– The Tree of Life
The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means “monkey face” because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resemble the head and face of a monkey. Nucifera means “nut-bearing.”
The Coconut is an ancient wonder food and is considered a sacred fruit, which holds a very high place in many religious ceremonies especially in the Orient. It contains almost all the essential nutrients required by the human body. There is evidence that the coconut was grown in India more than 3000 years ago. The Vedas, the ancient holy books of India describe the coconut tree as Kalpavriksha which means ‘the tree of heaven’. According to Hindu mythology when Lord Vishnu, the God protector of the universe came to this Earth, he brought with him the coconut tree and gave it the name karpagavalli which means “giver of all health energy, strength, tranquility, longevity and peace”.
The coconut tree grows abundantly along the entire coast of oceans and seas, thriving well in loose sandy soil in all tropical areas of the world. It is now widely cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, the East and West Indies and many islands of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Its age varies from 80-200yrs.
Coconut is widely used in cooking and is made into coconut jam, coconut butter and margarine, vegetable butter and salad oil. The oil is used in all parts of Asia and Africa where it grows. Coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. On many islands coconut is a staple in the diet and provides the majority of the food eaten. Nearly one third of the world’s population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy. Among these cultures the coconut has a long and respected history.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers. What is amazing about coconut is that its re-vitalizing properties are almost instant; within 5 minutes of taking some fresh coconut water you will feel a burst of energy, clarity of mind and well-being.
BENEFITS OF COCONUT WATER
Coconut water is again an amazing substance, this stuff has an array of health benefits; firstly it is low in carbohydrates and sugars and one of the best hydrators or fluid replacers know to man.
- Coconut Water is more nutritious than whole milk – Less fat and NO cholesterol!
- Coconut Water is Better than processed baby milk- It contains lauric acid, which is present in human mother’s milk
- Coconut water is naturally sterile — Water permeates through the filtering husk!
- Coconut water is a universal donor– It’s identical to human blood plasma – this is the most amazing one!
- Coconut Water is a Natural Isotonic Beverage – The same level we have in our blood.
- Coconut Water is probably the best Hangover prevention. If you come home after one too many drinks have a glass before bed, it’s pretty amazing…..
It’s a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. It’s the fluid of life, so to speak. During the Pacific War of 1941-45, both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water – siphoned directly from the nut-to give emergency plasma transfusions to wounded soldiers. Most coconut water is still consumed fresh in tropical coastal areas.
Once exposed to air, the liquid rapidly loses most of its organic and nutritional characteristics, and begins to ferment. Coconut water is the very stuff of Nature, biologically pure, full of natural sugars, salts, and vitamins to ward off fatigue and is the next wave of natural energy drinks according to Mortin Satin, Chief of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
1.. Coconut water has saved lives in 3rd world countries thru Coconut IV.
2.. It is a universal donor, being identical to human blood plasma.
3.. It is more healthy than Orange juice as it has lower calories.
4.. It is naturally sterile, as water in it permeates through the filtering husk.
5.. It is more nutritious than whole milk with less fat and NO cholesterol.
6.. It is a natural isotonic beverage – the same level we have in our blood.
7.. It has 5 mg of natural sugars, whereas sports and energy drinks range from 10-25 mg of altered sugars.
8.. It is better than processed baby milk, since it contains lauric acid, which is present in human mother’s milk.
9.. It contains more potassium (at about 294 mg) than most sports (117 mg) and energy drinks.
10. It has less sodium (25mg), whereas sports drinks have around 41 mg and energy drinks have about 200 mg.
11. Coconut water is very high in chloride at 118 mg; compared to sports drinks at about 39 mg.
Data is based on a 100ml drink.
