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COLA NUT

Other Names:

Arbre à Cola, Arbre à Kola, Bissey Nut, Bissy Nut, Cola acuminata, Cola nitida, Guru Nut, Gworo, Kola Nut, Kolatier, Noix de Cola, Noix de Gourou, Noix de Kola, Noix du Kolatier, Noix de Soudan, Noix du Soudan, Nuez de Cola, Soudan Coffee, Sterc...
See All Names

 Overview
 Uses
 Side Effects
 Interactions
 Dosing
Overview Information

Cola nut is the seed of the cola nut plant. Cola nut is used widely in Nigeria and many West African countries as part of traditional hospitality, cultural, and social ceremonies. It is also used to make medicine.

Cola nut is used for short-term relief of fatigue, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), melancholy, lack of normal muscle tone (atony), exhaustion, dysentery, a type of diarrhea called atonic diarrhea, weight loss, and migraineheadaches.

In foods and beverages, cola nut is used as a flavoring ingredient.

How does it work?

Cola nut contains caffeine. Caffeine works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), heart, and muscles.

Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Weight loss. Some research, sponsored by a product manufacturer, suggests that cola nut in combination with ephedra and willow bark might cause modest weight loss in overweight and obese people. But this combination might not be appropriate for weight loss due to safety concerns related to ephedra. Ephedra is banned in the U.S. due to severe adverse effects.
  • Depression.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
  • Dysentery.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Anorexia.
  • Migraines.
  • Mental and physical fatigue.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cola nut for these uses.


Side Effects & Safety

Cola nut seems to be safe for most people in amounts found in foods. If used medicinally in larger amounts or for a long period of time, it may be unsafe. Chewing cola nut is associated with an increased risk of mouth cancer and gastrointestinal cancer.

The caffeine in cola nut can cause insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea and vomiting, increased heart rate and respiration, and other side effects. Large amounts might cause headache, anxiety, agitation, ringing in the ears, and irregular heartbeats. Stopping the use of caffeine suddenly can sometimes result in headaches, irritation, nervousness, anxiety, and dizziness. Bear in mind that very high doses of caffeine can cause death. The fatal dose is estimated to be about 10-14 grams; that’s 150-200 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Cola nut might be safe during pregnancy in food amounts. But larger amounts might provide too much caffeine. Mothers should keep caffeine consumption below 200 mg per day. This is similar to the amount of caffeine found in about 2 cups of coffee or tea. Consuming larger amounts during pregnancy might increase the chance of miscarriage, early delivery, and low birth weight. Caffeine passes into breast milk, so nursing mothers should closely monitor cola nut intake to make sure it is on the low side. Caffeine from cola nut can cause sleep disturbances, irritability, and increased bowel activity in breast-fed infants.

Anxiety disorders: The caffeine in cola nut might make anxiety disorders worse.

Bleeding disorders: Cola nut contains caffeine, which might slow blood clotting. This makes some experts worry that cola nut might make bleeding disorders worse.

Heart conditions: Caffeine in cola nut can cause irregular heartbeat in certain people. Use cola nut with care if you have a heart condition.

Diabetes: Cola nut contains caffeine. Caffeine may increase or decrease blood sugar. Use cola nut with caution if you have diabetes.

Glaucoma: The caffeine in cola nut can increase pressure inside the eye. The increase occurs within 30 minutes and persists for at least 90 minutes.

High blood pressure: The caffeine in cola nut might increase blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. However, this doesn't seem to occur in people who regularly consume cola nut or other products that contain caffeine.

Weak bones (osteoporosis): The caffeine in cola nut can increase the amount of calcium that is flushed out in the urine. If you have osteoporosis or low bone density, caffeine should be limited to less than 300 mg per day (approximately 2-3 cups of coffee). It’s also a good idea to get extra calcium to make up for the amount that may be lost in the urine. Older women with an inherited disorder that affects the way vitamin D is used should use caffeine with caution. Vitamin D works with calcium to build bones.

Surgery: Cola nut might affect blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using cola nut at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions What is this?

Major Interaction Do not take this combination

  • Amphetamines interacts with COLA NUT

    Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in cola nut might also speed up the nervous system. Taking caffeine along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with caffeine.

  • Cocaine interacts with COLA NUT

    Stimulant drugs such as cocaine speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in cola nut might also speed up the nervous system. Taking caffeine along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with cola nut.

  • Ephedrine interacts with COLA NUT

    Stimulant drugs speed up the nervous system. The caffeine in cola nut and ephedrine are both stimulant drugs. Taking caffeine along with ephedrine might cause too much stimulation and sometimes serious side effects and heart problems. Do not take caffeine-containing products and ephedrine at the same time.


Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Alcohol interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down the caffeine in cola nut to get rid of it. Alcohol can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking cola nut along with alcohol might cause too much caffeine in the bloodstream and caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, and fast heartbeat.

  • Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics) interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down the caffeine in cola nut to get rid of it. Some antibiotics might decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking these antibiotics along with cola nut can increase the risk of side effects including jitteriness, headache, increased heart rate, and other side effects.

    Some antibiotics that decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), enoxacin (Penetrex), norfloxacin (Chibroxin, Noroxin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), trovafloxacin (Trovan), and grepafloxacin (Raxar).

