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Coconut Uses

Divya Bichu
Do you know that the uses of coconut are many! One of the wonders of nature is the coconut palm, useful in every way possible and is referred to as the tree of life.
A little pool with two layers of wall around it. One white and soft and the other dark and hard, amidst a light brown grassy lawn. What am I?
You got it right!! Coconut. Coconut is an oval-shaped fruit and not a nut as the name suggests, which has a hard dark brown outer covering called the shell. This shell is lined with a white creamy layer from inside, called the coconut meat.
This fruit is hollow and contains sweetened water inside i.e., coconut water. The anatomy of this fruit is interesting! Hard outside, soft inside, and to add to it, sweetened water inside.
Wow! one of the nature's wonders. Amongst Asians, coconut in considered sacred and important, as it forms a part of almost all rituals and prayers offered to god. In Sanskrit referred to as the kalpavriksha, (tree providing all the necessities of life); from the roots to tip every part of this tree is useful.
Hence, very rightly called the tree of life by the Philippines as it supports the livelihood of majority of the population there. Allow me to cite the different parts of the fruit and their varied uses.

Uses of the Coconut Shell

  • In Asia, the shell of the coconut is used for making bowls, trays, etc., and to manufacture various other craft products.
  • Dried coconut shell is used to carve shirt buttons.
  • Fashion accessories like bangles, necklaces and pendants are also carved out of this coconut shell.
  • The husk of the shell and the shell is burned for smoke to repel mosquitoes.
  • Coconut shells are good sources of fuel too.
"Dinesh Subasinghe, a Sri Lankan, discovered the 'Ravana Hatta', a one-stringed violin-like instrument, is a simple contraption made out of a coconut shell, which helped him realize his dream to meet the legendary music director AR Rahman and play in his orchestra. The music that this instrument generates is appealing globally"

Uses of the Coconut Water

  • Coconut water is incredibly hydrating for the body, less on fats and absolutely low on cholesterol.
  • Coconut water and weight loss go hand in hand, being the most natural beverage after water, is normally prescribed during weight loss regime.
  • As compared to most sports and energy drinks, coconut water is high on chloride and potassium, low on sodium and contains natural sugars.
  • Being an isotonic electrolyte, coconut water assimilates easily into blood, boosts energy enhancing physical and athlete performance.
There are many medicinal uses of coconut water as well. It contains various organic nutrients which help in:
  • Raising your metabolism
  • Promoting weight loss
  • Boosting your immune system
  • Aiding digestion
  • Cleansing and detoxifying your body
  • Treating kidney and urethral stones
  • Improving insulin secretion and help control diabetes
"According to the Wall Street Journal, the next big thing in marketable hydration is coconut water. The rise in sales of coconut water is giving a tough competition to the soft drink companies"

Uses of the Coconut Milk

  • The creamy white part of the fruit "the coconut meat" is widely used in cooking.
  • Desiccated meat is used to produce coconut milk which is used in making curry dishes and to add flavor in most of the sea food preparations. In fact, it is the base for most of the Thai dishes.
  • After desiccating the coconut to produce coconut milk, the leftover fiber is used as fodder to the livestock.
  • Coconut milk is also used to produce virgin coconut oil.
"Coconut milk has high saturated fats, which are much healthier than other saturated fat products and easily metabolized by the body."

Uses of Coconut Oil

  • Coconut oil is extracted basically out of dried coconut meat followed by various other processes. Oil that is extracted from coconut milk and followed by the certain centrifugal processes is called "Virgin Coconut Oil".
  • Coconut oil is commonly used in cooking, when frying. It is used as a flavor to most south Asian curries.
  • This oil is used as a tested engine lubricant and a coolant in transformers.
  • It is the basic ingredient in making toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Uses of coconut oil for hair

  • Is an excellent conditioner for your hair when applied 14 hours before a hair wash.
  • Promotes healthy growth of hair and treats hair infected with lice.
  • Also helps treat dandruff , relieves the scalp of dryness and flaking.
  • It softens and adds shine to your hair.

Uses of coconut oil for skin

  • Pure virgin coconut oil is the best moisturizer for the skin.
  • Prevents wrinkles, skin sagging and age spots.
  • Improves the texture of the skin making it more soft and leaving a radiant glow.
  • Relieves minor irritations like insect bites and sunburns when applied in the infected area.
  • Also reduces inflammation and treats acne.
  • Non toxic, harmless and does not cause side effects.
  • It is the most popular oil in soaps. Coconut soap has a nice smell and yields a fluffy lather.
  • Smoothens chapped lips in dry weather.
  • Maintains the natural chemical balance of the skin, preventing premature aging.
  • Loaded with antioxidants which prevent the skin aging process.
  • Protects skin from harmful sun radiations.
  • Other benefits for skin include treating skin problems, like eczema and psoriasis.
"The medium chain fats in coconut oil are similar to fats in mother's milk and have similar nutriceutical effects" - Jon J. Kabara, PhD- Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University.
Now that you know all the coconut uses, you see how amazing the coconut is! How rightly is it called the kalpavriksha or the tree of life. Just totally justifying the title conferred upon.