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The humble coconut & its many uses

The coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts and found throughout the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The term coconut is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word coco meaning "head" or "skull", from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of "water" and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking.

 Coconut

When mature, they still contain some water and can be used as seed nuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell and coir from the fibrous husk. The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. Coconut oil is great for cooking, and using it in this way is probably the simplest way to start seeing the health rewards of coconut oil. Coconut oil is slow to oxidize, even when heated at high temperatures, which means it is less likely to go rancid and become unhealthy. Also, the fatty acids in coconut oil contain antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties that contribute to overall wellness. Using coconut oil for skin care is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to reap its full benefits.

Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “The Tree of Life.” Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers. As an added bonus, the low molecular weight of coconut oil helps it to penetrate the skin easily, thus improving the health of your skin at the cellular level.

 Coconut

Coconut oil has been described as “the healthiest oil on earth.” That’s quite a remarkable statement. What makes coconut oil so good? What makes it different from all other oils, especially other saturated fats? The caprylic and lauric fatty acids in coconut oil reduce inflammation, while providing superior hydration. Some of the favorite ways to use coconut oil on the skin include as a face wash, to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and in an irritant-free deodorant. While coconut possesses many health benefits due to its fiber and nutritional content, it’s the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine.

Once mistakenly believed to be unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content, it is now known that the fat in coconut oil is a unique and different from most all other fats and possesses many health giving properties. It is now gaining long overdue recognition as a nutritious health food. Coconut water is a great natural electrolyte, and it contains high amounts of potassium. It is also lower in carbohydrates. It only contains about 4.5% carbohydrates, whereas typical sports drinks can contain a 6%-8% carbohydrate concentration. Researchers found that those who drank coconut water experienced significantly less nausea and felt less full. However, most studies have shown that water is still the best choice for hydration.

 Coconut

The roots of coconut are commonly used in beverages and medicine. These roots are used for dye, tooth brush, and mouth wash. It can also be used in treating diarrhea, dysentery, and other digestive problems. The trunk is the largest part of the tree which is used in many construction purposes like buildings, and residential houses. The wood products from the trunk are useful in creating furniture, and even paper pulp. The pinnate leaves of the tree of life seem to be useless but in reality, it has different uses. The leaves when dried can be used for paper pulp and brooms. It can also be used for creating bags, shades, decors, fans, and hats. Some people in rural areas use it in covering roofs, creating fences, and kindling fires.

The shell is actually the part of the coconut fruit. It is also used as a material in different handicrafts. In cooking, its shells are used in producing charcoal and creating dishes and kitchen utensils. When the husk is soaked in salt water, its fibers are separated to produce coir. Coir is commonly used material in creating ropes, mats, and coarse clothes. Flowers are useful in creating apparels. The sap of the flower can be used in creating alcohol and vinegar. Usually, the sap is boiled in order to make syrup. The syrup is processed and fermented to produce alcohol or vinegar. Coconut flowers have many medicinal uses. They are an ingredient in many traditional remedies, especially medicines for new mothers.

 Coconut

Here is an innovative technique done in India to increase yield in coconut plantation. It is called pentagonal planting. In this method, seedlings are placed in such a way that one plant is planted in centre and four plants at a distance of eight feet in all four directions. A pit for planting is dug and inputs like water, manure etc are placed into it along with the seedlings. Organic wastes are also dumped into the pits which act as vermicomposting sites. The whole area is covered with fallen coconut fronds and other organic waste. In paired system, the inter-space between the seedlings is reduced to six feet. Two plants are planted in a three cubic metre pit filled with coconut husk, compost, red earth tank silt etc. The entire pit is covered with fallen coconut fronds and other available organic waste of farm. Two trenches are dug about eight feet away from the pit which act as catchment for rainwater.

 Coconut Cures

Pacu Jaya

Pacu Jaya

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