessings by reciting awesome oriki, poetry and praises to the Ifa gods with the presentation of the freshly picked “Obi Abata” which the yoruba believe that it is the favorite foods of the IFA the deity of divination; the Ifa diviners then use the “Obi Abata” to invoke or appease the gods seeking blessings or forgiveness, the “Obi Abata” consist of several lobes that is daintly placed in a small hand-carved calabash which is gently and majestically offered with prayers associating it with long life and success.
The Prestige Of The Kolanuts:- The breaking and eating of the kolanuts is a feast of love, trust, and togetherness; A prestigious fruit which symbolizes peace, welcome, acceptance and unity. The kolanuts ritual of presentation and its breaking must be perform in Igbo land and other states in Nigeria before any important ceremony can take place such as marriage, naming ceremonies, installation of traditional rulers, disputes resolutions, cultural festivals, traditional meetings, anniversaries and other very important occasions. In many Nigerian homes, the kolanuts is the first thing to be served to any visitor that visits and a very happy guest are known to also gift the host kolanuts as a sign of great hospitality. The Ndigbos highly respect the kolanuts that in some communities who ever steals the kolanuts is publicily shamed, banished and the whole family ostracized from the community with the family homestead set ablaze.
The Kolanuts Splitting, Sharing and Blessings:- The kola nuts myths and customs is a sacred tradition that must be uphold anywhere and anytime, it is highly regarded and revered in Igbo land where it plays a very unique role in bringing about harmony and love between friends, families and the communities. The ancestors do not eat the lobes of the kolanuts but eat the eye which is believed to be the most important part of it; the tiny eye in the middle of the kolanut which is the embryo is culturally believed to belong to the Ancestors. It must NOT to be eaten by any man but MUST be thrown down for the Ancestors as a sign of respect and a special offering for them to partake in the eating of the kolanuts; the spliting and sharing of the kolanuts lobes must go round all members of any gathering, if it does not meet up the number of attendance then the individual lobes must futher be split to reach everyone present.
The Great Ancestors bestow endless blessings of peace, unity, prosperity, progress, fertility and success on those who believe in its magic. The Hausa of northern Nigeria never believed in the spiritual or mystical powers of the kolanuts but cherish it a lot as a favorite food and also having a great respect for the divine nuts by placing it side by side with every important life events. The yoruba female Ifa diviners in western Nigeria are known to break the kolanuts and they have the divine powers to also interprete the casting of the kolanuts lobes contrary to the Ndigbo tradition, where the kolanuts must never be split by a woman in the midst, presence or gatherings of men, her role is just to bring it forward before the men who are mostly the head of households which shows to all the leadership position of the man, where the man of the house bless and breaks the kolanuts but in situations of the absence of the men any other man is delegated to perform the rite. It is always the responsibility of the elders from the hosting family to present kolanuts to visiting guests and the elder from amongst the visiting family will then reach out to touch the kolanut and say to the host “Oji eze no eze na aka” simply meaning that the visiting guests have seen the kolanuts presented and then again the host will proceed to perform the rites of blessing and breaking of the kolanuts or in other cases the host bless the kolanuts and then assign the youngest member of the family with the task of the breaking, after which it is return to the elder for the prayers and blessings. The “eyes of the kolanuts” is offer to the Ancestral spirits and the deities, by throwing it on the ground for the gods; he then takes a piece of the kolanuts, dips it in “Okwa ose or ose Oji” and eats before the visiting guests are served.
The Blessings Of The Kolanuts:- The kolanuts for the Igbos is and will always be celebrated with all the deserving feast just short of a mini festivals of colors, with glamour, respect and incantations. The Ndigbos believed that the gods of the kolanuts understand only the Igbo dialects which is “Oji Anaghi Anu Oyibo” meaning that the kolanuts does not hear, speak or understand the English language. So prayers and blessings must be in the Igbo dialects. The blessings of the kolanuts is done in Igbo dialects for the Ndigbos; It is important to note that the kolanuts must always be prayed upon and blessed before it’s breaking, spliting or eating; the blessings of the kolanuts for the igbo people is the duty of the eldest in the gathering or highest in status such as the king but in most cases the king may decide to pass the right of duty to the eldest member in the gathering or the “man of god” such as a pastor or imam, the kolanuts breaking must be blessed with prayers first for peace, properity, long life, protection, joy, and success in all wishes. The Igbo break the kolanut with a knife as a mark of respect and honour but the Hausa are known to break the kolanut with their bare hands. The kolanut is sacred in Igbo land reason why women are forbidden from planting, climbing, plucking or breaking the kolanuts but women can break the kolanuts during an all women gatherings with no man in attendance, the women must not also take kolanuts from the plate directly.
