Coconut is a wonderful food that is often overlooked. However, it has many medicinal properties that cause us to take a second look. Coconut or sometimes spelled cocoanut is a fruit. The name coconut comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word coco which means “monkey face”. The Spanish and Portuguese explorers thought that the coconut resembled a monkey’s face due to the three round indented markings or “eyes” found at the base of a coconut. Marco Polo often referred to the coconut as the “Pharaoh’s nut” as he made his travels through India.
The coconut can be found anywhere from Norway to the Hawaiian Islands. The coconut grows on sandy soils where there is abundant sunlight and regular rainfall. Coconuts need high humidity and warm conditions to grow. Indonesia is the world’s largest coconut producer followed by the Philippines then India. In the Philippines that coconut is commonly referred to as the Tree of Life.
The coconut contains high amount of saturated fats. It is currently being debated whether or not the saturated fat in coconuts is healthier than the saturated fat found in other foods. The coconut also contains less sugar and more protein than other fruits such as bananas, apples or oranges. It also contains a high in amount of minerals such as iron, phosphorus and zinc. The coconut water can be drunk fresh and should not be confused with coconut milk.
The culinary uses of coconut are widespread. The coconut milk which is made from the coconut is often used in curries. The coconut water can be used an electrolyte balance drink. Some countries will use this coconut water as an intravenous fluid. Coconut cream is often used in soup, pastries and candies. Virgin coconut oil is used for cooking, cosmetics, soaps, toothpastes, sunscreens, medicines, perfumes, hair oils, candles, detergents and shampoos.
As with the culinary uses the medicinal uses of coconut is also extensive. The numerous medicinal purposes of coconut include:
- Coconut is also commonly used as an herbal remedy to treat rat bites.
- Feed to children suffering from intestinal disturbances.
- Oral rehydration.
- Coconut keeps the body cool which is needed when the body has excess heat.
- Kills intestinal worms.
- Topically applied to heat rashes.
- As a diuretic.
- Used in some countries intravenously as an emergency fluid replacement.
- Helps with malnourishment.
- 1Helps kill viruses and bacteria.
- Resolves diarrhea
- Coconut oil is being used in the treatment of fungal infections.
- Treatment of skin rashes such as eczema and psoriasis.
Next time you are buying your groceries remember the coconut. With all its medicinal properties it as must to have at home. Plus the children love it open them.