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While traveling through Thailand, my partner and I joked about buying a coconut plantation because it seems that everything nowadays is coconut based! Let’s see, you’ve got coconut oil, coconut butter, coconut shreds, coconut water, coconut milk and cream, coconut flour, and even coconut soy sauce (try it, it’s actually delicious)!
Coconut (C. Nucifera) belongs to the Arecaceae (Palmae) family and the subfamily Cocoideae.
The flesh of the coconut is very high in healthy fatty acids (1). The composition of fat varies depending on the type and processing of the oil. Medium-chain saturated fatty acids make up approximately 90% of coconut oil with a slight contribution of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and poly-unsaturated fatty acids.
Coconut Oil 101: What’s So Good About Medium-Chain Fatty Acids?
Medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFA’s) are easily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the body, while freely crossing the blood-brain barrier in its unbound form, which means it can be used by the brain as an energy source but also for neurological health. (2)
What’s also great is that virgin (unrefined) coconut oil is affordable, readily available, delicious and completely natural. It’s also…
- Anti-carcinogenic (prevents the spread of cancer cells and enhances the immune system)
- Anti-inflammatory (3)
- Anti-microbial/ Infection-fighting (bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi, parasites and protozoa)
- An antioxidant (protects against free-radical formation and damage)
- Improves nutrient absorption (easily digestible; makes fat-based vitamins more available to the body – ie. vitamin A, D, E, K)
- Nontoxic to humans and animals
Coconut Oil Uses for Personal Hygiene and the Body
1. Age Spots
(Also known as liver spots). Applying coconut oil directly to the age spot will help it fade.
2. After Shave
Coconut oil will help heal your skin after shaving without clogging pores. Great for razor burn!
Combine coconut oil with lavender, rosemary, thyme, cedarwood, Jojoba oil, Grapeseed/castor oil and a little cayenne pepper. Apply three times a day (or before bed) to affected area of hair loss and massage in. Coconut oil and these essential oils support cell regeneration. (4)
4. Body Scrub
Mix coconut oil and salt together and rub all over! Rinse off and your skin will be super soft. You can add in essential oils if you would like a specific smell.
Applied directly to the bruise, coconut oil enhances the healing process by reducing swelling and redness.
6. Bug Bites
When applied directly to a bug bite, coconut oil can stop the itching and burning sensation as well as hasten the healing process.
Apply to burn site immediately and continue applying until healed. Will reduce the chances of permanent scarring and promotes healing. (5)
Just rub a little onto your lips. It not only acts as a softening agent, but it also has an SPF of about 4, so you get a little protection! Watch this video for a quick coconut chapstick DIY!
9. Cradle Cap
Having issues with dry skin on your baby’s scalp? Coconut oil will not only nourish your baby’s skin, it also helps eliminate cradle cap. Just rub a teaspoon onto scalp daily.
Coconut oil soaks into the scalp, moisturizing dry skin and relieving symptoms of dandruff. It also helps to control oil secretion from the scalp, another leading cause of dandruff. (6)
Coconut oil alone can be used as a deodorant, but it is even more effective in combination with cornstarch/arrowroot powder and baking soda.
12. Diaper Salve
Very comforting on a rashy bum with no harsh chemicals. Also safe for cloth diapers.
13. Eye Cream
Apply under the eyes to reduce puffiness, bags, and wrinkles. Use on the lids in the evening.
14. Face Wash/Soap
Mix equal parts coconut oil with olive oil, almond oil, avocado oil and castor oil and use in place of soap when washing your face. Wet face, rub oil in and leave on for two minutes, rinse and pat dry. One teaspoon should be adequate.
15. Hair Conditioner/Deep Treatment
Use as a leave-in hair conditioner by applying a teaspoon of coconut oil to your ends and then running your fingers through your hair to distribute the rest. For a deeper treatment, rub in a tablespoon of coconut oil onto your dry scalp and gently work through to the ends. Put a shower cap on to prevent transfer onto bed linens and leave on overnight.
16. Hair Gel/Defrizzer
Rub a little between your palms and either scrunch into hair (for curly hair) or finger comb in from scalp to ends (for wavy/straight hair).
When applied on scrapes and cuts, coconut oil forms a thin, chemical layer which protects the wound from outside dust, bacteria, and virus. Coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by repairing damaged tissues. Plus, it smells a heck-of-a-lot better than anything from the pharmacy.
It is an all-natural, perfectly safe personal lubricant for masturbation and sex. Not compatible with latex!
19. Makeup Remover
Use a cotton swab and a dab of coconut oil and you will be amazed at how well it works!
20. Massage Oil
Pretty simple; grab some and rub!
