There are many proverbs proclaiming about the benefits of coconut in our tradition. Some of the key proverbs are, ‘Coconut cannot be shaken by the climbing of a squirrel’, ‘offspring bring tears while coconut brings sweet water’, ‘One who plants coconut will die eating it while the one who plants palm will die seeing it only grow’. It is important to spread awareness about the benefits of coconut.
In 1998, there was a summit by the Asia Pacific Coconut Producers, in Vietnam. During the summit it was decided to celebrate International coconut day on every September, 2nd. The objective of celebrating it is to create awareness about the importance of coconuts, their benefits and also to make efforts towards increasing their use among the public.
Coconuts hold a unique place in worships in temples, creating sacred fire called Homam, and festivals, especially in Asian countries. Its place is almost inevitable in the Indian culture and tradition. It stands as an eternal tree on the earth. Let us know about the benefits of coconut and also their medicinal properties.
Tender coconut water
If one drinks it every morning the person will feel refreshed for the whole day. But one should not drink it with empty stomach as its acidic nature could cause ulcers in the stomach. Therefore it is better to have it after food. It is a good medicine for the kids who suffer from indigestion. It purifies blood and also kidneys. It helps in curing dehydration.
When tender coconuts mature they are called coconuts. The coconut kernels improve immunity against diseases and also help in metabolism. They are good in controlling the multiplication of AIDS virus considerably in the body.
It can be applied on the open wounds so as to minimize infection. By taking bath after applying coconut oil to the whole body, once or twice in a month, we can get relieved from fatigue. It is a great treasure for women, helping their hair grow thick and dark. It can heal chronic burns due to fire.
One should not try oil pulling using coconut oil unlike with gingely oil.
Milk of coconut
The protein content of milk extracted from coconut kernel is equivalent to mother’s breast milk. It helps in reducing body weight and also reducing bad cholesterol in the body. Dry cough can be cured by drinking a mix of coconut milk with poppy seeds, milk and honey. It is also good in curing stomach ulcers.
There are many types of balms produced using coconut extract. It is an ingredient in preparing balms against itchy skin, Vetpalai (Wrightia) balm against psoriasis, camphor based balm against paralysis, anti dandruff balm, and Mathan balm against prolonged wounds.
It is a kind of drink made from the coconut inflorescence that is yet to blossom. The government of Tamil Nadu has recently approved to sell this drink.
Besides its various forms of use like coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk, tender coconut water, Neera drink and balms there are many other products that can be gained from coconut trees. From the sheaths of coconut tree we can build a hut with thatched roof. The young and green sheaths can be made into ornamental designs as decorations in celebrations and festivals. From the fibers of coconut coir can be gained. Handicrafts can be made from coconut shells. Till now coconut cultivation remains as one of the important cash crops in rural areas.
The coconut crops help in alleviating poverty in rural areas and that is the reason to celebrate September 2, as ‘International Coconut Day’.
(This article written by Raghupati in Tamil has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)