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Coconut

Coconut
Coconut is commonly known as “Nariyal” and is considered as a good luck charm for new beginnings. It is full of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, vitamin C, etc.
Coconut is widely used for its oil as it has numerous skin and hair benefits. Coconut oil manages skin problems like dryness, itchiness, scars etc. as it is rich in vitamin E and has antimicrobial, antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It also promotes hair growth and prevents dandruff due to its antifungal property.
According to Ayurveda, applying Coconut oil on to the skin helps in wound healing and manages scars, blemishes, eczema, psoriasis etc. due to its Snigdha (oily) and Ropan (healing) properties. Massaging your scalp with Coconut oil helps to promote hair growth and prevents dandruff due to its Keshya (promotes hair growth) and Snigdha (oily) properties.
Drinking Coconut water helps manage weight by enhancing body's metabolism. It maintains electrolyte balance in the body and prevents dehydration. Using virgin Coconut oil for cooking might also help manage cholesterol levels by maintaining a balance between good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
In Ayurveda, the use of Coconut is divided according to its maturity:
1. Tender Coconut: It is a Pitta dosha-pacifier due to its Sita (cold) effect on the body. It has almost 90% water.
2. Half-mature Coconut: In this stage, Coconut contains less water than the tender ones. It is lighter on the metabolic system and has a soft pulp.
3. Fully matured Coconut: When a Coconut becomes mature, it becomes heavy to digest, and can also aggravate Pitta or Vata Dosha. This type of Coconut has firm ‘meat’ or pulp.
If fully matured Coconut is consumed in large quantities, a person might experience hyperacidity[2][5].

What are the synonyms of Coconut?

Cocos nucifera, Narikela, Narikela, Khopra, Narkel, Coconut Palm, Naliar, Nariyel, Shriphal, Koprun, Nariyal, Gola, Khobbari, Tengnamara, Temgu, Thengu, Thenginamara, Nalikeram, Ten, Thengu, Keram, Naral, Narela, Garigola, Tenkai, Kopparai, Narikelamu, Tenkay, Kobbari, Narjil, Narial[1]

What is the source of Coconut?

Plant Based

Benefits of Coconut

What are the benefits of Coconut for High cholesterol?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut is beneficial in managing high cholesterol as it is rich in phenols. Virgin Coconut oil and Coconut water also has potent antioxidant activity. This reduces oxidative cell damage and lowers the risk of high cholesterol[3][6-8].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
High cholesterol is due to an imbalance of Pachak Agni (digestive fire). Impaired digestion at the tissue level produces excess waste products or Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion). This causes accumulation of bad cholesterol and blockage in the blood vessels. Using Coconut or Coconut oil in your daily diet helps to improve Agni (digestive fire) and reduce Ama. This is due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties. It also helps to remove blockage from the blood vessels by eliminating toxins.
Tips:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil or as per your requirement.
2. Use it in your routine cooking.

What are the benefits of Coconut for Kidney stone?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut may be useful in the removal of kidney stones due to the presence of a bioactive product[5][7].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Coconut or Coconut oil helps to control the formation of kidney stones. An improper diet and lifestyle impairs the digestive fire. This leads to the formation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the body. Crystallization of these toxins leads to the formation of kidney stones. Coconut or Coconut oil helps to improve Agni (digestive fire) and reduce Ama. This is due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties.
Tips:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil or as per your requirement.
2. Use it in your routine cooking.

What are the benefits of Coconut for Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 & Type 2)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut kernel and Coconut water may be useful in managing diabetes. They tend to reduce pancreatic damage, improve the secretion of insulin as well as the utilization of blood glucose[5][6].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Diabetes also known as Madhumeha is due to an aggravation of Vata and impaired digestion. Impaired digestion leads to an accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the pancreatic cells and impairs the function of insulin. Taking Coconut water helps to correct impaired digestion due to its Deepan (appetizer) nature. This reduces Ama and improves the function of insulin. This thus helps control high blood sugar level.
Tips:
1. Drink 1/2 cup of Coconut water or as per your requirement.
2. Take it preferably in the morning on an empty stomach.

