Historical Cultivation And Usage

Historically, Garcinia kola has been cultivated as an ideal tree for shade around homesteads, and twigs are used as chewing sticks because of their bitter taste and the antibacterial activities

GB1 GB2

Kolaflavanone

OH H

OH H

OH H

Kolaviron

OH OH OCH

FIGURE 26.1

The plant Garcinia kola (Guttiferae), from which kolaviron (Garcinia biflavonoid) is derived, and its structure.

of the extracts (Taiwo et al., 1999). In Nigeria, low populations of G. kola are found in domestic gardens, and few stands are found in the wild due to the rapid deforestation and heavy exploitation of the natural forests.

Garcinia kola seed plays a very important role in African ethno-medicine. The seed is employed as a general tonic, and is believed to cure impotence. Traditionally, the seeds are used in the treatment of inflammatory disorders and liver disease. Extracts of the seeds led to remarkable improvement of liver function in patients with chronic hepatitis and cholangitis after treatment for 14 days at a Nigerian herbal home (Iwu, 1982). Other medicinal uses include as a purgative, an antiparasitic, an antimicrobial, and an antiviral. The seeds are used in the treatment of bronchitis and throat infections, and to prevent and relieve colic, cure head or chest colds, and relieve coughs (Figure 26.2). Constituents include xanthones and benzophenones. The antimicrobial properties of this plant are attributed to the benzophenone flavanones, while the hepatoprotective properties have been linked to the biflavonoid constituents of the plant. Specifically, a de-fatted fraction of an alcoholic extract of Garcinia kola seeds, characterized as kolaviron (a biflavonoid complex containing GB1, GB2, and kolaflavanone) (Figure 26.1), has been demonstrated to possess antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties (Iwu, 1985).

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