Simply scoop some out of the jar and apply all over your body, including neck and face. Often lotions are water-based and can dry out your skin even more. (7)
22. Nipple Cream
Works great to nourish cracked, sore or dry nipples. Apply to a cotton ball and leave on your nipples between feedings.
23. Acne Skin Fix
Prone to oily skin or an oily T-zone? Use a pea sized amount underneath makeup or alone to reduce oil gland stimulation. Often acne prone skin is actually too dry, which signals your glands to produce more oil and clogs the pores. (8)
Coconut oil will prep skin for the pending damage caused by shaving.
25. Skin Conditions
Coconut oil can relieve skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
26. Stretch Marks
Coconut oil is great at nourishing damaged skin. It may not be the magic stretch mark cure but it will help. (9)
27. Sun Burn Relief
Rub liberal amounts of coconut oil into the affected area.
It’s not high, but coconut oil does have an SPF of around 4.
29. Swimmer’s Ear
Mix garlic oil and coconut oil and put a few drops in affected ear for about 10 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a day and it usually works within one or two days.
30. Tattoo Healing and Moisturizer
Continued use of coconut oil on tattoos will help keep the pigment from fading. Used on new tattoos, coconut oil will hasten the healing process and decrease the chance of infection. Be sure to only use a very thin layer no more than twice a day, according to your tattoo artist’s instructions. Overuse can cause the ink to be lifted up.
There are numerous recipes out there, but I just mix coconut oil and baking soda and dab a little of the mix on my toothbrush.
32. Wrinkle Prevention and Wrinkle Reducer
Rubbing coconut oil on wrinkles and sagging skin helps strengthen the connective tissues to bring back that youthful look! (10)
Coconut Oil Uses for General Health and Wellness
For breastfeeding moms, consuming 3 ½ tablespoons of coconut oil daily will enrich the milk supply.
34. Bones and Teeth
Coconut oil aids in the absorption of calcium and magnesium, leading to better development of bones and teeth. (11)
The saturated fats in coconut oil help control parasites and fungi that cause indigestion and other digestion related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The fat in coconut oil also aids in the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, making you healthier all around. (12)
Coconut oil has been proven to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat while increasing muscle. (13)
36. Insulin Support
Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose, making it great for both diabetics and non-diabetics. (14)
37. Lung Function
Increases the fluidity of cell surfaces.
Rub some coconut oil on the inside for the wrist (PC 6) and forearm to calm an upset stomach.
39. Nose bleeds
Coconut oil can prevent nose bleeding that is caused by sensitivity to weather such as extreme heat and extreme cold. This condition happens when the nasal passages become dry because of cold or dry air resulting in burns and cracks in the mucus membranes, leading to nose bleeds. To prevent this, put coconut oil in your nostrils. Doing this will strengthen and protect the capillaries in the nasal passages.
40. Gum Health
Oil pulling with coconut oil offers a two for one health benefit!
41. Stress Relief
Relieve mental fatigue by applying coconut oil to the head in a circular, massaging motion. The natural aroma of coconuts is extremely soothing, thus helping to lower your stress level. (15)
42. Vitamin and nutrient absorption
Makes fat-based nutrients more available to the body – ie. vitamin A, D, E, K. (16)
43. Weight loss
The saturated fats contribute to weight loss and controlling cravings.
44. Mental Cognition and Productivity
Medium-chain triglycerides freely pass through the blood-brain barrier allows an alternate source of energy to improve cognition.
Coconut Oil Uses for Internal Health Problems
45. Acid Reflux/ Indigestion
If taken after a meal.
46. Adrenal and Chronic Fatigue
Seasonal hay fever.
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Even in children
50. Autism (17)
51. Bowel function
Constipation, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), gut infections
52. Bronchial Infections and Cystic Fibrosis
Has been shown to prevent breast and colon cancer.
54. Candida Albicans
In a 2007 study, coconut oil was proven to be 100% effective against the Candida microbe species. In fact, researchers recommended that candida can be treated with coconut oil instead of drugs, against which candida has become resistant! (18)
Improves HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) to LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) ratio in people with high cholesterol.
56. Poor Circulation
Feeling cold all the time or edema, especially in the extremities, apply coconut oil to the skin in a light circular pattern towards the heart. Similar to dry skin brushing
57. Colds and Flus
As an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory agent. (19)
58. Mild Depression and Cognitive Disease
In conjunction with CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), fish oil and other treatment strategies.
Helps keep blood sugar levels stable and helps with cravings.
Known to reduce epileptic seizures.
61. Flaky, Dry Skin
Poor oil intake often results in dry skin and dandruff.
