Coconut oil has been widely used by ancient cultures for thousands of years, many of these people reside in the tropic region of the world including Malaysia, Polynesia, South America, and the Pacific Islands. There is even documentation of a tribe in the Nicobar Islands of the Indian Ocean using the coconut as a currency up until the early twentieth century. Not until recently, with extensive research and science, have people across the world become aware of the spectacular benefits of using the coconut. I'd like to highlight in particular the many uses and benefits one can experience with coconut oil.
The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. A coconut can provide meat, juice, and oil and has fed populations around the world for generations. The oil expelled from a coconut is colorless and when the oil solidifies it has a white appearance. It has a relatively low melting point at just 76 degrees Fahrenheit. True virgin coconut oil is made from pressing fresh coconut meat and is unrefined with no additives. It is slow to oxidize, resisting rancidity with an impressive shelf life of 2 years. You can purchase refined coconut oil, but beware it is often made with dried coconut and has undergone a process of bleaching and deodorizing.
Coconut oil is primarily made from fats, actually medium chain fatty acids to be more precise. Some examples of these acids would be Capric and Caproic acids and it also contains some vitamin E as well. The fact that the oil is made from fatty acids is a definite plus for us humans when it comes to skin and hair care. The anti-oxidizing properties of the acids help to fight aging, whitening of the hair and sagging of the skin. Not only can it help with the appearance of our skin but, it can also help with the bacteria that may inhabit our bodies. The acids turn into anti-microbial and anti-fungal agents such as monocaprin when reacting with certain enzymes thus eliminating certain bacteria that may be detrimental to the body. It has been known to help many children battle thrush and countless others rid themselves of skin issues such as athlete's foot.
Many health professionals today suffer from severe cracked skin; a problem caused by continually washing the hands with harsh chemical soaps. Coconut oil is one of the best remedies when it comes to naturally healing and maintaining healthy skin. It's ability to solidify along with the vitamin E content and anti-microbial factors make it the go to choice for dry, damaged skin. Try lathering a thick layer of coconut oil on your hands, placing warm socks(pop them in the dryer 15 minutes prior to using) over your hands and resting for awhile. Allow enough time, maybe even sleeping in them, for the oil to absorb. Use some coconut oil as a great hair mask as well. Evenly distribute the oil throughout the hair, cover with a warm towel or shower cap, allow to sit for 15 or more minutes, rinse well and enjoy luxurious silky locks!
Coconut oil does wonders outside the body and it can definitely benefit our insides as well. Ingesting raw coconut oil can aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, E, D, and K. It also helps with the slow and steady absorption of glucose and is great to spread over minor cuts and wounds to help with battling potential bacteria. Ingesting the oil can also boost energy and endurance. Try adding a couple tablespoons to a homemade dressing, drizzling a bit in your daily cup of tea, or if you fancy just eat a tablespoon! You can also bake or stir-fry using coconut oil, obviously raw consumption is best but it is still a great cooking tool.
Head on over to your local health food store to find a nice jar of unrefined virgin coconut oil and give it a try! I don't think you'll be disappointed!