- Coconut is one of the most useful plants in the world, providing a multitude of uses, from arrack to food staple, sugar to vinegar, fibers and fodder, thatching and lumber, and virgin coconut oil among many others. In addition, it yield 3 to 4 tons of copra (nut meat) per hectare and over two tons of oil.
- In India, it is called the Tree of Life.
Coconut is an unarmed, erect,
tall palm reaching a height of 25 meters. Trunk is stout, 30 to 50
centimeters in diameter, thickened at the base; marked with annular scars.
Leaves are crowded at the apex of the trunk, 3.5 to 6 meters long, with a stout
petiole, 1 meter or more in length. Leaflets are bright green, numerous, linear-lanceolate,
flaccid, 60 to 100 centimeters long. Spadix is about 1 meter long, erect, drooping,
straw-colored, simply branched. Male flowers are small and yellowish with small, ovate, valvate sepals and oblong, valvate petals. Female flowers are much larger, rounded, with imbricate sepals and shorter convolute petals. Fruit is variable in size, shape and color,
obovoid to subglobose, often obscurely 3-angled, 15 to 25 centimeters long.
Endosperm forms a thick white layer of fleshy fibrous substance adherent to
the membranous testa which is adherent to the stony-black shell. The shell is covered
by a fibrous husk. The embryo is opposite one pore.
Fruit is composed of an outer epicarp (outer skin), mesocarp (fibrous portion between the epi-endocarp) and the endocarp (the hard dark core.) Inside is the endosperm, the solid white albumen of varied thickness, depending on the age of the fruit, and the liquid albumen referred to as coconut water.
- Extensively cultivated
in the Philippines, especially in regions where the dry season is not too prolonged.
- Native of Polynesia.
- Pantropic in cultivation.
- Introduced during prehistoric times.
• Fixed oil, 57.5
- 71%; volatile oil, wax containing the myricyl ester of cerotic
• Coconut oil is composed mostly of triglycerides of saturated fatty acids - Lauric (dodecanoic acid, 40 to 55%) and myristic acid (tetradecanoic acid, 15 to 20%), and other fatty acids at concentrations of 5 to 10 %.
• High-grade coconut oil is nearly colorless, bland tasting, with a peculiar odor of coconuts, consisting largely of glyceryl ester of lauric and myristic acids, and glyceryl ester of other fatty acids as caproic, capryllic, capric, and oleic.
• Meat: protein, 6.3%; vitamins A, B, and C; nonyl alcohol; methyl
heptyl ketone; methyl undecyl ketone; capronic, decylic, caprylic,
lauric and myristic acids; lecithin; stigmasterin, phytosterin;
choline; globulin; galactoaraban; galactomannan.
• Water, 93%; protein, 0.5%; ash, 1%; saccharose; oxidase; catalase,
• Phytochemical screening of constituents of endosperm showed the presence of terpenoids, alkaloids, resins, glycosides and steroids. Macronutrient analyses yielded carbohydrates, proteins, reducing sugar, fats and oil. Oil is considered the major constituent. (16 )
• Water extract of husk yielded catechin and epicatechin, together with condensed tannins (B-type procyanidins). (see study below) (43 )
• Coconut water vs coconut milk: Coconut water is the aqueous part of the coconut endosperm; coconut milk—gata in the Philippines, santan in Malaysia and Indonesia—is the liquid product obtained by grating the solid endosperm, with or without the addition of water. Coconut water is mainly water (about 94%) while coconut milk yields about 50% water, fat and protein. Coconut water is drunk as beverage, while coconut milk is a food ingredient used in the preparation of traditional recipes. (31)
• Study of crude fiber extracts yielded nineteen chemical constituents. The major chemical constituents were 9-Octadecenoic acid methyl ester (58.86%), hexadecanoic acid methyl ester (19.025%), 6-octadecanoic acid methyl ester (9.14%). (see study below) (48)
• Coconut Water:
Coconut water contains sugar, fiber, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals with an isotonic electrolyte balance.
- 100 g (3.5 oz) of water yields 79 kj (19 kcal) of energy; 3.71 g carbohydrates (sugars 2.61 g, dietary fiber 1.1 g); 0.2 g of fat; 0.72 g of protein; negligible amounts of B vitamins, 3 µg of folate, 2.4 mg of vitamin C; 25 mg of magnesium and 250 mg of potassium; and 94.99 g of water. (31) (38)
- Sugar analysis yielded a total of 2.61 g/100g with sucrose 9.18 mg/mL, glucose 7.25 mg/mL and fructose 5.25 mg/mL. Sugar alcohols were mannitol 0.8 mg/mL, sorbitol 15, myo-inositol 0.01, and scyllo-inositol 0.05. (38)
Coconut water is ideal for hydration and maintenance of electrolyte levels during fevers and sweating. Its natural sugars make it preferable to sports drinks loaded with refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup.
