Coconut - Research:
A polyphenolic-rich extract of the fibrous husk of C. nucifera is currently being studied for its possible antibacterial and antiviral activity.5 A study has also been conducted to evaluate the efficacy of a formulation of coconut (Cocos nucifera), palm nut (Eleais guineensis) and gobi (Carapa procera) against bites from black flies.6
Every part of the coconut can be used.3 In folk medicine, coconuts were used to treat various conditions involving the respiratory, endocrine, digestive, female reproductive, circulatory, nervous, and immune systems as well as certain dermatological (skin) conditions.4
The coconut palm is referred to as the kalpa vriksha in Sanskrit, meaning “the tree which provides all the necessities of life.”3 The white nut-meat of the coconut can be eaten raw, or shredded and dried to be used in cooking.3 A single coconut contains as much protein as a quarter pound of beefsteak.3 Coconut milk, which is roughly 17% fat, can be made from grated coconut and hot milk or water.2 Coconut water, used as a refreshing drink, is found in the cavity of the coconut. Unless the coconut is spoiled, the water is sterile until the coconut is opened.Coconut water has been used when there is a lack of standard IV fluid for intravenous hydration, because it is high in calcium, chloride, potassium, and sugars.2
Copra, the dried meat of the nut, is crushed to release coconut oil.3 Rich in glycerin, copra is used to make shampoos, soaps, shaving creams, lubricants and toothpaste.4
1 Gilman E, Watson D. Coconut Palm. 1993. Available at: http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/trees/COCNUCA.pdf. Accessed March 8, 2005.
2 Coconut. 2005. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut. Accessed February 4, 2005.
3 Smith K. Cocos nucifera. 1997. Available at: http://www.siu.edu/~ebl/. Accessed February 4, 2005.
4 Cocos nucifera L. 1996. Available at: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Cocos_nucifera.html. Accessed February 4, 2005.
5 Mendonca-Filho R, Rodrigues I, Alviano D, Santos A, Soares R, Alviano C, et al. Leishmanicidal activity of polyphenolic-rich extract from husk fiber of Cocos nucifera Linn. (Palmae). Res-Microbiol. 2004 Apr;155(3):136-143.
6 Sylla M, Konan L, Doannio J, Traore S. Evaluation of the efficacity of coconut (Cocos nucifera), palm nut (Eleais guineensis) and gobi (Carapa procera) lotions and creams in individual protection against Simulium damnosum s.l. bites in Cote d’Ivoire. Bull Soc Pathol Exot. 2003 May;96(2):104-109.