While others prefer the eldest at all gatherings to break the kolanuts within the Ndigbo others go for the youngest person to perform the rites of the kolanuts breaking, believing that kids are pure in spirit and that only purity of heart and souls breaks the nuts which symbolises life. Again in Igboland some communities forbids a person to break the kolanuts when his in-laws are in attendance which if performed is a sign of disrespect and the eldest in any cultural gathering must be the first to pick from the kolanuts platter.
The Hausa Of Northern Nigeria Celebrating The Kolanuts:- The kolanuts are highly respected and prestigious for the Hausas eventhough its trees are domesticated and mostly grown on the lands of the Yorubas, then transported for trading in the northern parts of Nigeria. The Hausa kolanuts have names such as mai hula, kurma, dagbaja, danyen goro, sabon goro, daushe, fari, ja, jan-fari, kore, dan ankara, dan shagamu and dan-gwanja consisting of two, three, four to five lobes with a slightly bitter taste, some have a bland taste and others are slimy while chewing it; the maroon colored aged kolanuts “Daushe” is the most expensive while the “Dan Ankara” is the white kolanuts. The kolanuts are presented in almost all important gatherings in northern Nigeria such as during introduction when seeking permission to court a lady, the engagement, fixing of the wedding date, a must presented during the tying of the nuptial knots popularly referred to as Nikah or wedding fatiha to share as a token amongst all invited guests, friends and families. It is presented during the symbolic “bathing” of the bride on her wedding day which she must chew while she is being bath, and the kolanuts are also given to the bride-to-be hairdresser. The kolanuts and some amount of money are presented before the bride can be taken away from her parents home; the kolanuts are the first gift presented to the new bride upon stepping into her new home by the groom which signifies welcome, love, acceptance, unity and peace; and she must be presented the kolanuts before the groom unveils her, it is used to seek her first words before she can speak to her new families.
It is also a gift that is given to family members that accompany the bridal things and decorated the bride’s apartment. The day that follows the first night of the new couples, the groom and groom’s friends pay a thank you visit to the bride’s parents and there again kolanuts and other beautiful gifts are exchanged by the family of the bride to the visiting groom and friends. The groom must make provision of the kolanuts for his bride to welcome and share with visiting guests coming in to welcome her to the new home, it is called “Goron Amarci” and every friday the “Goron Jumaa” is a must presented friday gift to his bride which consists of kolanuts, perfumes, and cash money to fix her hair. Sallah celebration is an important feast in the lives of every family and the kolanuts are provided as “Goron Sallah” for visiting guests.
The Kolanuts During Weddings And Birthing In Northern Nigeria:-
The culture of Hausa birthing of the new born takes along with it the kolanuts every step of the way; it is a prominent gift that must be given to anyone who announces the birth of a baby to the new father and other family members, the midwive or ungozoma who assist in the birthing is given a gift of kolanuts and other items. The kolanuts, sweets, and other native delicacies are packaged in tiny sachet which are sent out to friends, neighbours and wellwishers inviting them to the naming of the newborn child; the husband and his family will formally present kolanuts to the new mother and her family as a thank you gift, during the naming of the child, kolanuts are presented to the officiating Ulamas, guests and beggars as a symbol of love and happiness.
The kolanut is a highly respected gifts for one’s parents and relatives; in most homes the kolanuts must be eaten after every meal not just as a dessert but as a follow up to the meal while others do not bother much about eating food as long as there is the kolanuts to chew. It is forbidden for one to pick or eat kolanuts found around on the ground due to the mystical belief that it might have been used for spiritual purposes and any one that picks or eat it might be affected or afflicted by the evil spirits shrounding the kolanuts; in northern Nigeria; a life lesson taught to all early in life is “never pick or eat kolanuts thrown on the ground”.