- Cytokinins identified in coconut water are N6-isopentenyladenine, dihydrozeatin, trans-zeatin, kinetin, ortho-topolin, dihydrozeatin O-glucoside, trans-zeatin O-glucoside, trans-zeatin riboside, kinetin riboside, and trans-zeatin riboside-5'- monophosphate. (see study below) (44)
- Preliminary phytochemical screening of flowers yielded the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols, sterols, tannins and carbohydrates, with an absence of saponins and anthraquinones. (45)
- In a Southern Nigerian study of Cocos nucifera for mean concentration of electrolytes, results yielded sodium of 74.83 ±9.35 mmol/l, potassium 47.21±2.21 mmol/l, bicarbonate 5.38±0.14 mmol/l, chloride 70.78±4.14 mmol/l, total calcium 10.99±1.43 mmol/l and zinc 1.17±0.46 mg/l. (see study below)
- Considered antitumor, antidotal, antiseptic, aperient, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, depurative, diuretic, pediculicide, refrigerant, stomachic, styptic, suppurative, vermifuge.
- Roots considered antiscorbutic, astringent, and diuretic.
- Fresh coconut water considered astringent and possibly vermifuge. Also considered demulcent, and aperient in large doses.
- Endosperm cocomilk is considered refrigerant, nutrient, aperient, diuretic and anthelmintic.
Roots, bark, "bloom" of the leaf, the cabbage, flowers, and the fruit (husk, shell, water, endosperm, oil.)
Edibility / Culinary / Nutrition
- Use oil for cooking; take meat and/or gata (cream) as food.
- The ubod part is a delicacy used in a variety of preparations: lumpia, achara, salads.
A good source of iron and calcium.
- The cocomilk, the juice expressed from the grated endosperm was a popular substitute for cow's milk during World War II.
Fresh coconut juice is considered astringent; allowed to stand, it loses astringency.
- The endosperm is eaten in its various stages of development: (1) tahod - stage where endosperm has not formed and the coconut water is just faintly sweet. (2) malauhog - the early mucoid stage (3) tagop - the stage between malauhog and malakanin (4) malakanin, a consistency best used for salads. (Alañgan is the mature stage of the endosperm, not suitable for culinary use.) The coconut water of malauhog is mildly sweet, becoming increasingly acidic and sweeter as the coconut matures.
- Myriads of use in
the traditional systems worldwide: abscesses, asthma, baldness, burns
and bruises,, cough and colds, kidney stones, scabies, ulcers, among
- Constipation: Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of gata (cream).
- Dandruff: Massage oil on scalp, leave overnight, and wash hair.
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting: Drink water of young fruit, as tolerated.
Water from the young coconut has been used as a substitute for dextrose
infusion in emergent situations during World War II.
- Dry skin: Apply oil and massage into affected area.
- Young roots astringent for sore throats.
- Ash of bark used for scabies.
- In New Guinea, young
leaves chewed to a past and applied to cuts to stop the bleeding.
- In Java used for dysentery and other intestinal complaints.
- In Amboinia oil used as vermifuge.
- In Jamaica, used for coughs.
- Malays use poultice of roots in syphilis and gonorrhea; also, for rheumatism.
- In India, young roots employed as astringent gargle for sore throat. Also, boiled with ginger and salt, used in fevers.
- In the Gold Coast, bark used for curing toothache and earache.
- In Nigeria, coconut water twice daily prescribed for treatment of diabetes. Also used to prevent abortion.
- In Nigeria, decoction of coconut husk used as antimalarial remedy. (70)
- In India ash of the bark used as dentrifice and as antiseptic. Ash is also used for scabies. The soft, downy, light-brown substance on the lower surface of the leaves used as styptic. Husk used in the treatment of tapeworms; in Punjab and Cashmere, used for throat inflammation. The tar obtained from burning the shell considered rubefacient; used for ringworm, itches and other parasitic infections.
- In India,
a toddy-poultice (fresh toddy and rice flour) used as application for gangrenous ulcerations, indolent ulcers, and carbuncles. Heating coconut shells yield an oil that is used for ringworm infections.
- In Malaya. ash obtained from the coconut shell used for swellings, pains in the stomach, and for rheumatism. Coconut water is also used as diuretic.
- In Mexico, coconut water used as diuretic and anthelmintic.
- Roots used for strengthening the gums.
- In Brazil, decoction of husks used in the treatment of diarrhea and arthritis.
- In Kenya, fruit used for skin rash caused by HIV.
- Decoction of ground roots drunk in cases of small pox.
- Flowers reported to be astringent; chewed in immature state for gonorrhea. Flowers have also been used for diabetes, dysentery, leprosy and urinary discharges.
- In Mexico, decoction of the fibers of the trunk used as diuretic.
- Tar obtained from burning the shell is used for toothache.
- Water is fed to infants with diarrhea.
- In emergencies, water has been used as intravenous drips. Anecdotal reports of use during cholera epidemics.
- In Sri Lanka, immature inflorescence used in the treatment of menorrhagia.
- In India, coconut oil and milk are used as ingredients in many herbal preparations for prenatal and postpartum care. In south Kerala, decoction of squashed root and inflorescence used to prevent stomachache and to stop bleeding after delivery. (81)
In Papua, New Guinea, leaves and roots of young plant chewed for treatment of diarrhea and stomach aches. In Fiji, coconut oil used to prevent hair loss and coconut water used to treat renal diseases.