62. Gallbladder Disease
Dietary oils can help increase bile flow, which can be helpful for gallbladder issues, but possibly harmful (ie. Gallstones).
Foul gas is often due to an imbalance in the gut bacteria. Coconut oil is a mild anti-microbial to help re-establish healthy gut flora.
64. H. pylori
Oral intake. Occasionally, antibiotic treatment may be necessary.
65. Heart Disease
Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis.
Can be applied externally or internally twice a day.
67. Hot Flashes (20)
68. Immune System Builder
69. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Alternating diarrhea and constipation are key signs of IBS.
70. Jaundice (21)
71. Kidney Disease and Stones
Aids in dissolving small stones.
72. Liver Disease
73. Lung Disease (22)
74. Malnutrition (23)
75. Mental Clarity
76. Menstruation Relief
Regarding pain/cramps and heavy blood flow.
With regular use.
79. Periodontal Disease and Tooth Decay
80. Prostate Enlargement
BPH, benign prostatic hyperplasia. (24)
81. Stomach Ulcers
Helps soothe stomach lining and limit H. pylori growth.
83. Thyroid Function
Can help regulate an overactive or underactive thyroid. (25)
Coconut Oil Uses and Topical Health Problems
Often acne prone skin is actually too dry, which signals your glands to produce more oil and clogs the pores.
85. Head Lice
86. Allergies/Hay Fever
Rub a little inside the nostrils for quick relief. The pollen will cling to the oil.
87. Athletes Foot
88. Toenail Fungus
89. Back Pain and Sore Muscles
90. Boils and Cysts
92. Circumcision healing
Although I don’t support circumcision, coconut oil may help with healing.
Rub coconut oil on the chest and under the nose when congested from a cold or allergies.
94. Ear infection
Place a few drops of coconut and garlic oil inside the ear twice daily for relief from pain. Also, coconut oil fights the infection itself. (26)
95. Genital Warts
Genital warts often go away on their own after 2 years of the initial infection. Additional topical coconut oil application over 6 months may be helpful.
96. Gum Disease, Gingivitis and Canker Sores
Use as a toothpaste or rub directly on gums.
Applied topically and taken internally.
Reduces the itch and swelling.
99. Pink eye
Applied around and in the eye.
BONUS: Coconut Oil and Pets/ Animals
Always check with your veterinarian, but the average recommended dosage for animals is 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily.
100. Aids healing of digestive disorders
Like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis.
101. Aids in arthritis or ligament problems
102. Aids in elimination of hairballs and coughing
103. Promotes the healing
When applied topically to cuts, wounds, hot spots, dry skin and hair, bites and stings.
104. Clears up skin conditions
Such as eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis, and itchy skin.
105. Disinfects cuts
And promotes wound healing!
106. Great for dogs and cats for general wellness
Just add a teaspoon to their water bowl daily.
107. Helps prevent or control diabetes
108. Helps sedentary dogs feel energetic
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have been shown to improve brain energy metabolism and decrease the amyloid protein buildup that results in brain lesions in older dogs.
109. Helps to reduce weight
Increases energy for more activity throughout the day. (27)
110. Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
111. Makes coats shine
Coat becomes sleek and glossy and deodorizes doggy odor.
112. Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections
113. Reduces allergic reactions and improves skin health
114. Reduces or eliminates bad breath in dogs
115. Regulates and balances insulin and promotes normal thyroid function
BONUS: Other Uses for Coconut Oil
116. Chewing Gum in Hair Remover
Just rub some coconut oil over the stuck chewing gum, leave in for about 30 minutes, then roll the gum between your fingertip. Voila! It’s out!
117. Goo Gone
Just mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda into a paste. Apply to the “sticky” area and let it set for a minute. Then scrub off with an old toothbrush or the scrubby side of a sponge.
118. Insect repellent
Mix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and rub it all over exposed skin. Keeps insects off better than anything with DEET! A lot safer, too.
119. Moisturizing and cleaning leather products
120. Oiling wood cutting boards and wood bowls
121. Polishing Bronze
All you have to do is rub a little oil into a cotton towel and then wipe down the statue. It cleans and helps deepen the color of your bronze.
122. Polish Furniture
Use coconut oil with a little bit of lemon juice to polish wood furniture. However, I recommend you test it first on a very small, unobtrusive part of your furniture to make sure it works the way you’d like.
123. Seasoning animal-hide drums
124. Seasoning cookware
125. Soap making
Coconut oil can be used as one of the fats in soap.
A Message From The Author
Did we miss any? Do you use coconut oil for something not on the list?
Please share this post on your social media wall and add your favorites with #101CoconutOil #healthyfats @DrAlisonChenND.
I am always excited to find new ways to implement coconut oil!
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