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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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cola (or kola) a popular stimulant which comes from, and has traditionally been used in, W. Africa. Cola ‘nuts’, not real nuts but the interior part of the fleshy seeds of plants of the genus Cola (especially C. nitida and C. acuminata), are chewed fresh, or dried and ground to powder for making into a drink. They have a similar effect to tea or coffee, since they contain the same alkaloid, caffeine. They also contain smaller amounts of theobromine, as does the related cocoa ‘bean’, and of kolanin, a heart stimulant.