- Toddy: Tuba, or toddy, is considered a pleasant drink, stimulating and mildly laxative. In India, the toddy is considered refrigerant and diuretic.
- Toothbrush: In India, brushing the teeth with the fibrous husk is a common oral hygiene practice. (41)
- Rituals: In India, coconuts are thrown into the sea as offering to calm the gods that cause monsoons. In Sanskrit practices, coconuts may be offered to the goddess Bhadrakali, consort of Shiva, in lieu of human sacrifice. Muslims throw bits of coconut and limestone over the head to newlyweds to ward off evil spirits. (66)
- Cosmetics: Coconut oil/extract is widely used in natural skin care and beauty products. It has an excellent humectant effect when topically applied, moisturizing and preventing water loss. It is believed to diminish the and prevent the appearance of acne scars.
Versatility: Coconut is the most versatile of
all palms with its wide range of utility: lumber, food, drink, alcohol,
vinegar, thatching material, manufacture of baskets, rope, hats, brooms;
shell for making charcoal and utensils as cups, bowls, spoons; oil for
food, massage, and as base for medications for external use; cooking,
illumination, soap making; decorative for celebrations and religious
- Lauric acid: This dominant fatty acid in coconut oil finds application
in cooking, detergents, soaps and cosmetics.
- Water as Intravenous Hydration Fluid: Water in the undamaged coconut is considered sterile. In emergencies, sterile coconut water in the unopened coconut fruit has been used as intravenous drips. There are anecdotal reports of use during cholera epidemics and as emergency transfusions during World War II.
Coconut oil and MCFA
(medium chain fatty acids)
- Increasingly popular,
natural coconut oil is now being touted as the most beneficial of all
oils. Although high in saturated fat, it is the richest natural source
of health-promoting MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids). The recommendation
is 3 1/2 teaspoons (50 gms) of coconut oil daily, estimated from the
amount equivalent to the MCFAs found in human breast milk, known to
be effective in nourishing and protecting infants Alternative sources
teaspoons of pure coconut oil
of fresh coconut meat (about half a coconut)
cups of dried, shredded coconut
of coconut milk
There is no known toxicity
for coconut oil. The FDA includes it in its GRAS list (Generally
Recommended As Safe). An easy supplemental use is to use it as
cooking oil. It tolerates moderately high-cooking temperatures,
but best to keep it below smoking point of 350 degrees. As in
any other cooking oil, avoid overheating because of toxic by-products.
When available, the best is the "virgin" coconut oil,
made from fresh coconuts, extracted by boiling, fermentation,
refrigeration, mechanical press or centrifuge, not subjected
to high temperatures or chemical solvents.
Also available as RBD (Refined,
Bleached, and Deodorized) coconut oil, usually made from dried coconut,
copra, that might have undergone sun-drying, smoking or kiln processing,
using higher temperatures and chemical solvents. Consumers beware, there
are cochin oils, that may be labeled "virgin" which may be
made from cheap sun-dried copra, gaining impurities and mold in the
process. (Source: The Coconut Oil Miracle)
• Analgesic / Antioxidant:
Antinociceptive and free radical scavenging activities of Cocos nucifera
L. (Palmae) husk fiber aqueous extract: The study demonstrated
the analgesic and radical scavenging properties of CN aqueous extract
from the husk fiber. Topical treatment of rabbits with the extract did not induce significant dermic or ocular irritation. (1)
• Antioxidant: In vitro evaluation of antioxidant
properties of Cocos nucifera Linn. water: The antioxidant
activity as most significant in fresh samples of coconut water, diminishing
with heat. Maturity also drastically decreased the scavenging ability.
The scavenging ability may be partly attributed to the ascorbic acid, an important constituent of coconut water. (3)
• Hypertension / Combination of Coco Water and Mauby:
The control of hypertension by use of coconut water (Cocos nucifera) and mauby (Colubrina arborescens):
two tropical food drinks provided significant decreases, approximately double the largest values seen with single interventions. (5)
• Anti-neoplastic / Husk Fiber: Study of aqueous extracts
of the husk showed antitumoral activity against a leukemia cell line.
