Coconut: Cocos nucifera: (B.N.); Tirnarapa or Sadaphala: (Sans.); Narial: (Hindi, Urdu, Dak.); Thengina kai: (Kan.); Nargil: (Arab.); Joze-Hindi: (Pers.); Theng: (Tam., Mal.); Doonghi: (Sindhi); Narikel: (Beng.); Koparaha: (Pashtu.).
Family: Palmae or Palmaceae.
Food Value per 100 g. approximately
Essential Amino acids (g/100 g. Protein)
Constitution: Hot and Dry 2o.
Mythological Background of Coconut Tree
According to HOLY VEDAS, coconut tree is named as KALPA-VRIKSHA or The tree of Heavens. It is believed that LORD VISHNU, the most charming God of Hindu mythology, the protector of the entire universe, when came on this beautiful earth. He brought three protecting Gods with Him. They were: Universal Mother LAKSHMI as His beloved wife, KAMADHENU a wonderful Divine cow that had the boon to give anything you desire and KARPAGAVALLI or the Coconut tree. It means giver of all health, energy, strength, tranquillity, longevity and peace.
From ancient times, Dravadians in South India, also considered coconut tree as very sacred and auspicious. They named this tree as Tennam-pillai. It means that coconut tree should be carefully tended like your own son.
Coconut tree grows luxuriously along the entire coast of the sea and it thrives well in loose sandy soil. Its age varies between 120 to 200 years. Among all the trees that grow on the earth, it is believed that coconut tree is endowed with a wonderful sense of understanding human voices and it is observed that coconut tree grows better in school compounds where children play, sing and scream in their innocent shrill voice.
Coconut tree is a boon to mankind for, it supplies all the bare necessities of the man. It is interesting to read a passage from the book Vegetable world by Lois Figuier, 'Imagine a traveller passing through one of these countries situated under a burning sky; panting and despirited, the poor traveller at length perceives a hut surrounded by some trees. He sees no cultivated lands except some coconut trees around the hut. He is soon beneath the hospitable roof. His host offers him drink and repast with various dishes. The astonishing traveller asks who in this desert country furnishes him with all these things. 'My coconut tree was the reply'. 'The drink I presented you with on your arrival was drawn from the fruit before it is ripe, and some of the nuts which contain it weigh 3 or 4 lb. This kernel so delicious and delicate in its flavour is the fruit when it is ripe. This milk which you find so agreeable is prepared from the kernel. The cabbage whose flavour is so delicate, is the top of the coconut which we rarely regale ourselves with the delicacy, for the tree from which the cabbage is cut dies soon after. The wine with which you are so satisfied is furnished by the coconut tree. The sap has supplied the sugar with which these sweet meats are made. The vessels and utensils have been made out of the shell of the nut'.
'Nor is this all: I entirely depend on these invaluable trees for my habitation. With this wood my cabin is constructed. These leaves dried placed form the roof. Made into an umbrella they shelter me in my walks. The clothes that cover me are woven out of the fibres of their leaves and fruit. These mats that serve so many useful purposes are produced by them also. The sifter which you see was ready made to my hand in that part of the tree whence the leaves issue. With these same leaves woven together we can make sails for ships: The species of fibre that envelops the nut is preferable to tow ship. It does not rot in the water and it swells in imbibing it. It makes excellent string and all sorts of cable and cordage. Finally the delicate oil that has seasoned many of our dishes, and that which burns in my lamp is expressed from fresh kernels'.
The beautiful coconut palm benefactor of mankind has stood the test of time against many ravages of nature. He writes, 'There are some 1200 species of palms. Among them the most beautiful and most widely spread palm is coconut tree. It is true that the date palm is an important source of food to the Arabs but it has no such general distribution'. With all these uses coconut tree is aptly called as a tree of Heavens by our wise ancestors.
Coconut varies in size and colour and bear in clusters in the form of bunches hanging from the top most stem. Each bunch bears about 20 to 30 fruits and there are four to five such bunches. When the fruit is tender it is yellowish pale-green and as it begins to ripe, turns into light brown and falls off its own.
The fruit is enveloped with a fibrous mass under which there is a horny shell that hosts the kernel or endosperm and water.
