Coconut Oil - Miracle Medicine and Diet Pill
Source: Coconut Oil - Miracle Medicine and Diet Pill by Eric Armstrong.
Throughout this article, "coconut oil" means
virgin coconut oil -- oil that "has not" been refined, bleached, or deodorized.
Although none of that processing is necessary, some manufacturers do it anyway,
which produces the same problems as those associated with hydrogenated oils.
(The 8% of unsaturated fats that coconut oil contains can be damaged by such
high-heat processing.) So when you shop, look for virgin coconut oil -- oil
that isn't bleached, refined, or deodorized.
Coconut oil [unrefined only] can replace most of your medicine cabinet, energize you, and make you slimmer in the bargain.
Coconut oil and, to only a slightly lesser extent, palm
kernel oil is far better for us than we have generally been led to believe.
Coconut oil consists almost entirely of saturated fat -- about 92% -- which sounds pretty bad on the surface. But not all saturated fats
are created equal. As the old saying goes, "some are more equal than
others". Coconut oil actually helps you lose weight and stay healthy in
ways that no other fat can match.
In particular, note that:
Coconut oil is good for cooking, because saturated fat is not harmed by heat -- unlike unsaturated oils, as explained in What's Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?
Coconut oil does not contain the trans fats that produce insulin-resistance, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune diseases, as described in Trans Fats: Metabolic Poisons.
Coconut oil does not contain the oxidized cholesterol (produced by hydrogenation and high-heat processing) that are responsible for heart disease and stroke, as explained in The Cholesterol Scam.
Coconut oil consists primarily of medium-chain fatty acids, which are metabolized very differently, so they're burned as fuel rather than stored as fat.
Perhaps even more importantly, medium-chain fatty acids are potent anti-microbial agents.
Coconut oil was used in food products for centuries. It was only replaced by partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (most often by hydrogenated soybean oil) in recent decades, during which time levels of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity have reached epidemic proportions.
Coconut oil and fractionated palm kernel oil are very
similar, and come from different parts of the same plant. They are stable at
room temperature, so they don't need to be refrigerated.
It Melts In Your Hand
Coconut oil becomes a liquid at 76-degrees Fahrenheit. So on
a warm day, it's liquid in the jar. On cool days, however, it's a white solid.
When it's solid, it looks like one of those hard-to-digest fats that might clog
up your arteries and end up around your middle.
But the difference becomes apparent when you pick up a
little and rub it between your fingers. The fat "solid" turns into an
oily liquid almost immediately. That reaction hints at how quickly it
metabolizes -- how quickly it breaks down to produce energy in your even warmer
It turns out that coconut oil is so effective at providing
energy and at protecting the body from disease-causing microbes that it's used
in baby formulas, intravenous fluids, and sports endurance snacks. Those uses,
along with centuries of use by healthy indigenous cultures, are major clues as to
just how good it is for you.
The Miracle Diet Pill
Coconut oil is metabolized from other fats. It breaks down
quickly and is burned for fuel long before it can be stored as fat. That
process makes all the difference in the world, not only to your weight.
Tends to be Burned, Rather than Stored
When we think about saturated fat, we generally think of the
18-carbon long-chain fatty acids found in meat and dairy products. But medium
chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are different. They contain
8, 10, or 12 carbons, and they are metabolized in radically different ways.
Approximately 64% of coconut oil consists of medium chain fatty acids, so the
difference is important.
Since MCFAs are shorter, they
contain less energy. So instead of containing 9 calories per gram like longer
saturated fats, they contain a little over 6 calories per gram. That's a
bargain, right there. For the same satisfying taste, you save 1/3 the calories
over meat and dairy products.
But that's just the beginning, because the medium-chain
fatty acids tend to be converted into energy, rather than stored as fat. To
understand how, see the sidebar, What Happens to Fat. (Or skip it to save
yourself the gory details.)
What Happens to Fat?
A large portion of the medium-chain fats are broken down by
saliva. They are then packed off to the liver by way of the portal vein the
moment they arrive in the upper intestine.
Many of the free fatty acids are
then converted into energy packets called Acetyl-CoA
(Acetylcoenzyme A) in the liver and in the cells.
