The Vedas describe the coconut tree as Kalpa vriksha or the Tree of Heaven and perhaps no other phrase can give a better description of this versatile tree. Almost every part of the tree has some medicinal value. Even the shell of this tough nut has its uses. Let’s take a look at what medical benefits each part has to offer.
• Kernel: The jelly-like kernel of the tender coconut is devoid of fibers and can easily be digested. This can be given to children suffering from protein deficiency rickets, and abdominal tuberculosis, in the form of mash along with bananas and milk. If you are worried about early aging symptoms like wrinkles, massage with the fresh kernel over the face daily and keep your skin fresh. Tender coconut can also prevent oral cancer caused by eating paan or supari. Researcher PK Thompson also found that monolaurin and its precursor lauric acid inactivated various bacteria, yeast, fungi and enveloped viruses such as human immuno deficiency virus, measles virus, herpes simplex, vesicular stomatitis virus, visna virus and cytomegalo virus. In case of dry cough and throat irritation, take coconut milk mixed with a tablespoonful of poppy seed milk and a tablespoonful of pure honey, before going to bed. This is even useful in case of diarrhea and dysentery. Tapeworms are best eradicated with coconut milk. It should be taken preferably at bedtime. Desiccated fresh coconut is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is fried and fomented on the desired parts to bring back the tone of the flaccid muscles, especially in conditions like facial paralysis.
• Copra: The dry kernel has valuable micro and macro elements. Due to the considerable amounts of vitamin B, mouth ulcers can be effectively controlled by chewing dry kernel along with sugar candy.
• Coconut water: The medicinal importance of the tender (unripe) coconut water is well known. This water has high concentrations of potassium and chlorine and can be used to treat heart, liver, and kidney disorders. This is found to be beneficial in case of general dropsy, scanty urination with high acidic contents, morning sickness during pregnancy, intestinal infections, albuminuria, gonorrhea, etc. Coconut water along with lime juice can be used in infants and children to cure dehydration. This can be given in doses of one teaspoonful for every 10 minutes to quench the thirst and to restore the electrolyte balance where emergency saline transfusion facilities are not available. Tender coconut water can be mixed in milk and given to infants to provide relief from vomiting, constipation, and indigestion. Tender coconut water along with a pinch of turmeric powder and an equal quantity of slaked lime water (calcium hydroxide) works as a good soothing ointment for burns.
• Coconut oil: It is a good emollient and can be applied externally along with a few drops of lemon juice and lime water (calcium hydroxide) for treating pimples, wrinkles, chapped skin, cracked nipples, napkin rash, etc. If you have a growing child, whose growth is not up to the mark, then apply the oil along with cow butter. Massage well and expose the child to the morning sun. For sagging breasts, take equal quantities of fresh jasmine leaf juice and coconut oil; add mustard seeds V4 the quantity of coconut oil; heat the mixture on a slow fire until the water content evaporates; filter and bottle. Use this oil externally to increase the blood flow and to make the desired parts firm.
• Flower: Bhaavaprakaasa, the famous Ayurvedic treatise, advocates the consumption of coconut spike paste along with curd for treating urinary stones.
• Coir: Ash of the coir has styptic properties. Therefore, in case of excessive menstrual bleeding and bleeding piles, one can use this ash along with tender coconut water and sugar candy. A cupful decoction of coir, when taken with honey, helps expel intestinal worms.
• Shell: Oil extracted from the shell is very effective in treating ringworm infections. The oil can be obtained by burning shells in a copper vessel. Application should be continued for at least 15 days.