  • Clozapine (Clozaril) interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down clozapine (Clozaril) to get rid of it. The caffeine in cola nut seems to decrease how quickly the body breaks down clozapine (Clozaril). Taking cola nut along with clozapine (Clozaril) can increase the effects and side effects of clozapine (Clozaril).

  • Dipyridamole (Persantine) interacts with COLA NUT

    Cola nut contains caffeine. The caffeine in cola nut might block the affects of dipyridamole (Persantine). Dipyridamole (Persantine) is often used by doctors to do a test on the heart. This test is called a cardiac stress test. Stop consuming cola nut or other caffeine-containing products at least 24 hours before a cardiac stress test.

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down the caffeine in cola nut to get rid of it. Disulfiram (Antabuse) can decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking cola nut along with disulfiram (Antabuse) might increase the effects and side effects of caffeine including jitteriness, hyperactivity, irritability, and others.

  • Estrogens interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down the caffeine in cola nut to get rid of it. Estrogens can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking estrogens along with cola nut can cause jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and other side effects. If you take estrogens limit your caffeine intake.

    Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox) interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down the caffeine in cola nut to get rid of it. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking caffeine along with fluvoxamine (Luvox) might cause too much caffeine in the body, and increase the effects and side effects of caffeine.

  • Lithium interacts with COLA NUT

    You body naturally gets rid of lithium. The caffeine in cola nut can increase how quickly your body gets rid of lithium. If you take products that contain caffeine and you take lithium, stop taking caffeine products slowly. Stopping caffeine too quickly can increase the side effects of lithium.

  • Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with COLA NUT

    Cola nut contains caffeine. Caffeine can stimulate the body. Some medications used for depression can also stimulate the body. Taking cola nut with these medications used for depression might cause too much stimulation. This could cause serious side effects including fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, nervousness, and others.

    Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

  • Nicotine interacts with COLA NUT

    Stimulant drugs such as nicotine speed up the nervous system. By speeding up the nervous system, stimulant medications can make you feel jittery and increase your heart rate. The caffeine in cola nut might also speed up the nervous system. Taking caffeine along with stimulant drugs might cause serious problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure. Avoid taking stimulant drugs along with caffeine.

  • Pentobarbital (Nembutal) interacts with COLA NUT

    The stimulant effects of the caffeine in cola nut can block the sleep-producing effects of pentobarbital.

  • Phenylpropanolamine interacts with COLA NUT

    The caffeine in cola nut can stimulate the body. Phenylpropanolamine can also stimulate the body. Taking cola nut along with phenylpropanolamine might cause too much stimulation and increase heartbeat, blood pressure, and cause nervousness.

  • Riluzole (Rilutek) interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down riluzole (Rilutek) to get rid of it. Taking cola nut can decrease how fast the body breaks down riluzole (Rilutek) and increase the effects and side effects of riluzole.

  • Theophylline interacts with COLA NUT

    Cola nut contains caffeine. Caffeine works similarly to theophylline. Caffeine can also decrease how quickly the body gets rid of theophylline. Taking cola nut along with theophylline might increase the effects and side effects of theophylline.

  • Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down the caffeine in cola nut to get rid of it. Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) can decrease how fast the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking cola nut along with verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) can increase the risk of side effects from caffeine including jitteriness, headache, and an increased heartbeat.


Minor Interaction Be watchful with this combination

  • Adenosine (Adenocard) interacts with COLA NUT

    Cola nut contains caffeine. The caffeine in cola nut might block the affects of adenosine (Adenocard). Adenosine (Adenocard) is often used by doctors to do a test on the heart. This test is called a cardiac stress test. Stop consuming cola nut or other caffeine-containing products at least 24 hours before a cardiac stress test.

  • Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs) interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down the caffeine in cola nut to get rid of it. Birth control pills can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking cola nut along with birth control pills can cause jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and other side effects.

    Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.

  • Cimetidine (Tagamet) interacts with COLA NUT

    The body breaks down the caffeine in cola nut to get rid of it. Cimetidine (Tagamet) can decrease how quickly your body breaks down caffeine. Taking cimetidine (Tagamet) along with cola nut might increase the chance of caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, fast heartbeat, and others.

  • Fluconazole (Diflucan) interacts with COLA NUT

    Cola nut contains caffeine. The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Fluconazole (Diflucan) might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine. This could cause caffeine to stay in to body too long and increase the risk of side effects such as nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia.

  • Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with COLA NUT

    Cola nut might increase blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. By increasing blood sugar, cola nut might decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

    Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

  • Mexiletine (Mexitil) interacts with COLA NUT

    Cola nut contains caffeine. The body breaks down caffeine to get rid of it. Mexiletine (Mexitil) can decrease how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. Taking cola nut along with mexiletine (Mexitil) might increase the effects and side effects of caffeine.

  • Terbinafine (Lamisil) interacts with COLA NUT

    Cola nut contains caffeine. The body breaks down the caffeine in cola nut to get rid of it. Terbinafine (Lamisil) can decrease how fast the body gets rid of caffeine. Taking cola nut along with terbinafine (Lamisil) can increase the risk of caffeine side effects including jitteriness, headache, and an increased heartbeat.


Dosing

The appropriate dose of cola nut depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cola nut. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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