Study suggests a very inexpensive source of new antineoplastic and anti-multidrug
resistant drugs. (6)
• Burn Wound Healing Property: Study concluded that the oil of Cocos nucifera is an effective burn wound healing agent. There was significant improvement in burn wound contraction in the group treated with the combination of CN and silver sulfadiazine. It suggests C nocifera can be a cheap and effective adjuvant to other topical agents. (8)
• Anti-Ulcerogenic: A study of warm water crude extract of coconut milk and a coconut water dispersion showed that coconut milk and water had protective effects on ulcerated gastric mucosa. The coconut milk provided stronger protection on indomethacin-induced ulceration than coconut water in rats. (9)
• Anthelmintic: A study of the liquid extracted from the bark of the green coconut and butanol extract on mice showed that the Cocos nucifera extracts may be useful in the control of intestinal nematodes. (10)
• Protein Content: Study showed native coconut proteins consisted of four major polypeptides. The proteins had a relatively high level of glutamic acid, arginine and aspartic acid. (11)
• Anti-Neoplastic Activity: Study of aqueous extracts of Cocos nucifera showed antitumoral activity against leukemia cell line K562 and suggests a potential for an inexpensive source of new antineoplastic and anti-multidrug resistant drugs. (12)
• Antimicrobial / Coconut Oil Cream Formulation: Study showed that coconut oil can be formulated into an elegant cream which is active on both fungal and bacterial organisms. (14)
• Antimalarial: Study showed the crude methanol extract to contain phytochemical constituents that significantly reduced the parasitemia in all 3 in vivo assessment assays. There was no significant increase in survival time of the infected mice. Results suggest the Malaysian folkloric medicinal application of C. nucifera has pharmacologic basis. (15)
• Cardiotonic Activity of Coconut Water: Study showed undiluted coconut water showed better responses compared to diluted coconut water. The dilution of coconut water restores cardiac activity on Frog's heart, ie., decreasing rapidity and force of contraction. (18)
• Leaf Extract / Toxicity Study:Toxicity study of leaf extracts in Swiss albino mice showed no noticeable toxicity in both acute and sub-chronic studies. (21)
• Antioxidant / Antimicrobial / Endocarp: Study of extracts of endocarp of Cocos nucifera reported strong antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Endocarps of cocos nucifera are discarded as waste. The study provides information for the potential utilization of coco agro wastes for therapeutic purposes. (22)
• Wine Production from Coconut: Wine was produced at 1:4 (must:sugar) from coconut using various sugar and yeast recipes (A-D). Recipes A-C showed very little difference in taste testing. There were not significant differences in the different recipes with the tested parameters. Wine from the control was similar in taste and characteristic with natural palm wine. The wines can be consumed within 48 hours of production withe storage. (23)
• Alcohol-Induced Hepatotoxicity / Attenuating Effects / Production from Coconut: Results of study suggests further study for coco nucifera's possible use as an alternative in the management of alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity. There was dose-dependent decrease in markers. Possibly CN improved the functions of the liver via the antioxidant pathway. (24)
• One-Layer Particle Board: Study validated the technical possibility of making one layer experimental particle board from coconut chips bonded with EMDI isocyanate resin. (25)
• Coconut Oil Hair Care: A 2003 study by the R&D Department of Nature Care Division in Mumbai, India conducted a study to determine possible properties of coconut oil in hair damage prevention. Results showed application of coconut oil to both damaged and undamaged hair resulted in reduction of protein loss. (26)
• Antibacterial / Mesocarp Extract: Study set out to confirm the anti-bacterial effect of cocos nucifera mesocarp powder using E. coli and S. typhi. The antibacterial activity was found highest in the benzene solvent against E Coli, and highest with diethyl ether for S. typhi. Active biocomponents in the mesocarp were identified as tocopherol, palmitoleyl alcohol, cycloartanol and ß-sitosterol. Results showed Cocos nucifera mesocarp powder can be utilized to develop indigenous antibiotics with a potential to replace conventional antibiotics. (27)
• Antimicrobial / Endocarp Extract: Study evaluated a distilled extract of endocarp (hard shell) for antimicrobial activity. Results showed potential growth inhibition of B. subtilis and Aspergillus species. (28)
• Antimalarial / Husk Fiber: Study evaluated the in vitro antimalarial and toxicity potentials of husk fiber extracts of Nigerian varieties of Cocos nucifera. The WAT ethyl acetate extract fraction yielded alkaloids, tannins, and flavonoids, and showed antimalarial activity, active in continuous culture against Plasmodium falcifarum, and in vivo against P. berghei. There were no adverse liver or cardiovascular effects; however, renal functions may be impaired at higher doses. (32)
• Antibacterial / Root and Bark / UTI Pathogens: Study showed an aqueous extract of root of Cocos nucifera to be more effective in inhibiting the growth of UTI pathogens than the ethanolic extract and decoction. (33)
• Coconut Oil and Hair Growth: Study evaluated the potential of coconut oil towards hair growth mixed with two herbs, Nigella sativa and Aleurites moluccana. Coconut oil consists of lauric acid which has a high affinity and low molecular weight able to penetrate the hair shaft and promote hair growth. The mixture of coconut oil and Nigella sativa showed to be the most effective to promote hair growth than the others.
• Conceptive and Anti-Abortive: Study investigated the conceptive and anti-abortive effects of coconut water using female albino rats. Results concluded that Cocos nucifera water was able to aid pregnancy. The extract also promoted diuresis with minimal loss of electrolytes. (37)
• Effects of Coconut Oil on Learning Ability: Study investigates the effects of Cocos nucifera oil on the learning disability of Drosophila melanogaster mutants. Drosophila melanogaster, colloquially known as the fruit fly, is an organism used as a model of human disease, able to mimic Alzheimer's disease through similarities in brain structure and manipulation of genes. The study question was: Does administration of coconut oil in a solution of 1,500 ppm for a week affect the learning ability of Drosophila melanogaster APPL mutants trained to avoid apple cider vinegar? The hypothesis was that CN oil introduced into DM mutant's diet would decrease the amount of negative reinforcement required to adopt an avoidance behavior. The results of experimentation suggest CN oil may potentially benefit individuals with Alzheimer's disease. Study suggests further research and extension of study into other neurodegenerative disorders. (39)
• Absorption of Reactive Red-158 Dye: Study evaluated the use of chemically conditioned C. nucifera shell powder as a low cost, readily available, and renewable adsorbent for removal of reactive textile Red-158 dye from aqueous solutions. (40)
• Antimicrobial / Oral Pathogens / Husk: Study evaluated the antimicrobial property of an alcoholic extract of husk against common oral pathogens like cariogenic bacteria, periodontal pathogens and candidal organisms. Results showed concentration dependent antimicrobial activity against all tested organisms except Actinomyces species. However, the effect was less than chlorhexidine. (41) In a study that evaluated coconut husk for antimicrobial activity, results showed antimicrobial activity that increased with concentration, more effective against gram-negative than gram-positive bacteria. (47) .
