My mother tells me that every part of the coconut tree is useful and that Indigenous communities in South East Asia have been doing so for centuries.
The trunk can be made into pillars to support kampung homes, the leaves to make roofs, hand held brooms and ketupat (rice cakes). The fruit can be made into coconut milk and drinks while the husks can be used to burn fuel, make crafts, plates and bowls. Last but not least, distilling the fruit can create coconut oil.
It seems that North Americans are just starting to appreciate the many uses of coconut oil. Every time I use coconut oil, I like to reflect on where the oil came from. I like the notion that I am continuing a tradition even if it means I no longer live where coconut trees grow.
Sunscreen: I discovered the benefits of coconut oil as sunscreen when my friend was slathering herself with it last summer. Apparently, coconut oil has an SPF 7.
Hair treatments: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides which are a type of fatty acids. Fatty acids are essential for great hair so consuming coconut or applying it to your hair regularly will ensure hair’s shininess and maintains thickness and health.
Makeup remover: I like using coconut oil to remove makeup because it means I don’t have to buy a separate makeup remover loaded with god-knows-what chemicals. Plus, I smell like a coconut when I go to bed.
Heat protectant: I recently discovered that a small bit of coconut oil can be used as heat protectant for your hair before using hot tools. I just make sure to use a small amount (< 1/2 tsp for my entire head) especially in the cold winters of Vancouver because coconut oil harden in the cold.
Body lotion: Whip up your own body lotion at home with 1 cup of coconut oil. Whisk it for 6-7 minutes into a light, airy consistency and you’ve got your own body lotion. You can also add a teaspoon of Vitamin E oil and essential oils to fragrance your homemade lotion.
Ingrown hair treatment : Apparently, combining coconut with lavender and tea tree oil can help heal ingrown hairs.
Aromatherapy massage oil: Who doesn’t want to get a massage by the beach? I sure do! You can replicate this fantasy at home in the middle of winter by using coconut oil as an aromatherapy oil for massage.
Cooking oil: Coconut oil has lots of fatty acids which is great for your body and mind. Apparently, eating tons of coconuts can have therapuetic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy or Alzheimer’s (source).
Baking ingredient: I like to substitute butter for coconut oil in a pinch. It makes cookies and brownies more dense.
Topical medication: A few months ago, I got a minor burn when cooking. I didn’t want to drop the dish I was making and go to the bathroom to search for medication. Instead, I grabbed some coconut oil and rubbed it onto the minor burn. It instantly soothed my burn and a few hours later, the burn didn’t hurt as much anymore.
Isn’t nature amazing? 🙂 How do you use coconut oil?
stay true xo