Coconut – (Cocos nucifera) Coconut Benefits

The Tree of Life

The coconut palm is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). The scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means “monkey face” because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resembles the head and face of a monkey. Nucifera means “nut-bearing.”

Found throughout the tropic and subtropic area, the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. 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. When mature, they still contain some water and can be used as seednuts 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. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut “flesh”.[5] When dried, the coconut flesh is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is a refreshing drink. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. It also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it.

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.

Learn how the coconut tree provides all-around benefits — from its husks and roots to coconut oil — through our infographic “Plant of Life: An Infographic on Various Coconut Uses.” coconut uses infographic

Coconut Posters

by Dr Roland Bourdeix & A. De la Presa, 2017
These poster are under the Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International).
Coconut is Not Coconut! Fruit Diversity of the Coconut Palm
Coconut Diversity
Tall-type Coconut Varieties
Tall-type coconut varieties
Compact Dwarf-type Coconut Varieties
Compact Dwarf-type coconut varieties
Malayan Dwarf-type Coconut Varieties
Malayan Dwarf-type coconut varieties
Cultivation of Dwarf-Types Coconut Varieties
Cultivation of Dwarf-Types coconut varieties
Compact Dwarf-type Coconut Varieties
Compact Dwarf-type coconut varieties
Cultivation of Dwarf-Types Coconut Varieties
Cultivation of Dwarf-Types coconut varieties
Progeny of Dwarf Hybrids
Progeny of Dwarf hybrids
Spicata Forms
Spicata forms
Coconut Climate Change Coastal
Coconut climate change coastal
Coconut for Landscaping and Ecotourism
Coconut for landscaping and ecotourism
Reproductive Biology
Reproductive Biology
Coconut Trunk
Coconut trunk


The processing coconuts involved many different processes and require the use of many different machines, and they are described briefly as below:


Coconut dehusking
  • A coconut dehusking machine is used to detach the coconut husk from the coconut fruit. Coconut deshelling
  • A coconut deshelling machine is used to crack the hard coconut shell from the dehusked coconut fruit.
  • Coconut paring
  • A coconut paring machine is used to scalp off the testa or the brownish skin of coconut kernel (after being cut into smaller pieces.) Farmers can do that first 3 part
  • Coconut grinding
  • A coconut grinding machine is used to grind the pared coconut kernel pieces into fine desiccated coconut
  • . Coconut milk extracting
  • A coconut milk extracting machine oil expeller is used to squeeze the fine desiccated coconut to obtain the coconut milk.

    Coconut fiber plant
  • This coconut coir machine automatically beats and splits the coconut husk into fine coconut fiber and cocopeat. It is completed with roller crusher to crush the coconut husks, belt conveyor to transfer the coconut husks into coconut fiber extracting machine, coconut fiber extracting machine, coconut fiber screener to clean up the fiber and screw conveyor to transfer the cocopeat from the coconut fiber extracting machine to cocopeat packing area.
  • Coconut fiber baling
  • A coconut fiber baling press is used to compress the loose coconut fiber into coconut fiber bales of fixed size and weight.
  • Cocopeat block making
  • A cocopeat block machine is used to compress the loose cocopeat into cocopeat block.

    Coconut shell charcoal making
  • Coconut shell is burnt under controlled air volume to form coconut shell charcoal.
  • Coconut shell briquetting.
  • Coconut shell is crushed to fine coconut shell powder and briquetted.

  • Coconuts: Young versus Mature

    There are several different ways to enjoy fresh coconuts, which can be young or mature. Young coconuts have either a green shell or a white “husk” if the outer shell has been removed while mature coconuts are the more familiar-looking brown, hairy variety. The nutrients and physical characteristics change as a coconut matures. Young coconuts have more ‘water’ and soft, gel-like meat, and mature coconuts have firm meat and less ‘water.’ The nutrient values per 100-gram (edible) portion vary significantly. Coconut: Young Vs. Mature

    Based on the chart, although it would appear that mature coconuts are more nutrient dense, you cannot really count the nutrients from its flesh as people typically cannot handle to drink coconut cream straight or eat very much ground coconut flesh as it is very rich; thus, you can get just about the same amount of nutritional benefit from mature coconuts as you can from young coconuts if you consume both the liquid and its meat. Moreover, you can actually get more energy consuming young coconut liquid and meat than you can from consuming mature coconut liquid, and not only that, but young coconuts taste much better (in my opinion). However, the mature coconut usually has an edge in fatty acid content (medium chain triglycerides like lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, caprylic acid, etc.), which are known for being antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal, and boosts the immune system.
    Sources & References: Dr. Mercola & Droege Secretariat of the Pacific Community
    Young Coconut Meat
  • Meat from young coconuts or (a.k.a. green coconuts) is very creamy and gelatinous.
  • It looks and feels like jelly because you can eat it with a spoon.
  • This is the type that is often fed to babies as they are weaned from their mothers’ breast.
  • Young coconut meat spoils more quickly than mature meat. This is why it’s rare to find it outside of tropical locales.
    Mature Coconut Meat
  • Meat from mature coconuts is white, much harder and has a slightly sweet and nutty taste.
  • As the coconut matures, the quantity of oil in the meat increases too.
  • Mature meat has high levels of fiber and oil which help it function like a probiotic.
  • Probiotics are very beneficial for the digestive system because they feed the good bacteria in the intestines.

    • Coconut In Traditional Medicine

      Coconut Palm

      People from many diverse cultures, languages, religions, and races scattered around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. Wherever the coconut palm grows the people have learned of its importance as a effective medicine. For thousands of years coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine.

      In traditional medicine around the world coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems including the following: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dropsy, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhea, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness, and wounds.

      Coconut In Modern Medicine

      Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions. Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. Some of these are summarized below:

      Health Benefits

      Apart from the obvious nutritional benefits, fresh coconut juice is one of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man, and can be used to prevent dehydration, for instance in cases of diarrhea or strenuous exercise, instead of a sports drink. Some remote areas of the world even use coconut juice intravenously, short-term, to help hydrate critically ill patients and in emergency situations.
      • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
      • Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
      • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
      • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
      • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
      • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
      • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
      • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
      • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
      • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
      • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
      • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
      • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
      • Helps protect against osteoporosis.
      • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
      • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
      • Improves digestion and bowel function.
      • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
      • Reduces inflammation.
      • Supports tissue healing and repair.
      • Supports and aids immune system function.
      • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
      • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
      • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
      • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
      • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
      • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
      • Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
      • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
      • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
      • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
      • Reduces epileptic seizures.
      • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
      • Dissolves kidney stones.
      • Helps prevent liver disease.
      • Is lower in calories than all other fats.
      • Supports thyroid function, increases metabolism.
      • Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
      • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
      • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
      • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
      • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
      • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
      • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
      • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
      • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
      • Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
      • Helps control dandruff.
      • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
      • Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
      • rejuvenates your skin and prevent wrinkles.
      • Is completely non-toxic to humans.
      Coconut Benefits