Scientific Name/Common Name: Cocos nucifera / Coconut
Part(s) Used: Inner flesh of the seed/fruit and the oil
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Nutrients per 100 grams of edible portion: Total lipids 100 g; Total saturated fatty acids, 86.5 g; Total monosaturated fatty acids, 5.8 g; Total polyunsaturated fatty acids (18:2) 1.8 g; phytosterols, 86 mg; Cholesterol, 0 g. Minerals: iron, Fe, 0.04 mg; vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.09 mg; vitamin E (gamma tocopherol), 0.20; vitamin K (phylloquinone), 0.5 mcg.
Overview: Coconuts have been used for thousands of years for both culinary and cosmetic uses. Almost every part of the coconut palm has been used for some purpose—even extending to fuel, fabric, and housing. The oil is an excellent one for cooking due to its high smoke point (177 °C /350 °F for virgin, unrefined oil). Coconut water is a source of electrolytes/minerals and often drunk as a sports drink. Medium chain triglycerides are the type of saturated fat predominately found in coconut oil. These are different from other saturated fats in that they can be burned for fuel in the liver, do not require modification or bile salts for digestion, and do not enter the lymphatic system and bloodstream like other fats. Modern research has investigated coconut oil’s benefits on weight loss/promoting fat oxidation and improving lipid profiles.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Nutrition wise as a good source of calories and fats for those with malnutrition or malabsorption issues. Topically for beneficial, moisturizing effects on skin. As a healthy oil for cooking purposes.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Feranil AB, Duazo PL, Kuzawa CW, Adair LS. Coconut oil is associated with a beneficial lipid profile in pre-menopausal women in the Philippines. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011;20(2):190-5.
St-Onge M-P, Bosarge A, Goree LLT, Darnell B. Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil Consumption as Part of a Weight Loss Diet Does Not Lead to an Adverse Metabolic Profile When Compared to Olive Oil. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2008;27(5):547-552.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.