What are the benefits of Coconut for Obesity?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut may be useful in managing Obesity by increasing the metabolic rate. Coconut oil reduces the amount of tissue cholesterol and phospholipid thus reducing fat build up[9][10].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
An increase in weight is due to unhealthy food habits and lifestyle which leads to a weak digestive fire. This increases accumulation of Ama causing an imbalance in meda dhatu. This results in obesity. Taking Coconut or Coconut oil in your daily diet helps to improve Agni (digestive fire) and reduce Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion). This is due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties.
Tips:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil or as per your requirement.
2. Use it in your routine cooking.

How effective is Coconut?

Insufficient evidence
Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 & Type 2), High cholesterol, Kidney stone, Obesity

Precautions when using Coconut

Patients with heart disease
scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut may increase the cholesterol level. So it is generally advised to consult your doctor while taking Coconut[3].
Side Effects
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Skin Rashes
Difficulty breathing[3].

Recommended Dosage of Coconut

  • Coconut Oil - 2-3 teaspoons or as per your requirement.
  • Coconut Capsule - 1-2 capsules twice a day.

How to use Coconut

1. Raw Coconut Fruits
a. Take 4-5 pieces of Coconut fruit.
b. Chew them properly in the morning and evening.

2. Coconut water
a. Drink ½ cup of Coconut water.
b. Take it preferably in the morning empty stomach.

3. Coconut Milk Powder
a. Take ½ -1 teaspoon Coconut milk powder.
b. Mix with ½ teaspoon Mishri.
c. Have it before lunch and dinner.

4. Coconut Oil
a. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil.
b. Use it in your routine cooking.

5. Coconut Capsule
a. Take 1-2 capsule of Coconut.
b. Swallow them twice a day preferably after meals.

Benefits of Coconut

1. Hair Loss
Coconut oil is widely used for maintaining healthy hair and preventing hair fall. This is because hair fall is mainly due to an aggravated Vata dosha in the body. Coconut oil acts on hair fall by balancing Vata dosha. It also promotes new hair growth because of its Keshya (promotes hair growth) property.
Tips:
a. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil or as per your requirement.
b. Massage gently on the scalp at night.
c. Wash your in the morning with a herbal shampoo.
d. Repeat it once or twice a week to control hair loss.

2. Dandruff
According to Ayurveda, dandruff is a condition marked by flakes of dry skin on the scalp which may be attributed to an aggravated Vata and Pitta dosha. Applying Coconut oil helps to balance Vata-Pitta and remove dead cells or dryness due to its Snigdha (oily) property. This helps control dandruff.
Tips:
a. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil or as per your requirement.
b. Mix 1 pinch of Camphor powder, wait till it dissolves.
c. Massage gently on the scalp at night.
d. Wash your hair in the morning with a herbal shampoo.
e. Repeat it once or twice a week to control dandruff.

3.Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a common, chronic, autoimmune disease that causes dry, red, scaly patches and flakes on the skin. Coconut oil is useful in Psoriasis as it removes dryness and helps in quick healing of scaly patches. This is due to its Snigdha (oily) and Ropan(healing) properties.
Tips:
a. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil or as per your requirement.
b. Apply gently on the affected area and leave it overnight.
c. Repeat this every night to get rid of the symptoms of psoriasis.

4. Eczema
Eczema is a skin condition that makes the skin rough, blistered, inflamed and itchy. Applying Coconut oil on the affected area helps to control excessive itching and promotes the healing process. This is due to its Ropan (healing) property.
Tips:
a. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil or as per your requirement.
b. Apply gently on the affected area and leave it overnight.
c. Repeat this every night to get rid of the symptoms of eczema.

5. Ulcers and Boils
Coconut oil helps to heal ulcer and boils due to its Ropan (healing) property.
Tips:
a. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil or as per your requirement.
b. Apply gently on the affected area and leave it overnight.
c. Repeat this every night for quick healing of ulcers and boils.

6. Glowing Skin
Coconut oil helps to keep skin glowing when applied on the skin on a daily basis. This is because Coconut oil has Snigdha (oily) property. It removes excessive dryness and control fine lines and wrinkles. Coconut oil also removes dead skin and helps in skin regeneration due to its Rasayana (rejuvenating) nature.
Tips:
a. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil.
b. Massage gently on the affected area of the skin before going to bed.
c. Use this remedy 2-3 times a week for smooth and glowing skin.

Precautions when using Coconut

Recommended Dosage of Coconut

  • Coconut Oil - 2-3 teaspoons of Coconut oil.

