9 amazing medicinal values of coconut

While coconut is not new to most of us, it has many little-known medicinal health benefits. Find out how coconut can prevent illnesses like smallpox, treat pain, health toothache and soothe mouth ulcers.

Coconut is a tropical fruit (nut?) enjoyed for its refreshing water, its fleshy pulp when raw and also used desiccated. Coconut oil too has many culinary uses and is also a beauty aid. Coconut has been valued for centuries in India as a great preventive medicinal fruit. The milk, flesh and oil are all believed to be useful in treating several ailments. It is time to start looking at the coconut a little differently

Coconuts are a rich source of fibre and iron. Coconut water that makes a cooling, revitalising drink, is nutrient rich and contains zero fat The Oil derived from the seed is used in moisturising lotions, shampoos, soaps and several other cosmetics. It is used in cooking, and as a non-dairy creamer, a vegetable shortening and in many packaged baked items. Coconut oil derived from 'copra' the dried coconut, is ninety percent saturated fat. This prevents the oil from turning rancid and goodies baked and fried in the oil have a longer shelf life. However, saturated fats are responsible for raised cholesterol levels and individuals with high risk of cardiovascular disease should best avoid food products that use coconut oil. Despite its rich fatty content coconut is easily digestible.

Provides pain relief

Traditionally, coconut oil has been used for its pain-relieving properties. Indian grandmothers would boil coconut to obtain edible oil. Ayurvedic physicians recommend cooking some methi (fenugreek) leaves in this extracted coconut oil, adding an egg to it and drinking this mixture twice or three times a day for relief from hip pain.

Modern research into virgin coconut oil (pure oil from coconut milk, prepared without high heat or chemicals) proves that coconut does have anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been found to have fever-reducing and analgesic properties.

Reduces symptoms of stomach ulcers

There is some evidence to suggest that coconut milk may be able to reduce ulcers (so far, tested only on rats) by as much as forty-five percent. Traditional Ayurvedic physicians also recommend drinking plenty of tender coconut water and milk extracted from the kernel for relief from stomach ulcers.

A cure for mouth ulcers

The anti-bacterial properties of coconut may be what has made it traditionally effective against mouth ulcers. Coconut milk is soothing against ulcers and can provide relief from pain.

Massaging the gums with coconut milk (preferably mixed with some honey) about three or four times a day is known to be a miraculous cure for mouth ulcers. You can gargle with freshly extracted coconut milk frequently as well, or gargle with a herbal mouthwash containing coconut extracts, before retiring to bed, every night.

A remedy for toothache

If you have a toothache and you have some coconut oil at hand, you can heat a teaspoon of the oil and fry three pieces of clove in it. Powder the cloves and apply on the affected area. The combined analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of coconut and cloves can do wonders for a toothache.

A poultice for boils and rashes

There is a simple home remedy for boils and rashes that require a little flour and coconut oil. Dissolve a tablespoon of refined flour (maida) in very little water. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil and fry the damp flour till soft. Spread this over a thin muslin cloth and apply on the boil or rash while it is bearably hot. It reduces the inflammation, eases pain and brings quick relief.

Works against contusions and abrasions

Coconut is very effective against bruises and contusions as well. While coconut oil can be massaged on a bruised area to heal and regenerate bruised skin and tissue, Ayurveda suggests another remedy for contusions. You can mix a tablespoon of grated coconut in a 1:1 ratio with some turmeric powder. Put this in a cotton pouch or muslin bag. Warm the bag over a hot plate and gently press over the bruised area. This remedy is sure to ease the discomfort and aid healing of damaged tissues.

Prevents tooth decay and cavities

Recent studies have found that the lauric acid present in coconut oil is very effective in preventing the buildup of plaque and tooth decay. For this, the practice of oil pulling can be adopted. It involves swirling and swishing around two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil in the mouth for about two minutes. This should be done early morning and is an effective treatment for dental plaque.

Provides relief from asthmatic attacks

Traditionally, coconut oil massages have been recommended for asthma. Ayurveda recommends mixing a teaspoon of camphor with ½ a teacup of slightly warm coconut oil and massage on the chest for relief from asthma.

Lowers risk of heart disease

Coconut-rich diets have also been found to lower risk factors for heart disease, which may seem counter-intuitive because coconut oil is mostly saturated fat. But recent studies suggest that the positive effects of coconut oil on HDL cholesterol may outweigh the increase in total cholesterol caused by this saturated fatty oil.

There has been a lot of research on coconut oil and its effect on the heart. It is an established fact that coconut oil is high in saturated fats, most of which comes from lauric acid, known to raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or what we call the bad cholesterol, as well as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol. So, technically it neutralises the effect of the LDL on the heart. Since it raises both LDL and HDL levels its might not pose a real risk. Though, individuals who have a heart condition and those who suffer from high cholesterol must avoid consuming coconut oil.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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