A picture of kola nuts - kola nut refers to the species Cola nitida and Cola acuminata in this article.

Simon’s Kola Nut Guide

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The kola nut is the fruit of the kola tree. The tree itself is native to the tropical rainforests of Africa. It’s important to note, that the Cola genus, which is part of the Sterculiaceae family, contains over 120 species of trees. The two most widely used and cultivated species in the genus are Cola acuminata and Cola nitida. This is because their fruits are easily edible and taste good – unlike many other trees in the genus, the fruits of which are hard and inedible. These are also the two species with by far the most economic importance. 

Kola nuts contain considerable amounts of caffeine and theobromine –  both recognised stimulants. They are therefore widely embraced in their native lands as a legal, natural stimulants.

In the western world, kola nut is mostly known as the flavouring ingredient in beverages, mainly the legendary drink Coca Cola, which in fact got its name after it. However, kola nut hasn’t gained much popularity in this part of the world as a stimulant.

If you come across commercially available kola nut on the internet, there’s a good chance, that its gonna be either Cola nitida or Cola acuminata. These are also the species with the highest caffeine and theobromine content, and therefore they have the most potent, natural stimulating effects.



Interesting facts about kola nut:


Kola nut plays a very important role in Nigerian culture. Even though the country has a population of over 180 million and over 500 ethnic groups present between its borders, the veneration of kola nut is shared by the vast majority of its inhabitants, regardless of ethnicity or status.

The kola nut is a central element in different rituals – both traditional and christian – even in contemporary Nigerian culture. Ceremonies of birth and death, marriage and divorce, all include some form of ritual cola nut consumption. It is even presented on events of political rallies and also used in sanctifying the ground for ordination of priests and in the invocation of the gods.

Amongst peoples of Nigeria, kola nut plays the most important role in the lives of the Igbos – an ethnic group in the country which represent 18% of its total population. They use kola nuts in, for instance, social rituals of hospitality as welcome offerings to guests.

A picture of an Igbo kola nut welcoming ceremony.
An igbo kola nut welcoming ceremony.



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Kola nut guide




Kola nut – legal status


Kola nut doesn’t contain any illegal substances. There is also no indication of any country or state, where any restrictions exist on its use or cultivation.

It appears to be legal everywhere. If you have conflicting information, feel free to share it in the comments section below!



Buy kola nuts


It is a relatively easy-to-obtain, potent and not terribly expensive legal stimulant. You can buy it at many stores online. However, for maximum effects, it’s best if you buy kola nut extract.

Buy kola nut – US

I cannot currently recommend any shops to buy kola nut extract from the US.

Buy kola nut – Europe, Netherlands


A picture of kola nut extract. You can order it from the Netherlands.
Buy kola nut extract from the Netherlands

I recommend buying kola nut extract (Cola nitida) from the following place:

Buy kola nut (Cola nitida) extract /shipped from the Netherlands/



Main active ingredients of kola nut


The main active ingredients in kola nut are caffeine and theobromine. Both are recognised stimulants and can be also found in cocoa beans and powder (also chocolate and other foods prepared from cocoa).

The structure of theobromine - one of the main active ingredients in kola nuts (studies on their chemical content were conducted mainly on Cola acuminata and Cola nitida).
Theobromine – an active ingredient in kola nut

The structure of caffeine - the main active ingredient in kola nuts (studies on their chemical content were conducted mainly on Cola nitida and Cola acuminata)
Caffeine – the main ingredient in kola nut

Herbal medicinal preparations of kola nut extract are typically standardised for a caffeine and theobromine content of approx. 1,5-2,5%. However, depending on the variety of nut characterised, as
well as the treatment of the kola nut, caffeine content can reportedly vary between 1,5% and 3,8%.

Source: Safety assessment of kola nut extract as a food ingredient



The effects of kola nut


As the main active ingredient in kola nuts is caffeine, its effects are almost identical to that of caffeine. All of us (at least, coffee drinkers) are familiar with these effects, that include:

  • stimulation of the central nervous system (can alleviate symptoms of depression)
  • improved mental alertness
  • restored vitality – kola nuts are instant energisers
  • generally improved mood
  • in some cases, they reportedly boost libido

Kola nut contains more caffeine than coffee – approx. 3 times more and its effects are slightly different. In one reported experience, a user talked about a “mild bodily buzz”, unlike anything caused by coffee.