How to use Coconut

1. Coconut Oil
a. Take 2-3 teaspoon of Coconut oil.
b. Massage gently on the affected area of the skin and hair.
c. Use this remedy 2-3 times a week to get rid of scars and marks and for proper nourishment to hair.

2. Coconut Water
a. Take 2-3 teaspoon of Coconut water.
b. Dip the cotton into the Coconut water.
c. Dap the cotton on the face and wipe your face properly with
Coconut water.
d. Use this remedy to 2-3 times a week to get rid of skin aging and infections.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What do you call the white matter in Coconut?

scientific
Modern Science View
The white part in the Coconut is called as the “Coconut meat” and in hindi it is called as “Gari”. Also the water present inside this layer is called as Coconut water contains various benefits.

Q. How many types of Coconuts are there in the world?

scientific
Modern Science View
There are two varieties of Coconut: Brown and Green. The brown ones are mature and are found lying on the forest floor. Green Coconuts are used for eating as it has a gelatinous inner part and edible Coconut water.

Q. Is the brown skin on Coconut meat edible?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, the brown skin is actually connected to the meat and whenever a person tries to extract out the Coconut meat layer the brown layer comes with it automatically. The brown layer is equally edible as the above white meat of Coconut.

Q. Can you use Coconut oil as a Vaginal lubricant?

scientific
Modern Science View
Since not enough evidence is available, Coconut oil cannot be used as a perfect vaginal lubricant. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It might disrupt the pH of the vagina and may cause irritation.

Q. How do you store fresh Coconut meat?

scientific
Modern Science View
The fresh Coconut meat can be stored in refrigerator upto 4 days when tightly packed. Also for prolonged storage, grate fresh Coconut meat and dip it into the Coconut water, pack tightly and keep in the refrigerator. Doing this can increase its shelf life upto 4-6 months.

Q. How do you know when Coconut milk has gone bad?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut milk can be consumed within 10 days of opening to ensure its maximum freshness. Coconut milk starts deteriorating when left open. You can sense the spoilage by smell or its taste.

Q. How many types of Coconut oils are there?

scientific
Modern Science View
There are two types of Coconut oil. Refined and Virgin. Refined Coconut oil is devoid of flavor and aroma of Coconut. While virgin has all the properties that Coconut oil should possess.

Q. Can Coconut oil be used for cooking?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut oil can be used in cooking due to its unique lauric acid content, a saturated fat that is beneficial for health.

Q. What is the difference between Coconut milk and Coconut water?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut water is a thin liquid that is high in potassium and is often used as a source of fluid to quench hydration. While the milk is a delicious, sweet cream often used in beverages, smoothies and cooking but it should be taken in limited quantity if you have high cholesterol or any heart problems.

Q. Is Coconut oil edible?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Coconut oil is edible and is used for cooking in various parts of the world. Coconut oil does not form free radicals even after heating to intense temperature, thus making it a safe oil for cooking[23].

Q. What is Virgin Coconut oil?

scientific
Modern Science View
Virgin Coconut oil is the purest(unrefined) form of Coconut oil. This oil is obtained from the fresh and mature kernel (meat) of the coconut by mechanical or natural means, with or without the use of heat, without undergoing chemical refining, bleaching or deodorizing processes, which does not lead to the alteration of the nature of the oil[24].

Q. What nutrients are present in Coconut oil?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut oil is majorly made up of saturated fats which are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and most important being lauric acid. This lauric acid gives coconut oil its white cream colour and stable (solid) state. It also contains small amount Vitamin E and Vitamin K that help provides various benefits to the skin[26].

Q. Can we eat dry Coconut?

scientific
Modern Science View
Dry coconut also known as fully mature coconut can be eaten mainly as a dry fruit. It is added to various food items like chutneys, sweets etc. It is also used for the extraction of oils. After extraction, the leftovers are used as fodder for animals due to their high protein content.

Q. Can Coconut cause hyperacidity?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Matured Coconut (dry Coconut) is heavy to digest and if large quantity is consumed daily, a person can suffer from hyperacidity because of aggravated Pitta dosha.

Q. Can Coconut water cause gas?

scientific
Modern Science View
No, Drinking Coconut water in fact helps you get rid of gastric problems and aids better digestion and helps in absorption of major nutrients such as minerals, vitamins and amino acids[5].

