Historical and Modern Day Uses of Coconut

These days, we are all amazed by the numerous properties and uses of coconut. Yet its derivatives have been a staple in the home of many for years, particularly in Caribbean and South-East Asian regions.

Coconuts are the seeds of the woody husk on a palm tree; these seeds, when mature, contain a meat as well as a clear liquid inside, known as coconut water. 

The properties of the coconut are endless, and somewhat amazing.  Even the Bible mentions the palm tree in Psalm 92:12, whereby likening the righteous man to the fruitfulness and standing of this nutrient-rich, fruit bearing tree.

The meat of the coconut is rich in a variety of important nutrients, including Protein, Calcium, Fiber, Iron and Vitamins B6, C and E, as well as Potassium, Niacin, Thiamin, Magnesium and Folate (USDA). Essentially, the derivatives of coconut, namely the milk, cream and oil, all offer unique benefits to the body, hair and skin.

Everyday Uses of Coconut

Countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, as well as several West Indian islands have found significant ways to utilize coconuts.

  • For instance, derivatives like coconut oilmilk and cream are common ingredients in many dishes.
  • Also, islanders have used coconut leaves to create baskets and even for roofing in certain cultures; some, even still to this day.
  • Many islander baby boomers can also remember using the husk as a brush to polish and shine floors and shoes.
  • Additionally, for these same baby boomers, coconut oil was the hair and skin moisturizer used by everyone in the home.

Finally, today, many widespread food and beauty products feature these coconut derivatives, in an effort to take advantage of their wondrous benefits!

USDA. "Nuts, coconut meat, raw."  National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release.  <https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/">


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