Source: The Miracle of Nuts Seeds and Grains – The Scientific Facts About the Nutritional Properties and Medicinal Values of Nuts, Seeds and Grains



Dangers of kola nut


Kola nut is generally considered safe. All the possible adverse effects of kola nuts are associated with their high caffeine content. Consumed in normal amounts, neither kola nut nor coffee, or any other stimulants do any harm. However, excessive caffeine intake can result in unpleasant symptoms, such as (according to the FDA):

  • Make you jittery and shaky
  • Make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get a good night’s sleep
  • Make your heart beat faster
  • Cause an uneven heart rhythm
  • Raise your blood pressure
  • Cause headaches, nervousness, and/or dizziness
  • Make you dehydrated (dried out) especially after a workout
  • Make you dependent on it so you need to take more of it

Caffeine also induces an increased gastric acid secretion, which may cause unpleasant symptoms for people suffering from stomach ulcers.

Caffeine overdose can lead to vomiting blood and cardiac arrest.

Any caffeine or stimulant should be avoided in the case of high blood pressure, or other cardiovascular conditions and pregnancy.

Source: FDA – Medicines in my Home: Caffeine and Your Body  



Kola nut health benefits


Kola nut has many reported health benefits. The more obvious ones of these are associated with its caffeine content and its properties as a stimulant. Cola nut’s benefits include:

  • alleviates symptoms of depression
  • induces weight loss by decreasing appetite
  • relieves migraine headaches
  • corrects diarrhoea caused by nervousness
  • aids digestion by increasing gastric acid secretion
  • expands the airway passages, thus relieving asthma attacks
  • has diuretic effects

Source: The Miracle of Nuts Seeds and Grains – The Scientific Facts About the Nutritional Properties and Medicinal Values of Nuts, Seeds and Grains



Kola nut – consumption, preparation


While the most easy and straightforward way to consume cola nuts is to eat them as they are, a more pleasant way of consumption is to brew a kind of tea from ground kola nuts or kola nut extract.

To prepare this beverage, you only have to put the ground nuts or extract in hot water and let it soak for around 15 mins. Than drink it without straining the liquid.

A shop I know that sells kola nut (Cola nitida) extract recommends 1 tablespoon of extract for light, 2 tablespoons for medium and 3 for strong effects. The extract is around 10x, so if you have plain, ground nuts, you’ll have to use significantly more.

These are, of course the average doses. If you weigh significantly more or less than the average person, you might need to adjust the dose.

You will experience effects similar to those after drinking a nice, big cup of hot coffee. However, kola nut – especially the extract – is reportedly much stronger. If you like the effects of caffeine in general, you will definitely enjoy this!


Buy kola nut – US


I cannot currently recommend any shop to buy kola nut extract from the US.


Buy kola nut – Europe, Netherlands


You can buy kola nut extract (Cola nitida) in Europe from the following place:

Buy kola nut (Cola nitida) extract /shipped from the Netherlands/



Kola nut experiences


I only found one experience report of kola nut online that appeared to be valid. I’ll included an excerpt from it below:

“Attempting to put them in a coffee maker resulted in disaster, but putting one part cola and 4 parts water in a sauce pan turned out a fragrant, pleasant tasting decoction which provided effects not unlike caffeine.

The major difference from tablet caffeine and caffeinated beverages is a distinct ‘body buzz’. I know the Kola Nut has kicked in when my back muscles start tensing up. Not mentally stimulating at all. I can understand why kola nuts have been chewed by labourers for hundreds of years. Also dubbed and aphrodisiac, which doesn’t surprise me at all.

Kola nut turns the brain off and the body on.”

Source: Erowid Experience Vault – Kola Nut – Brain Off, Body On



If you find this kola nut guide useful please give it a “+1”:

Thank you! It helps my website a lot.


Share your own trip report in the comment section below (to ensure anonymity don’t use your real name or real email address when submitting trip reports)!

Some of the information presented here might be outdated or incorrect (check “last updated” below). Make sure, that if you are planning to try out any of the substances to research them yourself as well.

I’m 100% committed to safe and responsible legal high consumption. If you have a few minutes to spare please read my blog post about responsible and safe legal drugs use.


kola nut is only one of the legal highs included in Simon’s legal high guide, check out the others as well.

If you are only interested in legal light drugs, then check out Simon’s legal light drugs for more (coming soon).


Last updated: 2015. 12. 14.

Simon's Kola Nut Guide
Article Name
Simon's Kola Nut Guide
An overview of the stimulating effects of kola nut (in this case, I only refer to the fruit of the Cola nitida and Cola acuminata trees). I also sum up kola nut's health benefits and dangers and include some tips on the recommended dosage.

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