Coconut trees are palms that grow in the Tropics up to 30 metres high. They are known as the “tree of life” because of their huge variety of uses. The coconut palm is also known as the tree which grants all wishes – the nuts form an essential part of Hindu weddings and other ceremonies symbolising complete usefulness, selfless service, prosperity and generosity.
The seeds, roots and even flowers have been prepared into pastes, infusions and creams and used in Ayurvedic and other traditional South Asian and Chinese medicines for many years.
The oil can be used in cooking, to make butter, ice cream and other sweet dishes. The raw cold-pressed variety is unrefined, less chemically altered and thought to have greater health benefits. It may seem expensive but only small amounts are needed and when heated the aroma can transport you to a tropical island atmosphere !
The soothing and antimicrobial properties of coconut oil justify its widespread use in medicinal preparations. Theoil is use in many household products, soaps, cosmetics and shampoos. This is mainly because the fatty acids in coconut oil make good creams, detergents and moisturisers. It also seems to have anti -inflammatory properties in relieving skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
At room temperature the coconut oil is solid but quickly softens on contact with skin and only small amounts are needed. Why not try some of the following?
- Massage into body and hands after a bath or shower when skin is still warm – helps to soften cuticles and hard skin on feet.
- Conditions and strengthens hair, killing lice and improving dandruff.
- Seems to attack fungal infections.
- A thumbnail sized amount massaged on to a cleansed face will soften and reduce appearance of lines and wrinkles.
- Mix Coconut Oil with essential oils by melting oil by standing a container in hot water.
- 10 drops of frankincense oil to 50g coconut oil for firming body moisturiser plus stress relief.
- 10 drops patchouli oil with 50g coconut oil massaged into body after bath or shower as lymphatic tonic and soul reviver after busy day.
- 4 drops of Rose Otto Oil to 20g of coconut oil to create a soothing facial oil.
- 10 drops of skin preserving myrrh oil to 50g of coconut oil can be used as a foot soother and healing agent for cracked skin.
- 10 drops vetiver in 50g of coconut oil massaged onto the body before bed to promote sleep.
Some recent reports have suggested that taking small amounts of coconut oil on a daily basis can have beneficial effects on the symptoms of Dementia – people have described it as “lifting the fog” and more formal trials and research are planned. It is thought that the ketones found in coconut oil provide a “fuel” for the brain and some remarkable improvements have been reported.
Other reports particularly from America claim that taking daily small amounts of coconut oil before meals acts as appetite suppressant and that the fatty acid chains in the oil speed up metabolism and promote weight loss – initial work in this area shows that blood sugar levels are stabilised at the same time. Some people are stirring 1 teaspoon into a hot drink such as green tea or hot lemon and getting the beneficial effects of both.
Coconut Water is a nutritious and refreshing drink found inside young coconuts . It is marketed as a natural energy or sports drink due to high potassium and mineral content, antioxidant properties and is also low in calories, fat and carbohydrates.
Coconut milk and cream is made by pouring boiling water over freshly grated coconut flesh and squeezing out the liquid. It can be diluted to the required consistency for cooking sweet and savoury dishes – it is sold in powdered form and in tins and is particularly popular in Indian cuisine.
Dessicated coconut is the washed, steamed and shredded raw coconut flesh and is also used in baking and other cooking as well as in confectionery such as Bounty Bars.
Coconut flour provides a gluten free alternative to wheat products and is made from dried coconut flesh and is rich in protein, fibre and fat.
These are just some of the ways that products from the coconut can help to enhance our lives and feeling of well being – why don’t you try some or all of them and judge for yourself?