Since coconut is a fruit of a heavenly tree, it has held a very high place in all religious ceremonies. It is offered as a token of devotion while celebrating puja in the temple of various deities. Particularly breaking a coconut in front of the passage of Anjaniah Swamy's temple is considered as very auspicious. Offering a coconut to every guest during marriage ceremonies is considered as a sacred gift bringing heaps of blessings to the newly wed.
Kernel or the endosperm is found attached beneath the shell. It is this fleshy portion that is largely consumed as food. Mostly it is used in the preparation of various curries and sweetmeats.
Besides the various food components, kernel is chemically fortified with various enzymes like: Lignin, Investin, Oxydase, Catalase, Monitol, (coconut sugar), Albumin, Tartaric acid etc.
Jelly like kernel of the tender coconut is free from fibres and get easily digested without leaving any residue. Therefore, it can be safely given to children in the form of mash with bananas and milk. It can also be safely given to persons suffering from indigestion, gastric ulcers, stomach cancer, colitis, typhoid, hepatitis, jaundice, diarrhoea, dysentery, piles and after surgical operations. It is an useful food for diabetics, because it does not contain fat and starch. Applying the tender kernel over the ulcers, imparts a cool sensation and heals them quickly. Massaging the fresh kernel over the face daily, cures pimples, prevents early appearance of wrinkles and keeps ones face flower fresh.
Ripe kernel is rich in fat but deficient in carbohydrate. Even though it is a high calorie food that supplies about 445 calories per 100 g., its moderate use in the form of desiccated coconut mixed with wheat flour from which chapaties are prepared serve as a valuable food for diabetics who are taking regular treatment. Author has been using coconut in this form in all the diabetics without any harm and complication. He usually advices them to use a handful of grated coconut once in four days.
Cancer and Coconut
Author observes that persons who chew coconut along with betel leaf and areca-nut rarely suffer from any cancerous growth in their mouth. He happens to examine one of his friends from Northern India. He is the religious head of an institution and is about 42 years old. He eats pan supari with tobacco at least 20 to 25 times daily and he is addicted to this from 30 years. After examining him carefully the author found nothing abnormal except discoloured teeth. It is confirmed that he never eats the leaves unless the mixture is mixed with a piece of fresh coconut kernel. After this tip, author examined number of persons who either had the family history of cancer or who were addict to tobacco and pan supari and found that those who regularly chewed dry or fresh coconut kernel were free from any sign of cancer in spite of excessive use of pan supari. The author believes that either the coconut has natural radium or cobalt which prevents the cancerous effect or the oil may protect the mucus membrane of the cheeks from constant irritation. He wonders, if some scientist doing research in cancer can take this tip and do some research and find how coconut prevents the development of cancer.
Milk of the kernel forms a very valuable food for children who are suffering from protein deficiency, rickets and abdominal tuberculosis. It can be safely given as a regular feed by mixing it with tender coconut water. It is an excellent liquid food for aged persons.
Coconut milk mixed with a tablespoonful of poppy seed milk and pure honey one tablespoonful; taken every night before going to bed is an effective medicine for dry cough due to throat irritation or due to excessive smoking, chest pain without any alarming cause, diarrhoea and dysentery.
A glassful of coconut milk taken early in the morning followed with an ounce of castor oil after three or four hours, is found to act excellently in eradicating the tapeworm.
Chewing a piece of fresh coconut along with jaggery is an excellent sweet-meat for children. It hardens the gums, prevents dental caries and halitosis.
Externally, fresh coconut milk is applied with glycerine as a cosmetic to whiten the complexion, cure chopped hands and soles.
Desicated fresh coconut is a boon in trauma. It is fried and fomented on the injured part with excellent results. It is always remembered that any injury however simple should it be, great care of a surgeon is required, therefore, after using fried grated kernel as a first aid, the patient should be moved to the nearest hospital.
Dry Kernel or Copra
Dry kernel is sweet and contains more fat. It contains Sodium 30 mg. and Potassium 700 mg. per 100 g.
Chewing dry kernel along with sugarcandy is an effective medicine for ulcerative stomatitis and glossitis due to B-complex deficiency with all these benefits and uses, God has provided us food and medicine in one fruit in the form of coconut.