Q. Can Coconut water reduces immunity?

scientific
Modern Science View
No, in fact it is also considered as a potent source which can boost energy and immunity to fight various diseases and epidemic infections. It also helps to increase athletic and physical capacity[5].

Q. Can Coconut water increases the weight?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although Coconut water contains medium saturated chain fatty acids but these fatty acids have the capacity to burn themselves into the form of energy and prevents the formation of fats that increase the weight. It also works to enhance the body’s metabolism and treats pancreatitis[5].

Q. Is Coconut good for weight loss?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut water contains certain fatty acids that metabolizes to produce energy. It also increases body metabolism and reduces the build up of fats and cholesterol[5][9].

Q. Is Coconut good for constipation?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Coconut may be useful in managing constipation due to its high fibre content. Fibre aids in easy removal of waste from the body by adding bulk to the stool[10][11].

Q. Can Coconut or Coconut oil cause skin allergy ?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Allergies to Coconut oil is considered rare when applied on the body. It can be avoided if you have hypersensitive or highly oil skin.

Q. Can Coconut oil clog your pores?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Coconut oil can act as a comedogenic agent and might clog the pores. So if you have a acne prone skin, it is advisable to consult your doctor before using Coconut oil directly on the skin.

Q. Is Coconut water cooling for the body?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Coconut water helps to keep the body cool. This is because it has Sita (cold) potency which gives a cooling effect on the body.

Q. Can Coconut oil get rid of wrinkles?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut water contains cytokinin that has anti-ageing property which may be useful in preventing wrinkles[5][14].

Q. Can Coconut oil dry out my skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut oil is rich in vitamin E and has antimicrobial activity due to which it can be used on oily skin without actually drying it[16].

Q. Is Coconut good for yeast infection?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Coconut oil may be useful in managing yeast infection[5].

Q. Is Coconut good for scars?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut oil has strong anti-inflammatory property. It contains fatty acids that protects the skin from acne and other infections. It may also protect the skin against acne scars and blemishes[16].

Q. Is Coconut good for your teeth?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut possesses antibacterial activity. Coconut husk is usually used to brush teeth in rural India. It may protect against common oral pathogens[6][15].

Q. Is Coconut good for hair loss?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut oil may be useful in managing baldness. When applied on the scalp, it prevents hair loss as well as promotes the growth of new hair[3][6][12].

Q. Is Coconut good for dandruff?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut oil has antifungal property and also acts as a moisturizer. Due to these properties, it may be useful in managing and preventing dry scalp and dandruff[3][5][12].

Q. Is Coconut good for Psoriasis?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Coconut may reduce the symptoms of Psoriasis[3][5].

Q. Is Coconut good for eczema?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Coconut kernel oil may be useful in managing eczema and itching associated with it[3][5][13].

Q. Is Coconut good for dermatitis?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, topical application of Coconut oil or Coconut shell cream may be useful in managing dermatitis[3][5][6].

Q. Is Coconut good for Ulcers and Boils?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Coconut may be useful in managing ulcers and boils[3][13].

Q. Is Coconut good for glowing skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Coconut water contains cytokinin that has anti-ageing property. Washing your face with Coconut water and/or applying Coconut milk or oil helps in making the skin soft and glowing. Coconut also protects the skin against UV-B radiation damage[3][5][13][14].

Q. Is Coconut good for ringworm?

scientific
Modern Science View
The oil obtained from burning fresh Coconut shell may be useful in managing ringworm infection. This is due to its antifungal property[3][5][13].