The kolanuts is an international trade commordity with a booming trade market all over nigeria; The prices of the kolanuts in the Nigeria markets are determine by the demand and supply so when demands are high with low supply the price goes up, the excess supply irrespective of the demands for it never affects the price. The buying and selling of the kolanuts is predominantly the business of the people of northen Nigeria; who mostly buy and sell in bulk packaged in native sacks called “Algarara” which contain about “Kwarya Biyar” meaning that it consists of 5 calabashes which is about 500 pieces, a rafia baskets or cartons is about 200-300 pieces called “Kwarya Biyu ko Uku”, the 100 pieces of the kolanuts is called “Kwarya-Kwarya” and the half of it is called “Rabin Kwarya” about 50 pieces. The kolanuts are found packaged together with both small, big pieces and the kolanuts eaten partly by weevils or insects are at times mixed up with the good pieces. The kolanuts business in the north of Nigeria comes in three forms with traders who sell in sack bags at the markets places at times giving out to hawkers in pieces to sell, while some are known to journey from community to communities all around city centers to supply the kolanuts to traders and the third category are kolanut traders mostly stationed at every worship centers displaying their wares on traditional mats, or on the wooden table tops. Some elderly kolanut retailers sell in their homes to buyers only on request while it is hawked around by men, display for sale under the shades of trees by men and women, often times kids are seen around with trays of kolanuts, lemon and sweets selling along major roads, parks and moving from house to house in search of buyers. Kolanuts are given to witnesses during a contractual agreements or transactions as part of the gains of business.
The Kolanuts Health Benefits:-
The kolanuts is culturally significant, economically vital with excellently amazing health benefits; in traditional medicine, the kolanut plants can be use for preventive remedies and cure. The kolanuts leaves, barks, twigs, fruits and flowers can be used as remedy or cure for various ailments; the bark extracts protects against dangerous bacteria and it is a very potent fertility regulator. The nutrients loads of kolanuts is high, it is a good source of Vitamin B; thiamine, riboflavin, niacin others includes protein, starch and sugar. The kolanuts extracts is high in the stimulants of caffeine theobromine, kolatin, and glucose which assist in alleviating thirst and hunger, treats fatigue by boosting energy and increase alertness thereby warding off sleep for longer wakefulness but always remember to never eat or ingest the kolanuts during bedtime to avoid insomnia. The Hausa of northern Nigeria have a deep believe in the kola nuts as a potent remedy for headaches, migraines, nausea and dizziness; a favorite brunch snack for in between meals; that is often served with meals in northern Nigeria to help stimulate the appetite before meals and to also enhance the taste of the food to be eaten, at times eaten after meals for digestion and to avoid nausea or vomiting after a meal. A lot of Nigerian believe that chewing the kola nuts especially bitter kola strengthens and improves ventilations of the human lungs in order to function optimally and with it’s protective effects that helps to prevent any sort of respiratory disorders like asthma. While many others believe that it helps to enhance intellectual activity, suppresses cough, relief various problems affecting the guts, sweetens stale water, a prized gifts for the Arabs and above all combating cowardice for the warriors.
The bitter kola nuts has been used since the ancient days for both traditional and medicinal purposes; the bitter kola is used for cultural rituals, spiritual cleansings, it acts as a tonic, stimulant, astringent, decongestant, anti-inflammatory. The bitter kola contains antioxidants which offer a lot of important assistance and massive supports to the body’s immune system; with an antimalarial properties reason why herbal medicines use the bitter kola in the treatment of malaria infections and most rural dwellers in Nigeria use it to treat such ailments. The bitter kola nuts seeds, and leaves has a load of antibacterial properties which can stop harmful bacteria growth, the extracts of Saponins and Tannin can inhibits any micro-organisms effectively; the plant of the bitter kola can reduce inflammation, pains and increase smooth joint movement of people suffering from osteoarthritis. The bitter kola for many especially the men is considered to stimulates or enhance libido as an aphrodisiac and to also reduce the risks of prostate cancer. It is an essential for weight loss because chewing it suppresses the appetite, which leads to less cravings to eat and hence the weight loss.
The bitter kola nuts helps to reduce the pressure in the eyeball of patients with glaucoma but it is always advisable for patients to seek professional medical treatment.
The bitter kola is an anti-poison and with an amazing ability to repel the evil spirits; the combination of the bitter kola and honey is an awesome mix with excellent healing properties because both contain natural antibiotics for the treatments and remedy of sore throat, acne, and many more healing powers of the body, spirits and souls. A powerful protective tool in the spirit world for suppressing enemies.