Tender Coconut Water or (Eleneer)
pH value of is 5.6 and the other nutrients present in tender coconut water.
||2.1 per cent
||3.8 per cent
||152 mg. per cent
||180 mg. per cent
||49 mEq. per litre
||17 mEq. per litre
||62 mEq. per litre
||8 mEq. per litre
||5 mEq. per litre
Medicinal Uses of Tender Coconut Water
In India, tender coconut water is used as a cooling medicine and as a most sacred and pure water from vedic period. Even to day, it is offered as a Sacred water or Tirtha in the temples and the water is used to bathe the Deities. Every one knows the cooling value of tender coconut and a lemon all over India. Tender coconut's water is drunk daily during summer as a most refreshing and cooling drink. The water is pleasantly sweetish-salt and leaves a feeling of complete satisfaction from thirst.
Tender coconut water contains a very high concentration of potassium and chlorine in sterilized water. Its use during the treatment of heart, liver and kidney disorders, general dropsy, scanty urination, toxaemia of pregnancy, B-coli infection, albuminuria, high acidity of urine, gonorrhoea and as an adjuvant in the treatment with salicylates, sulphonamides and wherever sodium is contra indicated, is found effective with very gratifying results. It is the cheapest food diuretic that protects from the bad effects of excessive use of oral chlorothiazide diuretics. In kidney failure, tender coconut water should be very carefully given under the strict supervision of a physician.
The author is using tender coconut water in the treatment of various diseases with very effective results. Particularly, tender coconut water with fresh lime juice is a boon to infants, children and adults, to cure dehydration. Giving a teaspoon at a time every ten minutes not only quenches thirst but also restores the electrolyte balance in infants and children where emergency saline transfusion facilities are not available.
For vomiting in children due to ascending of a roundworm in the stomach, tender coconut water with lime juice is a specific medicine. Parents are afraid of giving tender coconut water to infants and children. It is assured that there is no harm in giving 4 to 6 ounces of tender coconut as a routine food to every infant after the third day of birth. Mixing tender coconut water instead of plain water in milk, not only nourishes the child, but also prevents the curdling of milk in the stomach and prevents vomiting, constipation and indigestion. Tender coconut water in which a well ripe banana is mashed can be regularly given as a perfect food instead of milk. Children grow healthier by regular use of this food.
Tender Coconut Water in Cholera
Cholera is a very serious infectious disease in which the cholera germs enter our digestive tract along with contaminated food and drinks and cause inflammation due to which severe diarrhoea and vomiting occurs. Severe loss of water and other key minerals like potassium and sodium, due to diarrhoea and vomiting, a state of dehydration sets, and one dies of acidosis and shock.
Tender coconut water 8 to 12 ounces mixed with a teaspoonful of fresh lime juice administered orally is well tolerated by the patient and rectifies the electrolyte balance neutralizing the acidosis of the blood. Author has been using tender coconut water and lime juice along with Terramycin pfizer 250 mg. 1 capsule every four hourly as soon as the patient starts vomiting and passing loose stools.
During the recent outbreak of cholera epidemics in Mysore, the author treated number of acute cholera cases with tender coconut water, lime juice and Terramycin 250 mg. 1 capsule every 4 hours with gratifying results. Supplementing Furoxsone Smith Kline and French 100 mg. 1 Tablet with tender coconut water 8 to 12 ounces four hourly, is also found to be effective in early stages of cholera. Researchers at School of Tropical Medicine confirmed and announced: 'In view of the potential hazard of the intravenous administration of potassium salts under epidemic conditions efforts were directed at the school to establish a practical and economical oral potassium repletion regimen.'
'Green coconut water is a known source of potassium rich fluid and since cholera patient can almost invariably ingest oral fluids following initial correction of shock and acidosis, the experts suggested imbibing of coconut-water as a must for cholera patients'.
