BENEFITS AND USES OF COCONUT OIL

After visiting my country of origin, it intrigued me at how readily available coconuts was and how multi-purpose it is. As a huge fan of coconuts (both taste and as a product), I use it’s oil on a daily basis mainly externally on my skin as a moisturiser, to remove makeup or as a nourishing hair mask.
I decided to research and find out how else coconut oil can offer me. WOW! I couldn’t believe it. There are so many ways coconuts and its oil can be used to benefit you - health, beauty, household and even on your pets – just to name a few.

HISTORY

Here’s a little background to help understand where it came from. Coconuts dates back to the 16th Century. It’s name derives from the Spanish and Portuguese word “coco” which means “a grin or a monkey face” as it resembles a human face or a monkey – the three tiny indents on the hairy shell of the fruit. It’s Latin name Cocos nucifera is a scientific term for the coconut tree or coconut palm and tends to grow in hot tropics, on and around the shoreline and loves the sandy soil. Hence why the smell of coconuts reminiscent of hot summer holidays.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING COCONUT OIL

When buying coconut oil, these are the things to consider:

  • Organic
  • Extra Virgin
  • Cold pressed
  • No-hydrogenated
  • Unrefined

As promised, here is a list I compiled of its benefits and (many) uses.

BEAUTY

Body butter/Cream
This is my favourite way to use coconut oil, simply used as is or within a homemade recipe (which can be found on our pinterest page). Simply slather it on after a shower or a bath to lock in moisture.

Body scrub
Moisturise whilst getting rid of dead skin cells. Mix two tablespoons of sugar/sea salt (depending on how coarse you prefer) with three tablespoons of coconut oil. Put in a glass jar and use when needed.

Massage body oil
If your skin is seriously dry, this oil can come to the rescue. Use instead - or if it is really dry, use underneath your body lotion and layer it.
As a massage oil, warm I up between your hands to use as relaxing massage oil with or without your desired essential oil.

Homemade deodorant
You can apply coconut oil directly onto your armpits. Alternatively mix together:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • Two tablespoon baking soda powder (less if your skin is sensitive)
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil

There are many other versions to try. Check out our pinterest page for more recipes.

Make-up remover
Coconut oil is excellent at removing all types of makeup products (even waterproof). Massage around your eye area or face and remove using a cotton pad or a warm washcloth.

Facial wash
As well as a makeup remover, you can use coconut oil in the same way, just warm up a teaspoon of coconut oil onto your hands, massage all over your face and neck then rinse a cotton flannel or muslin cloth under hot water, press hot cloth onto skin and wipe the oil off.

Lip Balm
Use it on it’s own or as a natural tinted lip balm. See pinterest page for more homemade lip balm recipes.

Stretch marks
When the skin elasticity changes, stretch marks occur – usually after weight gain / list / pregnancy. Coconut oil can help reduce the marks and help the fade quickly, keeping the skin moisturised.

Insect repellent
Have you ever bought a chemical based insect repellent? The last one I bought almost choked me to death. For a more health friendly version, mix eight tablespoons of coconut oil with either 20-25 drops of citronella, lavender, lemongrass or eucalyptus essential oil. Apply all over your body. Reapply throughout the day.

Detox bath/oil
What better way to eliminate toxins from your body then by having a relaxing bath. Add ¼ cup of Epsom salt to ¼ cup of coconut oil into a hot bath. Drop your favourite essential oil for added aromatherapy benefits.

Shave lotion/oil
For a close shave, use coconut oil instead of shaving gel or cream. It helps prevents ingrown hairs and razor burns as well as adding moisture.

Sunburn relief
Coconut oil contains properties that can help soothe inflamed skin, reduce redness and hydrate skin. Slather all over to soothe skin.

Sun protection
While it offers minimal sun protection – SPF 4 by adding raspberry seed extract or zinc oxide to create a stronger sunblock. Ensure to stay out of the sun between 11am – 3pm when the sun is at it’s strongest.

Scalp moisture and hair treatment
Massage coconut oil onto the scalp to discourage dandruff growth and keeps scalp moisturised.
For a deep condition, apply coconut oil from root to tip letting it absorb for 30 – 40 minutes (or if you have time, leave over night making sure that you cover your hair with a head scarf) then wash it out completely. This treatment will leave the hair shiny and soft, preventing it from further breakage.

Hair serum
Warm a small amount on the palms of your hands and run it through the fizzy areas.
Same principle can be done with static-y and fly-away hair.

Dry hands / feet
Rub a generous amount of coconut oil all over hands and feet and cover with cotton gloves and / or socks, sleep in it and wake up with skin so soft and supple.

Cuticle oil
Applying coconut oil to your cuticles helps maintain strong and healthy nails.             

COOKING AND EATING

Fried Eggs
Drop a tablespoon into your non-stick frying pan, to cook delicious sunny side up eggs.

Smoothies
Add a teaspoon to your favourite smoothie recipe. It’s meant to increase your energy levels.

Popcorn
To make homemade popcorn, add coconut oil (ensuring that there is enough to cover a heavy bottomed pan), warm the oil then add the popcorn. Give the pot a shake to make sure all the kernels are coated with oil, over medium heat. Put the lid on the pot, leaving it slightly open so that steam can escape. Keep shaking the pot, for about five minutes or until all the popcorn has popped completely. Add a dash of Himalayan salt to taste.
For popcorn topping, melt a little coconut oil and pour it over you’re your popped popcorn, sprinkle with Himalayan Crystal salt or coconut sugar.