Adverse Effects Of Kola Nuts:-
The stimulants in bitter kola can increase the blood pressure especially in people suffering from high blood pressure and they are warned to avoid the eating or use of the bitter kola; too much caffeine can be dangerous leading to fatal side effects, so for healthy living it is advisable to avoid it.
The caffeine in bitter-kola can hinder a good sleep, which increases one’s alertness leading to insomnia. The excess eating of the bitter kola also causes diarrhea and can slow blood clotting in injured persons. The frequent eating of the bitter-kola can affects the nervous system resulting into shakiness, quivering and anxiousness which may eventually cause a mental breakdown due to tremor, an involuntary movement. The kola nuts as a whole has an amazing and great loads of herbal potency and must not be eaten or use while on medications. Amongst other adverse effects of the kola nuts includes high level of toxicity due to it’s high level of nicotine-caffeine. The bitter kola and all kola nuts in general must be eaten in moderation to avoid it’s adverse effects; it is best to completely avoid it after surgeries or injuries to avoid a dangerous and life threatening situations.
Sustainability Of The Kola Nuts In Nigeria:- The conversion and use of the kola nut husks into beneficial products will reduce the dependence on a lot of imported goods which may help improve the Nigeria economy through industrialization and job creations for the ever growing youth populations. The conversion of the kola nut wastes can help greatly in benefiting the communities in many ways and it is a means to attaining the Sustainable Developmental Goals and the protection of Mother Earth from damage and harms caused by the activities of humans within this communities. The kola nuts fruits residues can be converted to benefit the Economic and Environmental sectors by turning all “Wastes to Wealth” which can be used for soaps, animal feeds, Biogas production and many more products with amazing economic importance. The use of natural alkali as against the use of synthetic alkali for the production of cleaning agents such as soaps will contribute to the enhancement of environment and health sustainability by using environmental friendly products. The kola nut husks can be used to produce good Biogas yield, that will provide energy for cooking, lighting, heating, job creation, reduce air pollution and a great solution to waste management; also creating employment opportunities and protecting the environment.
An abundant waste in kola nuts liters all over Nigeria communities where the kola nuts trees are domesticated and the kola nuts business thrives, this process will help immensely to safeguard mother earth from the looming climate change, and also assisting in achieving most of the Sustainable Developmental Goals as an economic source and solution to the climate crisis. The kola nuts trade promises a great economic prospects for export to countries where it is required for drinks and pharmaceutical products.
The kola nuts is a unifying fruits for all Nigerians, for any new visitor coming into Nigeria that is journeying across from the southern parts through to the northern parts, going on a trip to the eastern parts all the way to the western land of the Yoruba kingdom one single fruit stands out. The KOLANUT is a unique seed that unite all experiences, sights, sounds and still remain a take-away souvenir of the unity in diversity of the giant of Africa, the land of fulfilling dreams, the Nigeria Nation. The kola nut is the light of peace, purity and prosperity, the pathway to the ancestors gone to the great beyond, and the only ancient compass through the journey of life for the future generations.
The kola nuts are worthy of adding to life living, for hospitality and healthy relationships; Kola nuts are a valued gift which signifies a valuable friendship, and for all its worth in healthy daily diet always use in moderation to gain its benefits. Seeking for the best out of life then split and share the kola nuts and get a splash of endless blessings. A Yoruba proverb which says “The kola nut lasts longer in the mouth of the one who cherishes it.” A Hausa proverbs so popular are “Karamin goro ya fi babban dutse” meaning a tiny gift of kola nut is much more precious than a stone; “Inda aka san darajar Goro nan ake nema masa ganye.” meaning that what you value you protect.
Only the tongue that taste and tell the truth can savor the secret of the kola nuts; it’s beauty and blessings are for the pure of heart to pray upon for the blessings of the kola nuts. Only the hands of purity can break the kola nuts to unveil and behold its magic. One must believe, hold gently, and lovingly to unwrap the Nigeria kolanut from the tree of life, in it’s folded, wetted dried leaves, to present a precious gift for the gods who bestow on it bearers unity, peace and love. The Kolanut is an heavenly gift; split and share the fruits of life with the world!