Tender Coconut Water as a Substitute for Normal Saline
Tender coconut water transfused directly from the nut is used by the author with excellently good results. After the intensive clinical research and careful investigation the author claims that running the fluid at the rate of 20 to 25 drops per minute by inserting the sterilized transfusion set after painting the chopped portion with tincture iodine helps the fluid to pass through transfusion filter and reduces the risk of needle block. It is found that about Â¾ part of the water is sufficient for a person who is 50 per cent dehydrated. It is advised that tender coconut water transfusion should be restricted only in emergency and should not be repeated, because of the probabilities of the formation of antibodies. Doctors have also clinically tried and found that tender coconut water can be safely used as a substitute for normal saline in dehydration caused by various gastro-intestinal disorders. It is more economical and aptly said 'If all the claims made for two substitutes proves uniformly good as expected, the common man will find that he will have to pay very much less for medicine and drugs.
Tender Coconut Water in Infections
All infectious cause fever and due to high body temperature various biochemical functions of the body get impaired. Tender coconut water being rich in potassium and other minerals plays a major role to increase the urinary output and helps the elimination of sulpha drugs and other antibiotics that are usually administered during infections. Also, this mineral water aids the quick absorption of the drugs and makes their peak concentration in the blood easier by its electrolytic effect. This quick dispersal of the drugs leaves a lethal effect on the micro organisms and cures the disease earlier with low doses of drugs. Tender coconut water can be safely given in typhoid, colitis, smallpox, chicken-pox, measles, dysentery, diarrhoea, diphtheria, pneumonia, bronchitis, nephritis, cystitis, general toxaemia of pregnancy and after major surgical operations.
Tender Coconut Water as a Cosmetic
Washing the face daily with tender coconut water is an excellent medicine to cure pimples, black heads. Its regular use prevents the early appearance of wrinkles on the face, dryness and takes the care of complexion.
Mix a teaspoonful of turmeric paste in a glassful of tender coconut water and set it overnight. Then add Red-sandal powder 3 teaspoons and stir the ingredients well. Leave the mixture undisturbed for 3 days. Then strain the liquid through three folded layers of fine muslin cloth. Preserve this liquid in a clean bottle and apply freely twice daily over the face and see how the lovely face blooms with beauty. It is preferable to cheap snows and other cosmetics.
Drinking tender coconut water mixed with a tablespoonful of honey is a very effective and cheap nerve tonic. It stimulates sex centres and prevents the bad effects of sexual indulgence. It is a medicine for chronic bronchitis, constipation and piles.
Fresh kernel is ground with a glassful of tender coconut water with sugarcandy and one cardamom is given once daily to cure chest pain, dryness in the lungs due to working in dusty atmosphere, hiccough, insomnia, gastric ulcer etc.
A handful of raw rice is soaked in tender coconut water in its own shell until it is fully fermented. Then the rice is ground into fine paste and applied daily for three to four days as a medicine for chopped hands, soles, pimples, dry itching, eczema, discolouration of skin etc., with excellently good results.
Tender coconut water mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder and equal quantity of lime water (Calcium hydroxide) is applied as a very soothing dressing for burns, scalds and burning sensation in the soles and palms.
Coconut Oil: (Oleum cocois B.P.)
Coconut oil is extracted from fresh as well as dry kernel of the fruit. It looks pearl-white when it is solid at low temperature. It melts quickly and looks pale-yellowish in colour. It contains a peculiar coconut smell, which becomes more on exposure the air. Refined coconut oil is free from any colour and smell. Such vacuum refined coconut oil like: Cocovite is recommended for all indications of coconut oil.
Pure coconut oil contains Caprilic, lyric-myristic and palmitic acid. It also contains trimyristin, tristerin, tripalmitin and triolein. It is soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform. It forms soaps on mixing with alkalies. Marine soap is prepared from coconut oil.
Uses of Coconut Oil
Refined coconut oil is mostly used in the manufacture of vegetable ghee, margarine. It is an ideal cooking medium for all dishes like: chapaties, puries, bhajis, dhoklas, vegetables, sweet-meats, omlets, cutlets, salad etc. Refined coconut oil does not cause any indigestion due to the removal of indigestible free fatty acid, that is commonly found in all common edible oils. It does not fume, does not foam, does not froath and does not lose its flavour at high temperature. It has been used as a substitute for butter and Cod-liver oil. It can be moderately used by high-blood pressure diabetic and obese persons.