(Converting those free fatty acids into energy packets is actually slightly
simpler the conversion of glucose![Guyton, 22])
Mitochondria in the cells then convert those packets into energy.
Long-chain saturated fats, on the other hand, move into the
intestines, where they are slowly broken down, absorbed, and synthesized into
triglycerides (3-part fats). The triglycerides are then passed to the lymph
system. From there, they move to the heart and are distributed throughout the
body.[Guyton, 20, 842-843]
Of course, the liver synthesizes triglycerides as well,
along with the phospholipids that are a necessary part of cell membranes.[Guyton, 885] But since coconut oil contains mostly
medium-chain fats, the synthesized triglycerides are shorter -- that's why that
have a little over 6 calories per gram, instead of 9 calories per gram like
other fats. (Actually, medium-chain fats contain 6.8 calories per gram. But I
think of it as "a little over 6" to simplify the math.)
However they are created, some triglycerides (generally too
many!) go to the fat cells, where they are stored. Some go to internal cells,
where they are used for energy. Others go to surface cells where they are
emitted as skin oil and other forms of sebum (for example, in the sinuses).
some, when they return to the liver, are converted into phospholipids,
lipoproteins, cholesterol, and Acetyl-CoA, all of
which are necessary for your body to function.
When the medium-chain fats that aren't immediately used for
energy are stored as fat, they only contain 2/3 the energy of the long-chain
variety -- so when they're burned, they burn more quickly. You'll learn more
about that beneficial side effect in a moment.
Meanwhile, the medium-chain fats that go to the surface
cells in the skin, sinuses, digestive tract, and vaginal tract create an
extremely potent defensive barrier against microbial invaders. You'll see how
that process works later on.
The bottom line with respect to fat metabolism is that
long-chain fats take longer to digest, and they tend to be stored as that
"stubborn fat" you can't get rid of. Medium-chain fats, on the other
hand, are immediately broken down into fatty acids, and tend to be burned for
Those who combat fatigue on a daily basis may therefore
notice an increase in body temperature (and blood pressure) when they consume
It's the result of the increased metabolic rate as the
medium-chain fatty acids are burned. Since you're more energetic, you feel more
like working and exercising, which burns even more fat.
If are under treatment for hypertension (high blood
pressure), you should use coconut oil sparingly -- and you may want to discuss
it with your doctor first.
The increased endurance and energy levels
that MCFAs provide is the reason that coconut oil is
included in sports snacks.
It's most effective over the long term, however, as
your body's hormones adapt to use the free fatty acids as an energy supply. So
a single serving won't do much good, but a steady supply will do wonders.
Sports drinks often contain medium-chain triglycerides in
the form of MCT. They're effective for generating energy, but they contain only
2 of the 3 medium-chain fats.
The one they're missing is the critical
medium-chain fatty acid for health -- lauric acid. You'll learn more about
lauric acid in a moment. For now, the take-home message is that coconut oil in
a sports drink is vastly superior to MCT.
Burns Stored Fat Too
Replacing other fats with coconut oil means that the rate at
which your body stores fat slows down, because more of your dietary fat is
metabolized for energy.
But beyond that, coconut oil actually increases the
rate at which you burn stored fat, even beyond the extra fat you burn simply
because you exercise more and work harder.
As you grow accustomed to your new energy levels, you'll
tend to eat less sugary and starchy foods, because you don't have as much need
It's not something you'll have to try to do, either. Your body will
make the adaptation naturally. (For an example, see the sidebar, How Your
Appetite Can Change.)
How Your Appetite Can Change
Once upon a time, I fell into the habit of running every day
-- generally for half an hour, often for an hour or more. After two months of
that, I walked into my regular steak house, and I vividly remember passing the
salad bar and salivating at all those luscious red and green vegetables.
walked up to the grill, where the steaks and baked potatoes, previously so
enticing, no held no interest for me at all. The smells weren't even exciting!
I simply could not wait to get through the line and get to the salad bar.
I relate that story, because it showed me in clear detail
how the body's desire for food -- and the foods it has an appetite for --
result from what we're doing and what we're eating.
If we exercise a lot and
eat decent foods, the appetite doesn't just go down, it changes to prefer
things that are healthy.
