African Kola Nuts are the seed pods of various evergreen trees that are native to Africa; Sterculiaceae Vera is the scientific name of the most common species.
Kola nuts are important in many African societies, particularly in Western Africa. Besides the fact that Kola nuts contain caffeine and act as a stimulant and antidepressant, they are also thought to reduce fatigue and hunger, aid digestion, and work as an aphrodisiac. In some parts of Africa, Kola nuts are given as gifts to visitors entering a home, usually with some formal ceremony. Offering the Kola nut is a gesture of friendship and hospitality. The Kola nut ceremony is similar to the traditional American Indian peace pipe or breaking bread in a religious context. Besides ceremonial uses, many Africans consume Kola nuts regularly, even daily, for the effects described above.
Kola nuts are consumed by breaking them open and into pieces, then chewing the Kola nut pieces as one chews gum. Most people find the taste very bitter, especially at first. The stimulative effect is similar to a strong cup of coffee.