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How sex-enhancing fruit turned Gombe communities into tourist attraction

The saying is common in Gombe State, the entire Northeast up to neighboring countries of Chad, Niger Republic and Cameroon: marry a Tula woman and you will never taste of another woman. While that might sound as a myth, recent developments in scientific research into herbal medicine, particularly in the past one decade, seem to confirm the popular saying as the development has been traced to a fruit called gorontula.

Goro is the Hausa word for kolanut, the caffeine fruit commonly consumed in the tropical part of Nigeria. Gorontula therefore literally translates to Tula’s kookaburra, meaning that unlike the common kolanut, gorontula is only found in Tula communities in Kaltungo Local Government Area of Gombe State and Michika in Adamawa State, both on the mountainous belt stretching across the two states.

In English language, gorontula is known variously as tree hibiscus, snot apple or African chewing gum because it is sweet and chewy with lots of fibre. Botanically, it is known as azanza garckeana or azanza for short.

There are four Tula communities, namely Wange Tula, Yiri Tula, Baule Tula and Kaltin Tula, all located in the mountainous and rocky parts of the state. But for reasons that probably border on climate or weather of the mountain, gorontula can only be found in Tula and Michika and nowhere else around the world, hence the reason it is called gorontula; a kind of kolanut peculiar to the Tula tribe in Gombe State.