Soft Drinks (Kola Nut)

Foriegn_coke.jpg Soft Drinks also known as soda, pop, or tonic have become one of the most consumed beverages world wide. Soft Drinks come in many different flavors, brands, and qualities but all have been inspired by Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola has been described as an "All-American" drink, having its origins in the United States and its brand being recognized world wide in association with the United States.

Other Stimulating Beverages include: Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate, and Energy Drinks


Kola Tree's Leaves and Nuts

Vascular Plants
Seed Plants


Cacao family

Cola nitida

The Sterculioideae subfamily of which the Kola Nut is a part of consists of 24 different species they include:

  1. Cola acuminata (P. Beauv.) Schott & Endl.
  2. Cola clavata Mast.
  3. Cola discoglypremnophylla Brenan & Jones
  4. Cola greenwayi Brenan
  5. Cola mossambicensis Willd.
  6. Cola natalensis Oliv.
  7. Cola noldeae Exell
  8. Cola verticillata (Thonn.) Stapf
  9. Cola welwitschii Exell & Mendonça ex R.Germ.
  10. Heritiera littoralis Aiton
    Kola Tree has white to yellow flower blossoms with spots that range from red to purple
  11. Hildegardia migeodii (Exell) Kosterm.
  12. Pterygota mildbraedii Engl.
  13. Sterculia africana (Lour.) Fiori
  14. Sterculia alexandri Harv.
  15. Sterculia appendiculata K. Schum.
  16. Sterculia mhosya Engl.
  17. Sterculia murex Hemsl.
  18. Sterculia purpurea Exell
  19. Sterculia quinqueloba (Garcke) K.Schum.
  20. Sterculia rogersii N.E. Br.
  21. Sterculia schliebenii Mildbr.
  22. Sterculia setigera Delile
  23. Sterculia subviolacea K. Schum.
  24. Sterculia tragacantha Lindl.

Kola Tree (Cola nitida)

The kola nut, or bitter cola, (Cola vera, Cola acuminata, Cola nitida) is a seed part from a tree from the Sterculioieae family. The trees are native to Central and Western Africa, but are now found in the West Indies and Brazil, where they were introduced by African slaves. All three species are used as a stimulant and are prepared in the same manner. The kola tree grows to approximately 40 ft (12 m) in height, and has white to yellow flowers with spots that range from red to purple. The kola tree's leaves are 6–8 in long (15–20 cm) and the tree bears fruit that is shaped like a star. Inside the fruit, about a dozen round or square seeds can be found in a white seed shell.


Chemistry Of Kola Nutkola_nut_pod.jpg

The primary active chemicals in kola nut are caffeine and theobromine. They can be found in all parts of the plant, but are found in their highest concentrations in the nuts (seeds). Caffeine is a mild stimulant found in coffee, tea, foods, drinks, etcetera.
For most people, caffeine will stimulate the central nervous system and improve mental alertness, as well as reducing physical fatigue and appetite.
Theobromine produces stimulant effects similar those of caffeine, but it is milder. Caffeine and other stimulants may cause people with ADD to feel calm or sleepy.
The amount of caffeine in kola nut can vary, depending on the species. Concentrations of 2.0%-3.5% caffeine are common in kola nuts from Cola acuminata and Cola nitida (the species most often consumed).
The amount of theobromine in these species is almost always somewhere near 1.0%, or a bit less. Other chemicals found in kola nut include betaine and theophylline, both are similar to caffeine in chemical structural and effect.
Kola nut was one of the original ingredients in coca-cola. It was utilized for the taste and caffeine content it added. Until the early 1900's, fresh coca leaves were also an ingredient in coca-cola. The coca leaves were added for their taste and stimulant effect (coca leaves contain cocaine).

The kola tree grows to approximately 40 ft (12 m) in height

Ethnobotanical Uses of the Kola Tree

  • Ache(Tooth)
  • Digestion
  • Exhaustion
  • Hunger
  • Malaria
  • Nausea
  • Poison
  • Restorative
  • Sedative
  • Stimulant
  • Tonic

The Original Coca-Cola

The Debut

Dr. John Styth Pemberton, and Atlanta, Georgian pharmacist, invented the first Coca-Cola in May of 1886. He made the baverage by using carbonated water, caramel (coloring), an extract from coca leaves, and an extract from the powdered kola seeds. Other ingredients, included sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and lime juice. The original formula of Dr. Pemberton is a highly guarded secret that is locked in an Atlanta bank vault. Originally cocaine was present in Coca-Cola however after 1903 the cocaine has been removed before the extracts are added. Until 1905, the soft drink, marketed as a tonic, contained extracts of cocaine as well as the caffeine-rich kola nut.
In 1887, another Atlanta pharmacist and businessman, Asa Candler bought the formula for Coca Cola from inventor John Pemberton for $2,300. By the late 1890s, Coca Cola was one of America's most popular fountain drinks, largely due to Candler's aggressive marketing of the product. With Asa Candler, now at the helm, the Coca Cola Company increased syrup sales by over 4000% between 1890 and 1900.

Coca-Cola Today

As the world's largest manufacturer, distributor, and marketer of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups, operating in more than 200 countries, the firm supplies many products in addition to its flagship brand. These include fruit-based and other carbonated beverages tailored to local tastes as well as newer variants of the main brand, such as Diet, Cherry, and Vanilla Coke. Although the company did experiment with diversification in recent decades (for example, motion pictures, coffee, and wine), current corporate strategy has emphasized the nonalcoholic beverage market. Although carbonated beverages represented 85 percent of worldwide sales volume in 2002, increased market share for the Coke products Dasani bottled water, POWERade sports drink, and Minute Maid orange juice have demonstrated growth in the non-carbonated sector.

The average consumption of Coca-Cola world wide in 1996

Health Problems

Soft Drinks do not have sufficient nutritional value and as even been described as "liquid candy." Only in recent history have people realized the negative effects too much soft-drink levels can have on the human body. Excessive soft-drink consumption has been linked to diseases like obesity and diabetes. In America especially as shown by the above map, consume too many soft-drinks and drink less milk and water, which are needed by the human body to remain healthy.

US Soft Drink Consumption Grew 135% Since 1977, Boosting Obesity


  3. Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases.
  4. Matrix Interpreting the realestate economy.
  5. DK Images.
  6. Species of Malvaceae in southern Africa: Sterculioideae.