A tree of the family sterculiaceae, that grows in the southern part of West Africa. The kola nut is one of the most important recreational drugs of Africa and has cultural meaning beyond that.
Use: What is used are the dried seeds of the kola tree, which are available as “Kola nuts”. The nut is chewed or if ground, eaten. Beverages can be made out of the powder. A particularly good combination is kola with guarana; while kola acts relatively quickly, the longer lasting guarana stabilizes this effect.
Active constituents: Mostly caffeine. It is always pointed out that the effect of a particular amount of kola nut powder is stronger, than can be explained by the caffeine-content alone. This is caused by the linkage of caffeine to kolatin. Due to an enzyme present in the nut, this complex looses effect as time passes; that is only nut-products are effective, which were made from nuts, in which this enzyme was inactivated by means of heat (stabilized nuts).
Effects: The kola nut acts stimulating and removes sleepiness like coffee (see also there). There are also reports about an increased physical performance and at the same time a higher fatigue strength; appetite suppressing und euphoriant effects are also reported. While these effects can be considered as guaranteed, the aphrodisiac effect that is occasionally claimed is questionable. The kola nut is surely an interesting more money-saving alternative to guarana. Aside from this many prefer the taste of kola nut powder mixed with water, rather than guarana.
Side Effects: The side effects correspond to those of coffee; during longer high-dosed use it can come to nervousness, insomnia, circulatory complaints and habituation.
Suppliers: Powdered nuts and products made from kola can be found in drugstores and herbal stores.