The coconut palm is also known as the coconut tree. The medicinal part of the tree is the actual fruit. Most of the coconut is used for food as well as medical uses. Coconut milk can be used to sooth oral issues and inflammation, as well was wounds. Coconut oil is also used in beauty products.
The medicinal part of the plant is the fruit.
Flower and Fruit
The flowers are arranged in up to 1.5 m long, spindle-shaped, branching axillary inflorescences, which are surrounded by a woody spathe. On each of the 20 to 40 lateral branches of the inflorescence there is only one 3 to 3.5 cm large, yellowish-green-white female flower. There are 200 to 300 male flowers at the apex of the single branches with their structures arranged in threes. The flowers are up to 1.5 cm wide and yellowish; the ovary is 3-carpeled and fused. The drupe is up to 30 cm long and weighs 1.5 to 2.5 kg. The exocarp is smooth and impervious to water. The mesocarp is fibrous (certain floating ability, coconut fiber) and the endocarp woody and hard. The stone kernel is incorrectly called a nut. The inconspicuous embryo is embedded in the fat rich endosperm (copra). Inside the unripe fruit there is approximately 500 ml of clear, sweet-tasting liquid (coconut milk), which reduces when the fruit ripens. At the side stem insert there are 3 shoot holes, only one of which is covered with a membrane. These allow the embryo to penetrate the surrounding fiber layer.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
Coconut Palm is diclinous and monoecious. The tree grows up to 30 to 35 m high. The frond is up to 5 m long, 1 to 1.7 m wide (up to 15 kg in weight) and clasps the trunk with a wide petiole. The bark is thick and the surface is shaggy with remains of the leaf bases of fallen leaves. The trunk is divided into nodes and internodes. Adventitious roots arise from the base of the trunk.
One palm tree produces up to 70 ripe fruit per year.
The native country of this species is disputed, but is believed to be the Pacific regions.
Coconut oil is the fat extracted from the dried solid part of the endosperm of Cocos nucifera through cold pressing. Completely ripe fruit is harvested, followed by manual or mechanical opening of the kernel and then followed by the extraction of the endosperm (known as copra). It is dried in the sun, over a fire, or in special drying houses. The pressed oil is refined and cleaned.
Actions & Pharmacology
Fatty oil: chief fatty acids lauric acid (45 to 50%), myristic acid (13 to 20%), palmitic acid (7 to 10%), caprylic acid (5 to 10%), including as well stearic acid, linoleic acid, caproic acid.
Free fatty acids (3 to 5%)
Delta-lactones of 5-hydroxy-fatty acids: particularly delta-octalactone (as aroma compounds)
Coconut oil is characterized by having a large quantity of short-chained fatty acids and a rather small amount of unsaturated fatty acids. It is chiefly used as a dietetic. An immunomodulating effect was observed in animal experiments, as was an inhibiting effect upon the growth of carcinoma cells of the colon in vitro.
Indications & Usage
The oil of Coconut Palm has been used for poorly healing wounds and skin infections (Africa). Internally it is used for colds and inflammation of the throat (with salt; Central America) and for tooth decay (southeast Asia).
Coconut Palm oil is used for dysuria, coughs, bronchitis, and to stop hair from turning gray.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
No health hazards are known in conjunction with the use of the drug as a food or as a pharmaceutical vehicle or raw substance (including its use in the extraction of short- and medium-chained fatty acids and in the manufacture of soaps and solubilizing agents).
Mode of Administration
Preparations are intended for internal and external use.
Protect from light in tightly sealed containers at a maximum temperature of 25º C.