Coconut (Cocos nucifera)

Coconut (Cocos nucifera)

Other common names: Cocoanut, coconut palm.

Coconut

Diagram courtesy of Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen.

Family:  Arecaceae

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Antiparasitic, brain tonic, nutritive, accelerates fat processing in the body, febrifuge, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, testosterone booster, anti-ulcer, digestive, aphrodisiac, hormone balancer,  laxative, antifungal, emollient, antimicrobial, vulnerary, improves fat-soluble nutrient absorption, diuretic, regulates menstruation, can act as a moderate sunscreen. Coconut water is a kidney tonic/cleanser.

Harvest:

Coconut is harvested at varying times of year with differing frequency depending on geographical location.

Part used: Fruit, juice.

Constituents:

Coconut water: Antioxidants, cytokinins, L-arginine, ascorbic acid, magnesium, potassium, other vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Coconut meat/oil: Lauric acid, myristic acid, caprylic acid, caproic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, vitamin E and others.

Indications:

Used for yeast infections, degenerative neurological diseases, to ease constipation, boost testosterone and regulate the menstrual cycle. Some use the oil for weight loss, although this use is controversial due to coconut’s saturated fat content. The fatty acids in coconut are chemically different from other saturated fats, and many believe that (taken in moderation) it is healthier than other fat sources. It also encourages the body to process fats, so this makes it valuable to those who are trying to lose weight. Coconut products are also used to treat mild to moderate inflammatory pain, promote urination, cleanse the kidneys (coconut water only), heal skin conditions, repair duodenal or peptic ulcers, and kill parasites.

Medicinal preparation:

Internal

The oil and water from coconuts can be used in cooking (use caution, the oil breaks down at a temperature higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit). Some take the oil directly by the spoonful, but this method has been known to cause nausea and digestive upset if done in excess. It can also be taken in capsule form. The palm hearts are ground with molasses and eaten on a daily basis to regulate menstruation.

External

Apply to the hair as a treatment or a rinse, to get rid of lice or heal dandruff, psoriasis and other scalp conditions. It also conditions the hair and skin, hence its use in cosmetics. As an antimicrobial, it is popular for use as  a base oil in ointments, massage oils, soaps, suppositories and other preparations. Coconut oil has also been used as a sexual lubricant – use caution in doing so, as this does provoke an allergic response in some individuals.

Contraindications:

Do not use excessively while pregnant…cooking with it is fine, but do not take it at a supplemental dose without a doctor’s guidance. Also check with a doctor if you are taking blood-thinners, antibiotics, hormonal medications, or if you have had a history of heart attack, stroke or dangerously high cholesterol. There are conflicting opinions on which processing methods are safe, so please ensure that the oil you buy is designed for human internal consumption if you plan to take it internally (many are processed for cosmetic purposes only). Always use virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed. Non-virgin coconut oil is very hydrogenated and not overly healthy. High doses of oil taken internally can cause nausea and vomiting.

Cocos nucifera (Coconut)

Photo courtesy of http://www.floracafe.com.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns. 

Energetic/traditional use: Associated with the moon and the element of water, used for feminine spells and those that are geared toward lunar magick, dream rites, love, health, peaceful harmony, encouraging compassion and psychic vision. Also used in fertility rituals.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

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