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The Kola Nut/Ọji And Its Significance

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Kola nut refers to the seeds of certain species of plant of the genus Cola, placed formerly in the cocoa family sterculiaceae and now usually subsumed in the mallow family Malvaceae. These cola species are trees native to the tropical rain forests of Africa. Their seeds contains caffeine used as flavoring ingredients in beverages applied to various carbonated soft drinks, from which the name cola originates.

The kola nut has a bitter flavor and contains caffeine. It is chewed in many West African countries, in both private and social settings. It is often used ceremonially, presented to chiefs or guests. In medicine, kola nuts are considered useful for aiding digestion when ground and mixed with honey, and are used as a remedy for coughs. Kola nuts are known to Western culture as a flavoring ingredient and one of the sources of caffeine in cola and other similarly flavored beverages, although kola nut extract is no longer used in major commercial cola drinks such as Coca-Cola.

Read Also: The Importance Of Tradition (Ọdinala/Ọdinani)

The kola nut is a caffeine-containing nut of evergreen trees of the genus Cola, primarily of the species Cola acuminata and Cola nitida. Cola acuminata, an evergreen tree about 20 meters in height, has long, ovoid leaves pointed at both the ends with a leathery texture. The trees have cream flowers with purplish-brown striations, and star-shaped fruit. Inside the fruit, about a dozen prismatic seeds develop in a white seed-shell. The nut’s aroma is sweet and rose-like. The first taste is bitter, but it sweetens upon chewing. The nut can be boiled to extract the caffeine. Kola nuts contain about 2–4% caffeine and theobromine, as well as tannins, alkaloids, saponins, and flavonoids.

Kolanut is very important in Igbo land. Thus the saying “onye wetara oji wetara ndụ”. It is used a lot in Igbo culture and tradition and it’s very significant when used for igo ọfọ and broken into pieces.

1. Ọjị gbara otu (1) bu: oji ogbi.
2. Ọjị gbara abụọ (2) bu: oji kuru aka.
3. Ọjị gbara ato (3) bu: oji Ikenga.
4. Ọjị gbara ano (4) bu: oji Ugo. Ahịa anọ enwere [oji ezumezu].
5. Ọjị gbara ise(5) bu: oji seere na-enu meaning your prayers have been answered.
6. Ọjị gbara isii (6) bu: oji okwu na-uka (when you come across such kolanut , take (1) out of the six, cast out all negative activities in your life and throw it into the bush, then come back for the remaining (5),your prayers are answered)
7. Ọjị gbara asaa (7) bu: oji saraka, oji ọmụmụ. This means, you will have to cook for people to come and eat, ie salaka sacrifice.
This explanation will help you know more about Omenala and aid you in Ọdịnanị journey.

👉 Before you use any kolanut, please wash it before use.
👉 Use alligator pepper and remove uchu/orakwu from any kolanut before you use it.
👉 Reason :You don’t know how it was handled before you bought that kolanut, or probably the seller is having her monthly flow etc.
👉 After Igo ọfọ ütütü, remove the back and spilt it, toss it on a white plate/tray and check the number of cotyledons, it will tell you what next to do.
👉 Always give a portion to your Agwu/Ndị Ichie, Arobinagu, Ndị Mmiri gị among others depending on the reason you are using the kolanut.

©️Dibịa Nwangwu Uchendu; BA(French), PGD(Education), M.ED(Educational Management)
[email protected]



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