Toast
A delicious alternative use coconut oil instead of butter as a spread on your toast.

Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Preheat your oven to 230 C (450 F). Line baking tray with parchment paper. Cut the potatoes in 1/8-inch thick round slices (or as thin as possible). Place potato slices on prepared baking sheet in one layer. Bake for about 15 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Gently remove the chips and place on a cooling rack or parchment paper; let them cool for few minutes and they are ready to serve plain or add seasoning to taste.

Replace Vegetable oil or butter for baking
Try replacing vegetable oil or butter with coconut oil next time you bake your favourite recipe for a healthier option.

Salad dressing
I found this really easy salad dressing recipe.  All you need is

  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Mix all the ingredients into a bowl and add extra seasoning of your choice, black pepper, Dijon mustard if you want.

Homemade Granola
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this. As I love granola as my choice of breakfast with yogurt and fresh berries. Check out our pinterest page for ideas and recipes for this.

HEALTHY USES

Aromatherapy
The soothing aroma of coconut oil can be used as an alternative oil base.  Mix with your favourite essential oil, this can be used for a massage or bath oil.

Homemade toothpaste

  • 5 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 5 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Essential oil such as peppermint, citrus flavoured.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl – you can experience the texture (smooth or extra smooth) and blend by the amount of essential oil drops you use.

Infections
Coconut oil is a great and natural way to combat the risk of an infection on an open wound. It has also been known as aids in combating viruses like herpes, influenza, and even measles, while also eliminating various types of bacteria. Since it’s time, it has been a popular product in places in the Pacific and Asian areas for it’s natural healing purposes.

Cold Sore Treatment
Apply coconut oil on the cold sore with a cotton bud as a natural, remedy treatment for your sensitive lips.

Skin conditions
As well as a multipurpose moisturiser for the face and body, coconut oil use is on the rise due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties for treating skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions. If you suffer from a skin disease, using coconut oil regularly might help alleviate symptoms.
Another great use is lightening dark spots and some even recommend it for treating acne. By moisturising with a product like coconut oil, the skin doesn't think it's dehydrated and won't produce heavy amounts of sebum that get trapped in pores.

Metabolism Booster
Taking two tablespoons per day encourages your metabolism.

Energiser
By either taking one teaspoon or adding it to your favourite healthy beverage can give you a burst of energy instead of turning towards a caffeinated energy drink.

Oil Pulling
By swishes a couple teaspoons of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes before brushing or first thing in the morning. From researching and reading testimonials online from people who experienced benefits from oil pulling, including help with skin conditions, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems and more. (I will be posting a separate article on this).

Head lice prevention
Apply a coat of coconut oil to a fine-toothed comb and run it through the hair. You can also use it as a precaution if there is an outbreak.

Vapour Rub
Simply mix 20 drops of Eucalyptus Oil, 20 drops Peppermint Oil, 10 drops Rosemary Oil, 10 drops cinnamon or clove oil (optional) to ½ cup of coconut oil. Place into a glass jar and apply beneath your nose/on your chest when you’re congested.

Nappy Rash
Use coconut oil over the affected areas. It will ease the pain itch and redness of nappy rash.

Nipple Cream
A great and natural choice for nursing mothers. Apply when needed.

Lube
Need we say more… Just be sure not to use it with condoms or else Coconut oil + condoms = babies.

ANIMALS

Add to your pet’s food
Not only is it great for humans but for pets too. Add to their food or mix it in with their snacks.

Soothe a dry canine nose
If your dogs nose is dry or cracked rub a small amount onto your dog’s nose, to prevent it from further drying out.

Apply to your cat’s paw
Put half a teaspoon to your cat’s paw to keep a shiny coat and cut down on hair balls.

Itchy dogs
From the inside out, coconut oil can help nourish the dry, irritated, or inflamed skin and reduce itching. Start with ½ teaspoon a day and work your way up to 1 tablespoon for 40+ pound dogs, and 1-2 teaspoons for dogs that weigh less.

Clean your dogs ears
Gently wipe surface dirt out of your dog’s ears with a cotton ball. A dog’s ear canal is shaped like an ‘L’ so don’t panic too much about jabbing your finger or cotton swab in too far. After you have wiped it out, gently rub in some coconut oil into the skin to keep them healthy, itch-free, and comfortable.

OTHER USES

Leather polish
Use a soft cloth to remove any excess dirt or dust off the area, then apply a small amount of coconut oil, rub it in circular motions. Buff with a soft cloth to get that really glossy shine.

Season a cast iron pan
By “Seasoning” a cast iron pan acts as a way of creating a fatty layer that coats the pan, protects it, and also acts as a non-stick surface. Season with coconut oil the same as you would any other type of fat. Apply a good amount of coconut oil to the inside of the pan and let it sit in a 200 degree oven for an hour. Place a baking sheet under it and let the pan lie upside down if you are worried about oil pooling and smoking. Remove the pan, let it cool, and wipe out any excess oil. Repeat as needed.

Give house plants a shine
Rub a small amount of coconut oil to keep leaves looking fresh, green and healthy. Reapply every few days or as often as needed.

Clean brushes
Let the brushes soak in coconut oil for a while, then rinse them off.