The coconut fruit has provided meat, water, milk and oil to tropical communities for thousands of years and has been deemed “The Tree of Life” by Asian and Pacific islanders for its extensive dietary and medicinal applications. Mentions of the medicinal benefits of the coconut can be found in ancient Sanskrit text, and coconut oil is used in Ayurvedic medicine, an alternative healing process from India estimated to be 5000 years old. Traditional medicinal applications of coconut oil include fevers, nausea, rashes, toothaches, ulcers, colds, lice, bruises and more.
At the end of World War II, coconut oil was found in the United States in the form of margarine, but it soon fell out of favor as a household staple due studies concluding all saturated fats increased cholesterol and risk for heart disease. It is now believed coconut’s unique combination of short and medium chained fatty acids, primarily lauric acid and myristic acid, precludes it from negatively impacting health.
Coconut oil isn’t just for cooking or alternative medicine; it’s one of the most widely used natural oils in personal care. Coconut oil is touted for its ability to do everything from repairing damaged hair to reducing wrinkles to blocking UV rays. Where there is little clinical evidence of coconut oil being a beauty miracle, there is plenty of antidotal evidence coconut oil is a master moisturizer and potent antioxidant.
Coconut oil is pressed from the seeds of the coconut palm tree and is comprised of fatty acids including lauric, linoleic, myristic, oleic, caprylic, capric, stearic and palmitric. Studies on the skin care benefits of these fatty acids lead skin care experts to believe coconut oil isn’t all hype. For example, lauric acid and caprylic acid could both be effective in fighting acne due to antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin E and vitamin D, potent antioxidants that protects skin from free radical damage, joins this fatty acid super group. Coconut oil penetrates the skin, making it the perfect vehicle to deliver the benefits of other natural oils and botanical extracts.
Nourish your body from head to toe with coconut oil by trying a few of these exfoliating, moisturizing and cleansing products: