Scientific name: Cola nitida

Common names:

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:

Rain Forest names:

Family: Sterculiaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Seed


Annual/Perennial: Perennial


Actions: anti-depressive, astrigent, diuretic, stimulant

Known Constituents:  Alkaloids including over 1% caffiene and theobromine, tannin

Constituents Explained:


Traditional Use:

Used as a stimulant, and in cases of prolonged system exhaution.  Used to induce euphoria. It seems to have an effect on relieving migraines.  It euphoric actions has seen it enlisted in the health with depression.

Clinical Studies:

In an infection, polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) become activated and they produce oxidizing compounds and elastase in the extracellular medium. Alpha-1-proteinase inhibitor (alpha1PI), a protease inhibitor which is inactivated by oxidants, is the main endogenous inhibitor of elastase helping to limit excessive elastase activity.

A study evaluated the ability of a plant extract, Cola nitida nuts, to protect alpha1PI from inactivation by oxidizing compounds as reactive oxygen species. On the one hand, the direct effect of cola nut extract on neutrophil elastase, and on the H(2)O(2) and myeloperoxidase (MPO)-H(2)O(2) system via cell-free systems was also evaluated.

Results showed that cola nut extract scavenges H(2)O(2) and therefore protects alpha1PI from HOCl which is produced from the MPO-H(2)O(2) system. Experiments also showed that cola extract has the capacity to limit elastase activity.

On the other hand, this study have worked on cellular systems including isolated PMN with the aim to study the effect of cola extract on PMN metabolism. PMN were stimulated with PMA, calcium ionophore or fMLP.

Each stimulant possesses its own stimulation pathway. According to the inhibitory concentration obtained at 50%, the results on cellular systems led to the conclusion that cola extract can reduce elastase liberation from PMN.

It can then be concluded that cola nut extract can protect alpha1PI from inactivation, and has an effect both on elastase liberation and elastase activity.


Daels-Rokotoarison DA, Kouakou G, Gressier B, Dine T, Brunet C, Luyckx M, Bailleul F, Trotin F. “Effects Of A Caffeine-Free Cola Nitida Nuts Extract On Elastase/ Alpha-1-Proteinase Inhibitor Balance.” 2003 November http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14522446