NUTRITONAL VALUES OF THE COCONUT
The protein content of coconut is of high quality, containing almost all of the amino acids. The energy value of fresh coconut is about 450 calories whilst the dried variety’s calorific value is about 650 per 100gm. Its jelly – like tender kernel contain various enzymes easily digestible whilst the ripe kernel is rich in fat and carbohydrates. The milk of the fresh coconut is a valuable food for children suffering from nutritional deficiency. It has vitamins A, C and small amount of vitamin B complex. It also has adequate natural minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper, sulphur, chlorine as well as high quality of protein that are indispensable for growth and repair of the body.
The water of the tender green coconut is known as a natural mineral water and is taken as a beverage and a refreshing drink in most of the tropics. The water contains sugar in an easily assimilable form and is an excellent tonic for health. The water of a single coconut contains sufficient vitamins C to meet the daily requirement of the body and contains several vitamins of the B group including niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), biotin (B8), riboflavin (B2), folic acid (B9), thiamin (B2) as well as traces of pyridoxine (B6).
Benefits of coconut milk
Coconut milk is quite good for your heart’s health. It helps control weight and keeps blood sugar level under a check. Also, it helps you feel full faster and hence very beneficial for people who are trying to lose weight. If you feel full, you tend to eat less. Moreover, it also reduces your bad cholesterol and is a great cure for arthritis and joint pains. Coconut milk has some beauty benefits too. It moisturizes your skin and nourishes it from within making it look beautiful and soft. When purchasing a beauty product, try to get one with coconut milk.
While coconut possesses many health benefits due to its fiber and nutritional content, it’s the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine.
Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is a unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties. It is now gaining long overdue recognition as a nutritious health food.
Coconut Research Center tells us that coconut oil has been described as “the healthiest oil on earth.” That’s quite a remarkable statement. What makes coconut oil so good? What makes it different from all other oils, especially other saturated fats?
The difference is in the fat molecule. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids. The first you are probably familiar with, is based on saturation. You have saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Another system of classification is based on molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. Fatty acids consist of long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. In this system you have short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).
The vast majority of fats and oils in our diets, whether they are saturated or unsaturated or come from animals or plants, are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Some 98 to 100% of all the fatty acids you consume are LCFA.
The size of the fatty acid is extremely important. Why? Because our bodies respond to and metabolize each fatty acid differently depending on its size. So the physiological effects of MCFA in coconut oil are distinctly different from those of LCFA more commonly found in our foods. The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are predominately medium-chain fatty acids. Both the saturated and unsaturated fat found in meat, milk, eggs, and plants (including most all vegetable oils) are composed of LCFA.
MCFA are very different from LCFA. They do not have a negative effect on cholesterol and help to protect against heart disease. MCFA help to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. It is primarily due to the MCFA in coconut oil that makes it so special and so beneficial.
There are only a very few good dietary sources of MCFA. By far the best sources are from coconut and palm kernel oils.
Coconut In Natural Medicine
People from many diverse cultures, languages, religions, and races scattered around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. Wherever the coconut palm grows the people have learned of its importance as an effective medicine. For thousands of years coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine.
In traditional medicine around the world coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems including the following: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dropsy, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhea, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness, and wounds.
Natural benefits and curative properties of the Coconut
In his excellent book on natural cures ‘Nature Power’ Father Adodo, a Catholic priest practicing Natural Medicine confirms that the water in the coconut is an excellent cleanser and amongst the best natural antibiotic known. Coconut water is said to strengthen the immune system, thereby helping to resist illnesses. Coconut water can neutralize the ill-effects of certain drugs for both children and adults. If you are given chemical antibiotics such as amoxil or chlorophenicol you should be instructed not to drink coconut water as it will neutralize the effects of these drugs. Father Adodo recommends coconut for the treatment of such ailments as fibroids, bronchitis, hepatitis as well as a remedy to modulate the effect of such serious ailments as cancer.
The while pulp of the immature coconut is known in many folk medicines as useful for the memory. People suffering from loss of memory, forgetfulness and many forms of memory defect can benefit from it. It remains for researchers to find out the usefulness of coconut for such diseases as Alzheimer, one ailment that continue to baffle Western medicine.
Some Healing Recipes from the Coconut.
