Scientific Synonym - Cocos nucifera
Also known as - Nariyal(Hindi), Narikela(Sanskrit), Thenkai(Tamil)
Native to - with most authorities claiming it is native to South Asia (particularly the Ganges Delta), while others claim its origin is in northwestern South America. Fossil records from New Zealand indicate that small, coconut-like plants grew there as long as 15 million years ago. Even older fossils have been uncovered in Kerala (Kerala means "land of coconut palms"), Rajasthan, Thennai in Tamil Nadu at banks of River Palar, Then-pennai, Thamirabharani, Cauvery and Mountain sides at Kerala borders,[Konaseema-Andharapradesh], Maharashtra (India) and the oldest known so far in Khulna, Bangladesh.
Mention is made of coconuts in the 1st centuries BC in the Mahawamsa of Sri Lanka.
Rich Source of - sugar, fiber, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
Tastes like - Sweet in taste
Propagation - The flowers of the coconut palm are polygamomonoecious, with both male and female flowers in the same inflorescence. Flowering occurs continuously, with female flowers producing seeds. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.
Interesting Facts -
- The Philippines is the world leader in coconut production (2007), followed by Indonesia, and India in distant third. Pollachi and its surrounding villages are the largest coconut growing hubs in India, and is famous for the most tender coconuts in India. And, they are also famous for the coconut-based products like tender coconut water, copra, coconut oil, coconut cake, coconut toddy, coconut shell-based products, coconut wood-based products, coconut leaves, and coir pith.
- Nearly all parts of the coconut palm are useful, and the palms have a comparatively high yield, up to 75 fruits per year
- The name for the coconut palm in Sanskrit is kalpa vriksha, which translates as "the tree which provides all the necessities of life".
- Coir (the fiber from the husk of the coconut) is used in ropes, mats, brushes, caulking boats and as stuffing fiber; it is also used extensively in horticulture for making potting compost.
- Copra is the dried meat of the seed and, after further processing, is a source of low grade coconut oil.
- Coconut leaves are used for making broom in India.
- Coir used for making mattress are made in India.
- The leaves provide materials for baskets and roofing thatch.
- Palmwood comes from the trunk, and is increasingly being used as an ecologically-sound substitute for endangered hardwoods. It has several applications, particularly in furniture and specialized construction (notably in Manila's Coconut Palace).
- Hawaiians hollowed the trunk to form drums, containers, or even small canoes.
- The husk and shells can be used for fuel and are a good source of charcoal.
- Dried half coconut shells with husks are used to buff floors. In the Philippines, it is known as "bunot", and in Jamaica it is simply called "coconut brush"
- Activated carbon manufactured from coconut shell is considered superior to those obtained from other sources, mainly because of small macropores structure which renders it more effective for the adsorption of gas/vapor and for the removal of color, oxidants, impurities and odor of compounds.
- A coconut is an essential element of several rituals in Hindu tradition, and often is decorated with bright metal foils and other symbols of auspiciousness. It is offered during worship to a Hindu god or goddess. Irrespective of their religious affiliation, fishermen of India often offer it to the rivers and seas in the hopes of having bountiful catches. In Hindu wedding ceremonies, a coconut is placed over the opening of a pot, representing a womb. Hindus often initiate the beginning of any new activity by breaking a coconut to ensure the blessings of the gods and successful completion of the activity. In tantric practices, coconuts are sometimes used as substitutes for human skulls. The Hindu goddess of well-being and wealth, Lakshmi, is often shown holding a coconut.
- The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club of New Orleans traditionally throws hand decorated coconuts the most valuable of all Mardi Gras souvenirs to parade revelers. The "Tramps" began the tradition ca. 1901. In 1987 a "coconut law" was signed by Gov. Edwards exempting from insurance liability any decorated coconut handed from a Zulu float.
- In the Philippines, dried half shells are used as a music instrument in a folk dance called maglalatik, a traditional dance about the conflicts for coconut meat within the Spanish era
- Shirt buttons can be carved out of dried coconut shell. Coconut buttons are often used for Hawaiian Aloha shirts.
