Oil from the fruit of the cocos nucifera, or coconut palm, has been given mythic status. Coconut oil, an extract of the coconut’s white meaty pulp, has been touted as the next miracle cure-all for nearly every affliction. In reality, like many other organic products, coconut oil can’t do everything. But it can do a lot and has some very important benefits.
Here are 7 common and effective uses for coconut oil:
- Lice treatment. Rinse lice-infested hair in cider and allow the cider to dry. This will loosen the lice eggs from the hair follicle. Then, thoroughly coat the hair in coconut oil, cover the hair, and allow the oil to remain on the hair for at least 12 hours. This will smother the eggs. Then, shampoo the hair.
- Improve breast milk. Besides proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals, human breast milk is made up of a fairly consistent ratio of fatty acids. Coconut oil is comprised of mostly saturated fat and beneficial acids. When ingested by pregnant or nursing mothers, coconut oil can improve milk quality and nutritional value.
- Moisturizer. Because of its very low water content, coconut oil is a fantastic hair, scalp, and skin moisturizer. Most over-the-counter consumer moisturizers contain high amounts of water. When that water evaporates very little moisturizing components are left. However, coconut oil is pure oil and rapidly gets absorbed, providing a high-degree of protection and repair.
- Base for cleaners. Coconut oil is often used as a base component of soaps and detergents. The oil acts as an emulsifier, breaking down grease and grime and allowing it to be wiped away. As an organic product, coconut oil-based cleaners are safe and leave no harmful compounds on surfaces.
- Cooking oil. Although olive oil is the cooking star, coconut oil is often a better alternative. Olive oil can break down at cooking temperatures and become oxidative and toxic. Coconut oil, however, remains relatively stable at higher temperatures. Both oils are calorie-dense and should be used in moderation.
- An antibacterial. Coconut oil has high levels of monolaurin, a fatty acid known to fight bacteria. When the oil is ingested it can help fight intestinal parasites and other bugs throughout the digestive tract. It also fights yeast infections and other fungal conditions. When used topically, coconut oil can combat athlete’s foot, rashes and other skin infections.
- A brain booster. As reported on www.greenmedinfo.com, a recent Canadian study demonstrated a link between brain health and the fatty acids found in coconut oil. Details of that study can be found here. In particular, it seems to be the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil that have beneficial interactions with brain cells and neurons.
For centuries, humans have known of the benefits and uses of coconut oil. Will it grow hair on a bald head, cure acne, or relieve kidney stones? No. But coconut oil does have a wide range of uses and should be included as part of a holistic organic lifestyle.