Coconut is not only an active ingredient in many hair and skincare products, but is also an essential component in weight loss diets.
Botanical: Cocos nucifera Family: Arecaceae (palm family) Habitat: The coconut tree grows throughout the tropics; its origin, however, remains unknown due to its ability to naturally pollinate over distances of thousands of miles.
Description: The Coconut tree is a large palm-like tree that grows up to 30 meters tall, with pinnate leaves and a smooth trunk. The fruit is a simple dry nut known as a fibrous drupe. When young, it has fruit-like properties and becomes nutty after maturing.
Constituents: Coconut meat is rich in fat. Approximately 90% of the fat found in coconut meat is saturated; its fat, however, is less than that of other dry nuts such as peanuts and almonds. It also contains low amounts of sugar along with high amounts of protein and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
It is also a good source of vitamins such as thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), B6 and C, and folates. Parts used medicinally: Seed tissue (endosperm), coconut water (the sour liquid inside young seeds), and coconut meat.
Medicinal Uses: For years, coconut has been known as a valuable source of food and medicine. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties; therefore, it can be used to tackle as influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS and AIDS.
Coconut is also effective in treating ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia along with fungal infections including candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush and diaper rash.
Considered a quick source of energy, coconut is used to improve physical performance. It also promotes weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate. It improves the absorption of calcium and magnesium and therefore results in stronger bones and teeth.
Coconut also has anti osteoporosis properties. Coconut is effective in improving digestion and increases the absorption of certain nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It is effective in treating malabsorption and cystic fibrosis. It can alleviate symptoms associated with gallbladder disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
Coconut has anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties and helps improve the immune system responses. The fruit can protect the body against various cancers including breast and colon malignancies.
Due to its effects on insulin secretion, coconut can help reduce diabetes-related symptoms. Coconut is also heart tonic, fights atherosclerosis and helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Coconut is also effective in treating periodontal disease and tooth decay. It also protects the body against kidney and liver diseases. It helps dissolve kidney stones. It boosts thyroid function and fights hypothyroidism. Coconut oil Because of its high lauric, capric and caprylic acid content, coconut oil has antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair; it helps hair look healthy and shiny. The oil also helps in the re-growth of hair. It is commonly used as hair care oil effective in nourishing damaged hair, conditioners and dandruff relief creams.
The oil is also used in massage therapy because of its stress relieving effects. It is also commonly used in skin care oils. Coconut oil is an effective moisturizer on all types of skins.
Unlike mineral oil, however, its use is not associated with any side effects. Due to its antioxidant properties, coconut oil helps prevent premature aging and degenerative diseases. It softens the skin and prevents from wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Coconut oil also forms a chemical layer on different wounds and bruises and protects against infection while speeding up the healing process. The oil not only protects the skin against infections and diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis, but also helps with the natural chemical balance of the skin.
Using coconut oil as cooking oil helps improve digestion and fight diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcer. It is also effective in weight loss diets. Because of its low calorie content, it is preferred by athletes and body builders.