• The seed of bitter kola, a member of the genus Garcinia, is a lesser known plant food that is chewed not necessarily for its food value but rather for its curative properties.
• Bitter kola seed is used in folk medicine in the treatment and management of a spectrum of disease conditions.
• Using standard procedures, pharmacological and antimicrobial activities of bitter kola seed have been established.
• The bioactive components of bitter kola seed exhibit antioxidative activity.
• A comparison of the traditional applications of bitter kola seed with the available scientific bases for activity showed a gross imbalance, which signals the need for extensive further investigation. 219
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