Coconut oil is externally applied as a very emollient substance. Its daily application mixed with few drops of fresh lime juice and equal quantity of lime water (Calcium hydroxide) forms an effective beauty aid. Its application over the face every night cures pimples, bleaches and nourishes the skin, prevents dryness, early appearance of wrinkles, cleans the tiny pores and helps the skin to breath normally. The same applied over the chopped skin, cracked nipple, napkin rash, helps them to heal quickly.
Daily application of refined coconut oil mixed with lime water and lime juice on the hair, prevents hair fall and lengthens the hair. It gives a brilliant look to the hair. Snow white cream can be prepared by rubbing the mixture without lime juice. It looks like Brylcream, and can be used instead of this noted hair dressing.
Applied over the skin, the pure coconut oil quickly absorbs into the skin, therefore, it is an ideal base for medicated ointments. Mixed with equal quantity of pure cow's butter is daily massaged over the body of a child and exposed to morning sun, helps him or her to grow strong and healthy. Application of coconut oil over the newly born infant, helps to remove the adherent matter from the body, prevents its body-heat and bad effects of exposure to cold winds.
A garlic clove and a clove is roasted in coconut oil until they turn brown. Few drops of this medicated oil is put in ears as a specific folk-medicine for ear-ache due to exposure to cold (It is advised that treating acute ear infections with home remedies should be avoided to prevent serious infection like otitis media, mastoiditis etc.).
A piece of onion is roasted in coconut oil, and few drops are put in both the nostrils without inhaling air through nose, to relieve nasal congestion due to cold. Care must be taken to prevent oil inhalation. Oil in the lungs causes serious complications.
Equal quantity of fresh jasmin leaf juice with coconut oil, and a teaspoonful of mustard seeds per 2 ounces of the mixture is heated until the watery content is evaporated. Its daily application over the shaft of the penis for a couple of months, develops the under developed organ, strengthens and hardens it by letting more blood and retaining it in large quantity when it is in erection. It is warned to avoid glans manipulation with hand which develops the habit of masterbation. The oil massaged over the breasts makes them firm.
Burning coconut oil in lamps gives a smokeless flame, emits cool light and protects the eyes from getting refractive errors.
Application of unrefined coconut oil over the glans and internal vaginal canal before conjugal union, acts as an effective contraceptive. Addition of a pinch of alum or common salt before the application of oil increases the contraceptive effect. A tampoon dipped in coconut oil inserted in the vagina is also a more effective aid than mere oil smearing. It is about 95 per cent safe and a cheap method. Oil also helps as a lubricant for dry vagina and pain during intercourse.
Pure coconut oil mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder is applied to cure vaginitis, caused by mild fungus infection. (For severe fungus infection like: trachomanas, monalia etc. Flagyl (M & B) 1-3 tablets per day, given orally is found to be a specific medicine. Gyno-sterosan (Geigy) S.V.C. (M & B) are some of the potent local vaginal tablets inserted twice daily in such gynaecological disorders).
Coconut flour: Nutritive value of coconut flour is prepared by Azotropic process from the fresh kernel at C.F.T.R.I., Mysore. This product is found to be a very effective and a cheap substitute for A class proteins and various edible, preparations such as, coconut meal, coconut flakes, coconut protein concentrate can be made from coconut flour.
Coconuts can be preserved by treating them with lime to avoid contamination with fungus. This process helps better yield of unspoiled kernel, good quality oil and softer fibre.
Helping an unborn infant to make it more beautiful is really a difficult problem but one can confidently try this method and confirm how simple and effective it is.
The would be mother is advised to act as follows:
- As soon as you know that you are blessed with a new life, thank God for having given you a most wonderful treasure in the world that one has.
- If this bounty is the first one, you must not worry, because you may experience new feelings like: nausea, vomiting, tiredness etc., during the first three months. These are only temporary symptoms which can be controlled by taking siquil (squibbs) 5-10 mg. 1 to 2 tablets daily or a teaspoonful of Pyrovin Elixir B.P.W. 3 times daily under the guidance of a physician.