Coconut For Intestinal Worms
For intestinal worms of all kinds, the coconut is a well-known ancient remedy. Till the cure is complete a tablespoon of freshly ground coconut, followed by a dose of castor oil is a wonderful natural worm expeller.
Coconut For Stomach Acidity & And Digestive Disorders
The tender kernel of coconut is highly beneficial in the treatment of digestive system disorders such as indigestion, colitis, gastric ulcers, diarrhea, dysentery and piles. The mature dried coconut is valuable for the treatment of acidity, as its oil reduces the acid secretion of the stomach and thereby gives much relief. Tender coconut water is excellent for flatulence vomiting and dyspepsia.
Coconut For Dry Cough And Bronchitis
Coconut milk mixed because poppy seeds milk and pure honey taken every night due to bed is effective for dry excessive smoking.
Coconut For Urinary Disorders
Coconut water is valuable in urinary disorders as it helps to clean the kidneys and acts as a natural diuretic. Useful for the heart, liver and kidney disorders such as scanty and suppressed urination, albuminuria (protein in urine), dropsy and high acidity of the urine.
Coconut For Bilious Fever And Cholera
Coconut water is beneficial in the treatment of bilious fever and cholera. 8 – 12 ounces of coconut water mixed with a teaspoon of fresh lime juice rectifies electrolyte imbalance and neutralize the acidosis of the blood. Coconut water is known to be potassium-rich and corrects acidosis.
Coconut For Skin Disorders
The oil extracted from the flesh of the ripe nut is effective in dressing bums and scalds. The oil is great value in the preparation. The oil of great value in the preparation of skin ointments as it readily penetrates the skin. The tar-like fluid obtained from the hot shells of the ripe nuts is a rubifacient, reddening and warming the skin. It is an effective household remedy for ringworm, itch and other skin ailments. The bark of the plant dried and burnt into ashes to produce a powder which when mixed with palm kernel oil is an effective remedy for skin ailments such as rashes, black spots, scabies and measles. A good old folk remedy use coconut ashes mixed with dry gin for toothache.
Coconut For Ascites & Hepatitis
Coconut water is valuable in ascites, a disease that causes swelling in the stomach due to fluid accumulation. Two to three glassful of coconut water daily is an effective remedy. Father Anselm Adodo in his book “Nature Power” has some useful recipe for hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). It involves coconut root, powdered bitter kola and birds pepper (cayenne). He also recommends boiling the coconut root with lemon leaves and the roots of the bitter leaf plant for many liver and kidney ailments.
Coconut For Fibroids & Other Chronic Diseases
Coconut is good for general ill-health as it is an effective health cleanser and tonic. It is a good remedy for food poisoning. Father Adodo has been able to use coconut water with honey to alleviate cancer. He recommends the roots of coconut with Xylopre Aethopia (Uda in Igbo, Erunje in Yoruba) brought to boil is effective in the therapy for fibroids. Every part of the immature coconut is very beneficial for the memory. People suffering from loss of memory or forgetfulness (Alzheimer’s) or any form of memory problem will benefit from the whitish pulp inside the immature coconut mixed with honey. It remains for our researchers into plant medicine to confirm for us this age-old recipe for improving the memory.
Coconut In Modern Medicine
Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions. Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these are summarized below:
- Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
- Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
- Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
- Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
- Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
- Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
- Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
- Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
- Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
- Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
- Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
- Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
- Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
- Helps protect against osteoporosis.
- Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
- Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
- Improves digestion and bowel function.
- Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
- Reduces inflammation.
- Supports tissue healing and repair.
- Supports and aids immune system function.
- Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
- Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
- Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
- Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
- Functions as a protective antioxidant.
- Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
- Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
- Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
- Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
- Reduces epileptic seizures.
- Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
- Dissolves kidney stones.
- Helps prevent liver disease.
- Is lower in calories than all other fats.
- Supports thyroid function.
- Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
- Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
- Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
- Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
- Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
- Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
- Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
- Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
- Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
- Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
- Helps control dandruff.
- Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
- Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
- Is completely non-toxic to humans.