• Antibacterial and Antiviral / Husk: Crude water extract from coconut husk fiber showed antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. The CWE and one of the catechin-rich fractions showed inhibitory activity against acyclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1 (FSV-1-ACVr). (see constituents above) (43)
• Cytokinins / Coconut Water: Cytokinins are currently the most important component of coconut water. Cytokinins, a class of phytohormones, have shown anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic and anti-thrombotic effects in various studies. Cytokinins identified in coconut water are N6-isopentenyladenine, dihydrozeatin, trans-zeatin, kinetin, ortho-topolin, dihydrozeatin O-glucoside, trans-zeatin O-glucoside, trans-zeatin riboside, kinetin riboside, and trans-zeatin riboside-5'- monophosphate. (44)
• Anti-Diabetic / Husk: Study evaluated the anti-diabetic effects of Cocos nucifera husk extracts on alloxan-induced diabetic rats. The extract was prepared by boiling the husk, filtering, and using the tea in the experiment. Results showed a significant hypoglycemic and anti-diabetic effect, comparable to Daonil and Metformin. Results suggest a potential adjunct in the management of diabetes, and suggests a study to be done using human subjects. (46)
• Hemolytic Property / Fiber Extracts: Study evaluated the hemolytic property of Cocos nucifera crude fiber extracts. Results showed maximum lysis of RBCs with 100% inhibition indicating the predominant role of cytotoxic effect. Nineteen chemical constituents. Results suggest excellent biologic potential (see constituents above) (48)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Coco Water and Oil: Study showed Cocos nucifera possesses potential anti-inflammatory properties. (49)
• Alternative for Oral Rehydration Therapy: Study evaluated the electrolyte levels in Cocos nucifera water and its suitability as oral electrolyte replacement solution. Results showed Cocos nucifera water contains adequate concentration of electrolytes to correct daily nutritional deficits. The weight of Cocos nucifera related to the volume of water but not necessarily to higher electrolyte concentrations. (see constituents above) (50)
• Adsorption of Methylene Blue / Coconut Coir: Study evaluated the adsorption characteristics of C. nucifera activated carbon prepared from the coconut coir. A maximum removal of almost 100 % was achieved at 60 mg·L−1 of dye concentration by increasing the adsorbent dose from (3 to 7) g·L−1. (51)
• Topical Coconut Oil for Treatment of Dermal Infections: Review summarizes in vivo and in vitro studies of topical anti-infective properties of coconut oil and its medium-chain fatty acids. Applied locally, it has a very low risk of allergic reactions or adverse effects. Its constituents, predominantly lauric acid, have in vitro and in vivo evidence of killing a wide variety of gram- positive and gram-negative bacteria and Candida species. It may be a reasonable option for mild to moderate dermal infections, viz., acne vulgaris, atopic dermatitis, impetigo, or wound infections. (52)
• Anti-Diabetic / Antioxidant / Flowers: Study evaluated the antidiabetic and antioxidant nature of C. nucifera flower extract in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Oral administration of flower extract significantly reduced the levels of blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, urea, uric acid, and creatinine. The antioxidant competence was improved after extract treatment. (53)
• Volatile Elements of Coconut Toddy: Analysis of volatile components of coconut toddy. Thirty one volatile components were identified. The highest peak of volatile components in the fresh toddy was Lupeol and Squalene. (54)
• Antileishmanial Effect / Husk: Study evaluated the in vitro antileishmanial effect of C. nucifera husk fiber. Results showed complete inhibition of cellular growth of L. amazonensis promastigote forms (MIC 10 µg/mL) and killed 100% of both developmental stages of the parasite. (Mendonca-Filho RR et al) (56)
• Antiurolithiasis / Coconut Water: Study evaluated the effect of coconut water as prophylactic agent in experimentally induced nephrolithiasis in a rat model. Treatment with coconut water inhibited deposition in renal tissue as well as reduced number of crystals in urine. Coconut water protected against impaired renal function and development of oxidative stress in the kidneys. Results suggest a potential candidate for phytotherapy against urolithiasis. (57)
• Biocidal / Husk: Study investigated the antimicrobial activities of husk extract of Cocos nucifera on some bacterial associated with human diseases. The cytoplasmic membrane disruptions of Enterococcus faecalis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were investigated. Cytoplasmic membranes provide barrier to the passage of materials such as antibiotics into the protoplasm. Results showed minimum inhibitory concentrations led to the leakage of protoplasmic inclusion. (58)
• Vasorelaxant / Antihypertensive / Endocarp: Study investigated an ethanolic extract of Cocos nucifera endocarp for vasorelaxant activity on isolated rat aortic rings and antihypertensive effects in deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA) salt-induced hypertensive rats. Results showed vasorelaxant and antihypertensive effects through nitric oxide production in a concentration and endothelium-dependent manner via activation of nitric oxide/guanylate cyclase pathway, stimulation of muscarinic receptors and/or via cyclooxygenase pathway. (59)
