Different Uses for a Coconut
Coconut Bird Feeder
The Tree of Life
The coconut has got to be the most versatile fruit used. Grown on the Palm Tree, every part of the coconut and the tree has virtually got a use and has been used by different countries in different ways. Known as “The Tree of Life” in The Philippines and “The tree of a 1,000 uses” in the Malaya language, coconuts have a history of important uses worldwide.
Grown in over 80 countries worldwide, the coconut palm excels in the tropics, notably The Philippines and Indonesia closely followed by India and Brazil which combined, account for approximately 80% of the world’s coconut production.
The coconut is of significant economic importance to these top producers.
Here is a selection of the many uses of this exotic fruit tree which I have divided into parts of the Tree and then the fruit.
Attempting to list every single use would be impossible however I can give you a taste of just how amazing and functional coconut is.
The Coconut Palace Court, The Philippines
Coconut Palm Tree
Uses of The Coconut Tree
- The Roots – were used to make dyes, used as a toothbrush, mouthwash, and has medicinal value.
- Coconut Leaves – were used in The Maldives as a roofing material for houses, and are used to wrap rice, for cooking, and for storage in The Philippines.
- They have been used to make toys in India, and they are used to make brooms and burnt to ash to make lime.
- Toothpicks and satay skewers have also been made out of the ribs on the leaves.
- Coconut Tree Trunk – used as timber to make houses and boats, in bridge building, furniture, drums, and canoes.
Different Uses of Coconut
Coconuts are a serious superfood with its long list of health benefits, medicinal uses, and nutritional value.
No part goes to the waste as every layer has or had a use somewhere in the world, making it worthy of the title the tree of life.
- The Coir – this is the fiber on the outside of the husk and is used in ropes, doormats, potting compost, mattress stuffing, brushes, mats, rugs, joint sealer for boats (caulking), and sacks.
- In Brazil, a tea is made from the husk fibers which is said to benefit inflammatory disorders.
- The Coconut Husk & Shell – the outer part of the coconut, these have been used for buffing floors, fuel, for charcoal, as handicrafts, as buttons, as drinking vessels, sponges, musical instruments, theatrical sound effects, burnt to ward off mosquitoes and when ground down, the husk is used in cosmetics as a skin exfoliant.
- The coconut shells are also used as bird feeders, a haven for small birds and rodents and even are a feature in the fairground as a coconut shy.
Coconut Shell Crafts - Kerala, India
Commonly drunk in the humid tropics, coconuts all produce water. The younger the fruit, the more water it has.
- A good source of sugar, fibre, antioxidants, proteins, vitamins and minerals makes it a popular sports drink providing energy, hydration, and endurance.
- It helps restore any electrolyte imbalances caused by diarrhea, vomiting and after exercising.
- Emergency infusions may be done with coconut water due to its ability to mix with blood.
- It has antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties.
- It is used to replace lost fluids in cases of influenza, typhoid, malaria, and dissolves kidney stones.
Coconut Water Please
Drying Coconuts for Oil
Extracting Coconut Oil in Sri Lanka
With medicinal, nutritional and topical uses and benefits, there are in excess of 100 reasons to have coconut oil in some form in the home. Here is a selection of them. Here we go!
Topical Uses of Coconut Oil
- Natural skin softener and moisturizer.
- Reduces fine lines, puffiness and dark circles under the eyes
- Prevents skin infections.
- Soothes Sunburn and treats blisters and burns.
- Removes makeup.
- Improves skin tone, elasticity, and age spots.
- Heals itchy skin and stops burning from insect bites including snake bites.
- Lessens varicose vein occurrences.
- Removes head lice.
- Conditions the hair, prevents split-ends and treats dry flaky scalp including dandruff.
- Heals nail fungal conditions.
Medicinal Uses of Coconut Oil
- Eases acid reflux and gives relief in gallbladder disease.
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels and insulin production.
- Kills viruses such as flu and infectious diseases.
- Protects against cancers in the colon, breasts, and digestive tract.
- Protects against intestinal disorders.
- Reduces pain and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
- Strengthens the liver.
- Relieves symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
- Soothes earaches when combined with olive oil and garlic.
- Protects against Alzheimer’s disease.
- Improves calcium and magnesium absorption, promoting strong bones.
- Helps stabilize female hormones and prevents hot flushes and vaginal dryness during menopause.
Thai Chicken Curry
- The white meat or flesh of the coconut is eaten and used fresh. When it is in dried form it is called copra.
- Rich in vitamins A and B group (particularly B5), phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
- High in Fat and Carbohydrates.
- Widely used fresh or dried in thousands of culinary dishes. Deserts and confectionery are particularly favorable with the coconuts sweet taste.
- It is also an essential ingredient for many curries and savory dishes throughout the world.
- Coconut oil is extracted from the dried Copra.
- Copra cake or copra meal is made as livestock feed.
Coconut Palm Tree
A Tropical Cocktail
Did you know Coconuts have so many uses?
- The milk of the coconut is extracted from the flesh or meat of the fruit has high saturated fat content. It is used in a variety of ways from seafood dishes in Brazil to being used in baking instead of animal fat.
- Whilst there are two types of milk (thick and thin milk) available, most countries who import coconut milk get it in a can and remain unaware of the two different types.
- Coconut milk is used regularly, nearly as a staple ingredient in Southeast Asia and forms the base of curries.
- Used to make a home brew in Rendell Island (Solomon Islands) where it is fermented with sugar and yeast and left for a week.
- The famous Pina Colada cocktail traditionally contains coconut milk.
- Coconut milk is said to promote plant growth.
Questions & Answers
© 2013 Suzanne Ridgeway