- The stiff leaflet midribs can be used to make cooking skewers, kindling arrows, or are bound into bundles, brooms and brushes.
- The roots are used as a dye, a mouthwash, and a medicine for dysentery. A frayed-out piece of root can also be used as a toothbrush.
- Half coconut shells are used in theatre Foley sound effects work, banged together to create the sound effect of a horse's hoofbeats.
- Making a rug from coconut fiber
- The leaves can be woven to create effective roofing materials, or reed mats.
- A coconut can be hollowed out and used as a home for a rodent or small bird. Halved, drained coconuts can also be hung up as bird feeders, and after the flesh has gone, can be filled with fat in winter to attract tits.
- Dried coconut leaves can be burned to ash, which can be harvested for lime.
- Dried half coconut shells are used as the bodies of musical instruments, including the Chinese yehu and banhu, along with the Vietnamese dàn gáo and Arabo-Turkic rebab.
- A wall made from coconut husks
- Coconut is also commonly used as a traditional remedy in Pakistan to treat bites from rats.
- The "branches" (leaf petioles) are strong and flexible enough to make a switch. The use of coconut branches in corporal punishment was revived in the Gilbertese community on Choiseul in the Solomon Islands in 2005.
- In World War II, coastwatcher scout Biuki Gasa was the first of two from the Solomon Islands to reach the shipwrecked, wounded, and exhausted crew of Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 commanded by future U.S. president John F. Kennedy. Gasa suggested, for lack of paper, delivering by dugout canoe a message inscribed on a husked coconut shell. This coconut was later kept on the president's desk, and is now in the John F. Kennedy Library.
- Coconut trunks are used for building small bridges; they are preferred for their straightness, strength and salt resistance. In Kerala (India), coconut trunks are also used for house construction.
- Coconut nuts are used to make soap.
- Leaves were woven together into a basket that could be used for drawing water from a well.
- The dried Calyx of the coconut is used as fuel in wood fired stoves.
- The fresh husk of a brown coconut is also used as a dish sponge or as a body sponge.
- The mid-rib of the coconut leaf is used as a tongue-cleaner in Kerala.
Health Benefits -
- purify the digestive system of it-tender coconut balances acid levels and cools the system.
- Ayurveda considers coconut a natural stress-buster. which is associated with emotions.
- The juice of tender coconut has been billed "the world's safest natural soft drink" for being a nutritious thirst-quencher.
- Coconut has keshya properties -- that is, it improves hair quality. In Southern India, women apply coconut oil to their hair every day-which gives them long, lustrous locks.
- Coconut is good for curing stomach disorders
- Due to its soma-enhancing or nurturing value, coconut heals hot flashes and restores emotional stability in menopausal women.
- Coconut improves the complexion. You can make coconut-based skin packs at home. The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians suggests mixing coconut oil with oatmeal powder and a little bit of lavender flower powder to make a soothing facial pack.Regular intake reduces pimples
- A burning sensation in hands and feet is cooled down by drinking coconut water/milk. All you have to do is make a paste of crushed middle aged coconut and apply it on hands and feet.
- Coconut is traditionally considered a wound healer, especially effective at preventing the formation of scars if applied topically.
- Hiccups due to pittam are also eased by coconut water.
- Cleanses the urinary bladder. Good for Urinary diseases, Urinary stones. Coconut water is a mild diuretic. If you have urine retention from heat, then coconut water helps. Similarly, liver problems, such as inflammation, are also soothed by drinking tender coconut water.
- There is a word called karshan meaning "that which supports the body to stay slim by enhancing fat metabolism." Recent research suggests that coconut is good for burning fat and lowering cholesterol- and it is clearly written in ayurveda that the oil has karshan properties.
- Coconut helps detoxify and flush toxins out of the body.
- Coconut water is good for jaundice
- Coconut water is good for Sun burn, Itching. Heat boils,Measles, Prickly heat