• Antleishmanial / Immunomodulatory / Synergism with Ocimum sanctum: Study investigated the antileishmanial and immunomodulatory effects of Ocimum sanctum and Cocos nucifera during the progression of visceral leishmaniasis in BALB/c mouse model. Results showed the combined administration of the plant extracts as compared to administration alone showed greater rescue of the affected mice from the disease. Effect was attributed to antileishmanial and immunomodulatory effects. (60)
• Anemia Treatment: Study evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of Cocos nucifera in anemia treatment in Wistar rats with anemia from phenylhydrazine-induced hemolysis. The Cocos nucifera extract completely corrected the anemia within two weeks by stimulating hemoglobin synthesis, production and early release of immature red cells into the blood stream. The effect was dose dependent, specific, and did not affect platelet lineage. (61)
• Virgin Coconut Oil vs Mineral Oil in Xerosis / Improved Barrier Function: A randomized double-blind study compared virgin coconut oil against mineral oil in 34 patients with mild to moderate xerosis. Results suggest coconut oil was equal to (with a trend toward superior) mineral oil as an emollient, resulting in significant skin hydration and increased surface lipid levels, and with equal safety. There is also data to suggest that VCO can improve barrier function in low birth weight infants, possibly decreasing morbidity and mortality due to sepsis. (62)
• Effect on Progesterone and Estrogen Levels in Female Rats: Study evaluated AQSPA (ethyl acetate soluble proanthocyanidins) obtained from immature inflorescence for effect on the reproductive hormonal levels in female rats. Results no significant difference in both estrogen and progesterone levels between control and test group animals. This may be due to low bioavailability of AQSPA due to high molecular weight profile and/or inadequacy of dose/time duration of administration. Results contrast to a previous study that showed changes in serum progesterone level with EASPA treatment. (63)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antipyretic / Wound Healing / Fresh Juice & Kernel Extract: Study of fresh juice and aqueous kernel extract exhibited significant (p<0.05) anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activities and promoted would healing in all assays used. (64)
• Antifungal on Candida albicans / Coconut Water: Study evaluated the antifungal activity of various concentrations of green coconut water extract (100 µg, 250 µg, 500 µg, and 1000 µg) on Candida albicans. Cocos nucifera L. extract at 1000 µg/ml concentration effectively inhibited the growth of C. albicans (14 ± 0.3) compared with positive control amphotericin B (15 ± 0.3) in a dose dependent manner. (65)
• Antiglycation / Hypoglycemic / Coconut Water: Study evaluated the hypoglycemic and nephroprotective activities of coconut water in alloxan-induced diabetic rats pre- and post-treated by gavage with coconut water, caffeic acid, and acarbose. Body weight, blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) were among the parameters measured. Coconut water treatment showed multiple beneficial effects in diabetic rats for preventing hyperglycemia and oxidative stress caused by alloxan. (67)
• Toxicological Evaluation / Liquid of Green Coconut Husk Fiber: Study evaluated the acute, subchronic, and chronic toxicity of the liquid of green coconut husk fiber (LGCHF) and butanol extract from LGCHF in mice and rats. Rats treated with both extracts had no changes in histopathological analysis related to toxicity. In the parameters measured, both extracts showed low toxicity. (69)
• Antiplasmodial / Cytotoxicity Potential /
Husk Fiber: Study evaluated extracts of husks from four varieties of C. nucifera collected in Brazil (mestico, amareloo, anao, and gigante) for antiplasmodial, cytotoxicity, and hemolytic activities in vitro. Only the hexane extract of coco mestico showed activity against blood forms of Plasmodium falcifarum human malaria in culture. (70)
• Catechins / Inhibition of Cell Proliferation / Husk: Coconut is known to have a fiber husk rich in catechins. Catechins are polyphenols with antioxidant activity. Study evaluated if catechins isolated from C. nucifera can inhibit cell proliferation in an erythroleukemia cell line (K562) and normal human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Results showed dose-dependent inhibitory effect on tumor cells and on lymphocytes activated by phytohemagglutinin (PHA) or phorbol ester. (71)
/ Flower Extract / Shell Extract: Study reports on the biosynthesis of nanoparticles using the flower extract of Cocos nucifera. (72) Study reports on the synthesis of gold nanoparticles utilizing shell extract of green coconut without extra stabilizing or capping agents and its application in catalysis. (76)