- Have plenty of rest, eat fresh fruits, vegetables and drink milk with honey liberally. May be you are weak, for which take Gevral (Lederle) or Netabec (P.D.) 1 capsule 2 times daily during the entire months of pregnancy.
- Regular checkup by a physician is always a safe guide during this blessed time.
- From the beginning of the third month, drink a glassful of unfermented juice of coconut flower Spike (the one that is used as a sacred offering in the marriages), with a teaspoonful of honey and lime-juice once daily until the end of 34 weeks of pregnancy.
- Psychologists believe that right thinking, living in beautiful surroundings, moderate exercise and regular daily prayer to God, also plays a very vital role in moulding the new infant most harmoniously.
The author has been using this medicine from several years in a number of patients with excellently good results. Some physicians use only the plain juice of the spikes. But addition of honey and lime juice enhances the effect of this medicine.
The fibre from the husk that envelops the coconut shell is known as coir. It is a very useful product for making numerous useful articles like: ropes, mats, carpets, upholstery, saddles and hard boards.
Ash of coir, particularly the fine one that envelops the shell contains styptic properties. It is therefore used with tender coconut water and sugarcandy in Â½ to 1 teaspoonful doses once or twice daily as a medicine to cure excessive menstrual bleeding in young girls, bleeding piles, excessive thirst during summer, bilious vomiting, excessive acidity in the stomach, gastric ulcer, hiccough etc.
A cupful decoction of the coir given with a teaspoonful of honey is used with gratifying results to expel round and tapeworm. Adding lime juice, dry grape seeds, cardamom and a pinch of table salt to the infusion of the coir is used as a folk-medicine in morning sickness.
The shell of the coconut is hard and light brown in colour. It can be used for decorative purposes after washing it with washing soda and then rubbing it with coconut oil. This process gives a black shade to the shell. Shell is used as a cheap fuel for cooking and gas engines. The cup like shell is used for varieties of domestic uses, such as: bowels, ladles, hooka, etc. Painted lacquered inlay work with metal, fancy ornaments like: bangles, buttons, tea sets, spoons, rings are beautifully made from shell. It is a home industrial product in Kerala.
Oil extracted by burning a coconut shell in a copper vessel is used as a specific medicine to cure ringworm, eczema, etc. It is daily applied over the affected part for a fortnight.
Burnt shell-powder mixed with salt and pepper is an excellent dentifrice. A teaspoonful of the fine powder taken immediately after meal with butter milk, acts as a remedy for fermentive dyspepsia and stops the excessive formation of gas, cures diarrhoea, dysentery and antidotes the poisonous effects of corrosive poisons.
The juice drawn from the upper part of the trunk of the tree by incising a hole in it and the liquid is collected in a earthen vessel. It is fermented and known as coconut toddy. It contains about 5 to 8 per cent of alcohol and some B-complex factor with yeast and sugar. Like other alcoholic beverages, it causes intoxication if drunk in excess. It is a very effective digestive enzyme-tonic and causes excessive secretion of the urine, dissolves urinary gravel and flushes the kidney from harmful uric acid. The toddy mixed with rice flour and boiled to make the paste is applied over the chronic foul smelling ulcers which refuse to heal and have the tendency to become gangrenous.
The unfermented juice is an effective diuretic-tonic for acute gonorrhoea, cystitis, pyelitis, nephritis, scanty urination, congestive heart failure, loss of weight, tuberculosis, indigestion, constipation etc. The freshly drawn juice should be used before the sunrise with sugarcandy in the empty stomach; otherwise, it begins to ferment and becomes toddy.
Ash of the dry leaves mixed with coconut oil is a very soothing dressing for all kinds of burns and scalds, but care must be taken to prevent the wounds from sepsis in all injuries however minor they are.
Ash of the stem bark contains cleansing minerals and is used as a dentifrice. It stops the bleeding from the gums, cleans the teeth, prevents the bad breath and protects the enamel of the teeth. The gauze like covering of the stem can be used as a dressing gauze after boiling it in the water or disinfecting it in Dettol. It araetes the wounds and helps to heal them quickly.
Decoction of the roots is gargled in toothache. It strengthens the gums and loose teeth.
Sleeping under the coconut tree is said to prevent tuberculosis hysteria, insomnia and mental tension.