Coconut (Cocos nucifera), a member of the Arecaceae (palm tree) family, is a tree that is cultivated for many purposes. While all of its parts are used in some way by the populations of traditional coconut growing areas, its nutritional and medicinal values are coconut’s primary uses, providing food for millions of people living in tropical and subtropical regions. The coconut kernel (meat) and coconut water have been found to have numerous medicinal properties such as antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, antioxidant, liver-protective and immune-stimulating. They also contain microminerals and nutrients important to human health, so much so that the coconut palm is aptly referred to as “Kalpavriksha” (the all giving tree) in Indian classics.
In India, coconut’s use for food and in Ayurvedic medicine were documented over 4,000 years ago. It has a long standing use in Indian folk medicine, believed to have a number of beneficial properties, including the ability to treat bronchitis, fever and gum disease, and in Ayurveda, the oil, cream and water are all used to treat hair loss, burns and heart problems.