• Toxicity Study of Root Extract: The ethyl acetate fraction of aqueous root extract of Cocos nucifera stimulates erythropoiesis. The study evaluated the biologic tolerance of this fraction. Extract was administered to Wistar rats at a single dose of 2000 mg/kbw for acute oral toxicity (OAT) and daily doses of 200 mg/kbw for 28 days for subchronic toxicity (SCT) testing. The EA fraction of the root water extract did not show any acute or sub-chronic oral toxicity. Result was attributed to the rich flavonoids that are antioxidants. (73)
• Antidiabetic / Hypolipidemic / Mesocarp: Study evaluated an aqueous extract of mesocarp layer of Cocos nucifera on blood sugar level and lipid profile in STZ-induced diabetic rats on high fat diets (HFD). Results showed significant reduction in STZ-induced increase in blood sugar. Histopathological analysis showed beneficial effects of the AECN in protecting beta cell integrity. The lipid effects were evidenced by significant decrease in VLDL and LDL and an elevation in HDL cholesterol. GC-MS analysis of AECN yielded alpha- and beta-amyrin, and pyrazine. (74)
• Cytokinins Quantification: Cytokinins, a phytohormone, have shown anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic and anti-thrombotic effects. Study quantified the cytokinin compounds of two local coconut varieties (Malayan Yellow Dwarf/MYD and Malayan Green Dwarf/MGD) in different maturation stage of coconut water (immature 120-200 days, mature 220-300 days, and overly mature 320-380 days). The MGD showed the highest content of cytokinins (3.2841 µM). Maturation level of coconut water was shown to have an effect on cytokinins concentration of MYD and MGD, highest at immature and mature stage, respectively. The major cytokinin for both varieties was trans-zeatin riboside. (also read 44 above) (75)
• No Antibacterial Effect on Strep mutans / Tender Coconut Water: An in-vitro experimental study evaluated the antimicrobial efficacy of tender coconut water in its natural state on Streptococcus mutans. Results showed no zone of inhibition with tender coconut water, fresh and pasteurized, and negative control (dimethyl formamide). Positive control (0.2% chlorhexidine) showed zone of inhibition. (77)
• Bioactive Potential / Antioxidant / Antibacterial / Sprouts: Study evaluated the bioactive compounds present in fresh and dried coconut sprouts. Phytochemical screening yielded essential phytoconstituents. Quantitative analysis yielded carbohydrates (0.60 ± 0.1 mg/g), proteins (39 ± 0.8 mg/g), flavonoids (0.28 ± 0.1 mg/g), and terpenoids (95 — 1.2 mg/g) in the methanolic fresh coconut sprout extract. There was maximum zone of inhibitions on S. flexneri, S. typhi, and K. pneumonia. Study suggests fresh coconut sprouts are natural, economically potent food source and can be a nutrient supplement. Dried sprouts have a potential for large-scale production of nutrient-based foods. (78)
• Ameliorative Effect / Cisplatin Induced Toxicity / Husk Fiber: Cisplatin is a chemotherapeutic used in the treatment of solid tumors with known serious side effects. Study evaluated the protective effects of a chloroform fraction of C. nucifera husk fiber against Cis-induced organ damage and chromosomal defect in male Wistar rats. Pretreatment with CFCN inhibited lipid peroxidation, enhanced activities of antioxidative enzymes and reduced the frequency of mPCE. Results showed CFCN may protect against organ damage caused by cisplatin. (79)
• Antimicrobial / Coconut Oil and Lauric Acid: Study evaluated the in vitro antimicrobial activity of coconut oil and its fatty acid (lauric acid) on selected clinical isolates. Lauric acid demonstrated appreciable antimicrobial effect on test organisms viz. Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus sp., and Lactobacillus sp. Study recommends the use of coconut oil as therapeutic agent as well as fighting antibiotic resistance since it contains lauric acid which is bactericidal. (80)
• Phytobiotic for Poultry / Coconut Husk: In vitro study evaluated the potential of coconut husks as phytobiotics for poultry. Husks were oven dried, finely ground, and extracted using methanol, EA, and acetone, and subjected to antioxidant and antibacterial evaluation. Extracts yielded flavonoid, steroid, gallic acid, and tannin. Results showed antioxidant activity with IC50 of 85.15, 119.78, and 143.59 ppm ascorbic acid equivalent for methanol, EA, and acetone, respectively. There was significant antibacterial activity against E coli (p<0.05), but not for S. aureus (p>0.05). There was also a significant effect on growth of Lactobacillus acidophilus. Results suggest the crude extracts of coconut husk have potential for use as phytobiotics for poultry production. (82)
• Effect of Coconut Oil on Wound Closure: Study evaluated integrated wet extracts of VCO for its efficacy on cell viability and migration in fibroblast cells (HSF 1184). Results suggest the VCO contains antioxidants and phenolic compounds that might promote the proliferation and migration of cells to enhance wound closure activity on human dermal fibroblast cells. (83)
• Shelf Life of Stored Coconut Oil: Study evaluated the shelf life of two samples of coconut oil (A and B) stored for 3 months under ambient conditions (24°-28°C). Free fatty acid and peroxide values were monitored monthly for 3 months. The free fatty acid rose from 0,2 to 0.6 ∞ and from 0.2 to 0.8% for samples A and B, respectively. Peroxide values were less than 10 for both samples after 3 months. Results suggest a shelf life of more than 3 months for other oil samples. (84)
