The origin of coconut is unknown, but it is believed to have spread from the Indian Ocean to Malaysia and Polynesia. Fruits growing along the water’s edge dropped into the sea and were taken by currents and tides throughout the South Sea very easily as the outer husk of the coconut is completely impervious to sea water. Now, because of its economic importance, the coconut is cultivated in many tropical areas, especially Africa and South East Asia.
The palm tree grows to about 25 metres (80 feet) and when fully mature at the age of 3, can yield 80 a year. Incredibly, it will start bearing fruit at just 6 years old. The ‘coconut’ that we know is only the seed or inner kernel of the green, smooth fruit that is the size of a rugby ball.
Every part of the coconut is put to good use. The several inches that make up the outer husk make a variety of products, including rope and documents. The hard outer kernel is sold as an environmentally-friendly replacement to peat. The coconut oil used by therapists is made from the dried white ’meat’ – two thirds of which is oi. The residue of the meat, referred to as the ‘cake’ is then used as an animal food.
Main properties said to be:
Main therapeutic uses:
Ideal for course skin, dark complexions and greasy skin conditions. The oil is frequently used in massage because of its emollient properties. It is light and fine in consistency and easily absorbed, leaving both the client and the therapist’s skin feeling smooth and silky. Ideal for use in facial blends and use in hotter climates. Also suitable as a suntan base for skin types that tan easily. Excellent for all skin types. Many hair products contain coconut oil because it softens the hair and conditions the scalp.
Glycerides of: Capoic Acid; Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid; Lauric Acid; Linoleic Acid; Linolenic Acid; Myristic Acid; Oleic Acid; Palmitic Acid; and steric Acid.
The oil is almost odourless
Light coconut oil is preferred in aromatherapy
The word cocos is Portuguese for monkey, as it is thought that nut resembled a monkey’s face.