References

  1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India.Part 1 Volume 1.
  2. Venugopal A, Rinu KA, Joseph D.Cocos Nucifera: It’s Pharmacological Activities.World J Pharm Pharm Sci.2017;5(8): 195-200.
  3. WebMD.Coconut: Uses, Side effects, Doses, Interactions [Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
  4. Balkrishnan A.Nariyal.Ayurved Jadi Buti Rehsya. Danik Bhaskar.2017.
  5. Aggarwal B, Lamba HS, SHarma P et al.Various pharmacological aspects of Cocos nucifera-a review.American Journal of Pharmacological Sciences.2017;5(2):25-30.
  6. Lima EBC, Sousa CNS, Meneses LN et al.Cocos nucifera (L.) (Arecaceae):a phytochemical and pharmacological review.Braz J Med Biol Res.2015;8(11):953-964.
  7. DebMandal M, Mandal S.Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae):in health promotion and disease prevention.Asian Pac J Trop Med.2011:241-247.
  8. Nevin KG, Rajamohan T.Beneficial effects of virgin Coconut oil on lipid parameters and in vitro LDL oxidation.Clin Biochem.2004;37(9):830-835.
  9. Awad AB.Effect of dietary lipids on composition and glucose utilization by rat adipose tissue.J Nutr.1981;111(1):34-39.
  10. Onyechi O, Elijah PJ, Nkechi EJ.Phytochemical analysis of Cocos nucifera L.Arch Pharm Sci & Res.2009;1(1):87-96.
  11. Okafor GI, Ugwu FC.Production and evaluation of cold extruded and baked ready-to-eat snacks from blends of breadfruit (Treculia africana), cashewnut (Anacardium occidentale) and Coconut (Cocos nucifera).Food Science and Quality Management.2014;23:65-77.
  12. Raquibul Hasan SM, Mokarram Hossain M, Akter R et al.DPPH free radical scavenging activity of some Bangladeshi medicinal plants.J Med Plants Res.2009;3(11):875-879.
  13. Krishnamurthy KH.Coconut or Naarikela (Cocos nucifera, Linn.).Journal of New Approaches to Medicine and Health.2010;17(4).
  14. Yong JWH, Ge L, Ng YF et al.The chemical composition and biological properties of Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water.Molecules.2009;14:5144-5164.
  15. Alviano WS, Alviano DS, Diniz CG et al.In vitro antioxidant potential of medicinal plant extracts and their activities against oral bacteria based on Brazilian folk medicine.Arch Oral Biol.2008;53(6):545-552.
  16. Bhagya D, Soumya G. Effects Of Coconut Neera (Cocos nucifera L.) On Blood Pressure Among Hypertensive Adult Women. International Journal of Applied and Pure Science and Agriculture. 2016;2(9):1-7.External Link
  17. Victor E.Cocos nucifera (COCONUT) fruit: A review of its medical properties.Advances in Agriculture, Sciences and Engineering Research:2013;3 (3) :718 - 723.External Link
  18. Kumar KA, Viswanathan K.Study of UV Transmission through a Few Edible Oils and Chicken Oil.Journal of Spectroscopy. 2013.http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/540417External Link
  19. Sethi S, Tyagi SK, Anurag RK. Plant-based milk alternatives an emerging segment of functional beverages: a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2016;53(9):3408-3423. External Link
  20. Patil U, Benjakul S. Coconut Milk and Coconut Oil: Their Manufacture Associated with Protein Functionality. Journal of Food Science.2018; 83(1):1-8.External Link
  21. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci.2017;19(1):70.External Link
  22. Ahmad Z, Sarmidi M.R, Hasham R. Evaluation of wound closure activity of cocos nucifera oil on scratched monolayer of human dermal fibroblasts, Chemical Engineering Transactions.2017;56(1):1657-1662.External Link
  23. Shanker P, Ahuja S, Tracchio A.Coconut oil: A review.Agro Food Industry Hi Tech.2014;24(5):62-64.External Link
  24. Dumancas GG, Kasi Viswanath LC, de Leon AR, et al.Health benefits of virgin coconut oil.Vegetable Oil: Properties, Uses, and Benefits. Nova Science Publishers.2016. External Link
  25. Chew YL. The beneficial properties of virgin coconut oil in management of atopic dermatitis.Phcog Rev 2019;13:24-27. External Link
  26. Lockyer S, Stanner S. Coconut oil – a nutty idea? British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin.2016;41:42–54.External Link
  27. Mirzaei F, Khazaei M., Komaki A et al. Multitarget Effects of Coconut Oil (virgin type) on aβ-induced Alzheimer’s Disease animal model. Neuroscience.2018; 6(2). External Link
  28. Doty L. Coconut Oil for Alzheimer’s disease? Clinical Practice 2012, 1(2): 12-17.External Link
  29. Peedikayil FC, Sreenivasan P, Narayanan A. Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis - A preliminary report. Niger Med J. 2015;56(2):143-147. External Link
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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