This plant is a highly valued ingredient in African traditional medicine. Throughout West Africa it has been employed in folk medicine as rejuvenating agent and general antidote. Confirmatory discoveries have recently been made by researchers working in prestigious medical research facilities in the United States and elsewhere. In this work, bitter kola seeds have been shown to contain a complex mixture of biflavonoids, benzophenones, and xanthones. The biflavonoids have demonstrated many pharmacological effects, among them antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, bronchodilator, and antihepatotoxic properties. The benzophenones showed antimicrobial activity in other studies. Some proprietary dietary supplements containing Garcinia kola extractives already exist in African and Western markets.
Among the myriad African Garcinia species, a sampling of the “best known” includes:
Garcinia afzelii West tropical Africa, fruits chewed like cola.
Garcinia buchananii Tropical Africa.
Garcinia buchneri Southern tropical Africa.
Garcinia cernua Voahandrintsahona. Madagascar.
Garcinia conrauana Southern tropical Africa.
Garcinia gerrardii Umbini. Large shrub of Natal and adjacent territory. The fruits are orange, ovoid, and big (up to 2.5 cm long).
Garcinia huillensis Yellow plum-like fruits; juicy yellow flesh.
Garcinia kingaensis Excellent fruits, but very acid.
Garcinia ovalifolia Tropical Africa.
Garcinia polyantha Tropical Africa.
Garcinia wentzeliana Mogola. This woody climber of tropical Africa, bears sweet, juicy, agreeable fruits that look like grapes.