• Comparative Study / Antioxidant, Nutrients and Source of Sugar: Study compared the antioxidant and nutritional properties of coconut (Cocos nucifera) sap with other natural sources of sugar such as sugar palm (Borassus flabellifer) and sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum). Coconut sap and juice from sugar palm and sugarcane were analyzed for proximate composition, pH and total soluble solids, color, sugar profile, vitamin profile, mineral content and antioxidant properties. Coconut sap showed high DPPH, FRAP, and ABTS compared with the juices. Coconut sap also contain high vitamin C (116.19 µg/l), potassium (960.87 mg/L) and sodium (183.21 mg/L). Results showed coconut sap is a potential healthier sugar source than sugar palm and sugarcane juices. (85)
• Incorporation of Coco Oil on Viscogel Tissue Conditioner / Antifungal Activity: Study evaluated the tensile strength and growth of Candida albicans on Viscogel tissue conditioner when incorporated with coconut oil (CCO). Results showed the 10% w/w of CCO mixed with Viscogel tissue conditioner resulted in a significant reduction in the colonization of C. albicans and the addition of the same increased the tensile strength of the tissue conditioner. (86)
• Adsorption of Methylene Blue / Leaves: Fallen coconut leaves (CLs) are agricultural waste. Study reports on CLs as a low cost adsorbent for adsorptive removal of methylene blue, a cationic dye, from aqueous solution. (87)
• Potential Reinforcing Material for Bioplastic Production / Coconut Husk: Study evaluated the potential use of coconut husk fiber for the reinforcement of bio-plastic produced with cassava (Manihot utilissima) starch. Results showed the tensile strength values ranged from 0.36 to 0.68MPa. Analysis of variance showed coconut husk fiber content had a significant effect on the tensile strength. Optimum fiber reinforcement level was 10%, which may be increased to 15% for impact resistance improvement. (88)
• Promotion of Healing of Excised Wound / Endosperm: Mature endosperm of coconut has been used in folkloric medicine for wound healing. This study evaluated the wound healing activity of Cocos nucifera endosperm on excised wound in BALB/c mice using three concentrations (30, 60 and 90%) of an ointment formulation using petroleum jelly as base. Healing of wounds was manifested by distinct wound contraction. The 60% C. nucifera endosperm formulation exhibited highest activity. The 90% ointment showed no signs of dermal irritation, suggesting safety for topical application. (89)
• Fermentation Kinetics of Palm Sap: Study evaluated the fermentation kinetics of coconut palm sap, periodically measuring for 16h the total sugar, reducing sugar content and glucose fermentation. Microbial load and invertase assay results were related to changes in sugar concentration. Initial predominance of lactic acid bacteria was followed by the dominance of yeasts. Hydrolysis of non-reducing sugar occurred at faster rate between 3-9 hours of fermentation. Ethanol concentration was about 4.0 and 4.1% at 11th and 13th hour of fermentation, respectively. (90)
• Chemopreventive / Antioxidant / Fruit: Study reports on the antioxidant and anticancer activities of ethanolic extract of tender fruits of C. nucifera. In antioxidant screening, IC50 for coco fruit was 44.67 µg/ml compared with ascorbic acid 7.71 µg/ml. Phenolic content, total flavonoid, and total tannin content were 537.89 mg GAE/100 gm, 40.69 mg of QE/100 gm and 44.61 mg GAE/100 gm of dry powder, respectively. The extract significantly decreased the number, size, yield and burden of tumor in DMBA and croton oil-induced skin cancer in a mice model. (91)
• Antibacterial and Emollient Effects / Atopic Dermatitis / Virgin Coconut Oil: Atopic dermatitis is characterized by dry skin, readily colonized by Staphylococcus aureus. Double-blind controlled trial in 26 subjects compared virgin coconut oil (VCO) and virgin olive oil (VOO) in moisturizing dryness and removing Staphylococcus aureus (SA) from colonized AD skin. Results showed post treatment with VCO, 1/20 (5%) remained positive for SA colonies compared to VOO 8/12 (50%). VCO and monolaurin's O-SSS (objective-SCORAD severity index) reduction and in vitro broad spectrum activity against SA, fungi and virus suggest potential in the proactive treatment of AD colonization. (92)
• Protective Against Alloxan-Induced Pancreatic Cytotoxicity / Inflorescence: Study investigated the effects of pre- and post-treatment of young inflorescence of C. nucifera on alloxan-induced diabetic male albino Sprague Dawley rats. Results showed protective and curative effects, which is mediated through the regulation of carbohydrate metabolic enzyme activities and islets cell repair. (93)
• Adsorbent Capacity for Heavy Metals / Coconut Shell: Coconut coir dust is an agricutural waste product often used as adsorbent in waste water treatment. This study used coconut shell powder as adsorbents for removal of lead, copper, cadmium, and arsenic from aqueous solutions. Results showed the coconut shell has potential to serve as an inexpensive, readily available, effective adsorbent for the removal of Pb, Cu Cd, and As from wastewater as treatment before discharge into the environment. (94)
- Ubiquitous in the rural
- Common cultivation as a plantation tree.
- Commerce of coconut oil capsules, virgin coconut oil.