Cola vera (or Cola nitada)
The seed of the 40-foot kola tree, source of the world's most popular soft drink flavoring, is a stimulant that herbalists prescribe for overall mental fatigue or depression. It is in addition used to treat diarrhea caused by nervousness; headaches; motion sickness; and loss of appetite. Medical evidence suggests that the herb also may open the bronchial passages, helping asthmatics to breathe more easily. The effective ingredient in kola is caffeine; kola nuts contain more in proportion than coffee beans, although cola beverages generally contain considerably less caffeine than coffee.
Kola has a long history of medicinal use in West Africa. Brought to the Americas by slaves, it earned a reputation among 19th-century practitioners as a treatment for depression, diarrhea, pneumonia, migraine headaches, morning sickness and typhoid fever.
Over the counter:
Available in dry bulk, capsules and tinctures.
Soft drinks containing kola (or cola) syrups are probably the easiest way to use the herb medicinally, especially for children.
Decoction: 1/2 tsp. powdered seeds boiled and simmered in 1 cup water for 10 minutes.
Combinations: For depression, mixed with any or all of the following: oats, damiana and skullcap.