In my case, my diet hadn't changed during the previous two
months. I had been eating my normal assortment of salads, meat, potatoes, and
cookies, with the occasional vegetable thrown in.
Somehow, my body knew which
of those foods it really needed, and it took control of my taste buds to get
The Standard American Diet (SAD) generally defeats the
body's wisdom, because the nutrients it needs are nowhere to be found. So the
body is just generally hungry for anything and everything it can find, in hopes
of finding the nutrients it needs. When you give it the right stuff, it will
quickly adapt and make it your favorite food.
When you eat less sugar and starch -- especially refined
starch like white flour and white rice -- you'll have less glucose (blood
sugar) in your blood stream.
The brain runs on glucose exclusively (except when
fasting), but the rest of your cells will tend to alter their hormonal balance
to metabolize the additional fatty acids that are arriving for energy, instead
The lack of glucose, in turn, causes fat cells to release
fatty acids instead of storing them.[Guyton, 866] It's
an interesting mechanism. When sugar is present in the blood, fat cells tend to
But when it's absent, fat cells tend to release fat. They're simply
optimizing things in attempt to keep your energy levels constant. The fats are
then burned, in a process known as hydrolysis.
The prefix hydro- means "water". The process
requires water, so be sure to drink plenty of it.
So one interesting and useful effect of replacing other fats
in your diet with coconut oil, over time, is to increase the amount of fat that
is released as result of the lowered glucose levels -- even though your energy
level is still high from the medium chain fatty acids you're burning for
In essence, your body is reacting to the low-sugar state that triggers
it to burn fat, only you aren't experiencing the fatigue and hunger you
normally associate with low blood sugar.
But wait. There's more!
When you've been consuming coconut oil for a while, most of
the fat you've stored only contains 2/3 the energy of long-chain fats, because
you've been storing medium-chain triglycerides.
So whenever your body goes into
fat-burning mode as a result of exercise or waiting to eat, it has to burn 1/3
more stored fat to deliver the same amount of energy! It's like getting 60
minutes of exercise for the price of only 40 -- another great bargain.
The process might take less time, than you think, too. Fat
stores are actually dynamic. Fat doesn't just sit there like a lump. Every day,
your body releases the fatty acids it contains and replaces it with new fatty
acids it receives. So the fat in your body actually turns over every 2-3 weeks![Guyton, 867]
Of course, most of us tend to keep putting on a little more
than we're taking off, but that has a lot more to do with the partially
hydrogenated soybean oils in our diet than it has to
do with saturated fat.
Just eliminating the trans fats
tends to stabilize your weight. But when the majority of your fat comes from
coconut oil, your body will tend to take off more than it puts on.
The process will be slow at first, because most of your
stored fat will probably be of the long-chain variety (and worse, ugly trans fats). But it will speed up over time, as more and
more of your stored fat becomes medium-chain triglycerides.
reported losing 20 lbs. in 6 months without making any other changes in their
diet or exercise regimen.[Fife,
Eat Fat, 9, 147, Miracles, 130-132; Hopzapfel, 40-42]
With a healthy diet and exercise, of course, your changes will come that much
It Doesn't Interfere with Thyroid Function (unlike soybean oil)
The origins of the American obesity epidemic can be traced
to the 1970's when a concerted campaign against "harmful tropical
oils" by the American Soybean Association led to the elimination of
coconut oil in virtually all commercial cooking.[Fife, Miracles, 26-30]
The coconut oil was in the main replaced by partially
hydrogenated oil, which interferes with insulin activity and causes other
health problems, as explained in What's Wrong with Partially Hydrogenated Oils?.
But "partially hydrogenated oil" on a food
label generally means soybean oil, and soybean oil adds an additional problem
of its own -- it inhibits the thyroid's ability to produce the hormones we need
to burn fat, generate energy, and carry on the processes of life.[Fife, Eat Fat, 130-131]
When the thyroid isn't operating properly, your body's
metabolism is lowered, so you store fat instead of burning it. And you don't
want to exercise, because you don't have the energy. So you just naturally gain
Summary of Weight Loss Benefits
To sum it all up, coconut oil reduces your fat calories by a
third, tends to be burned for energy rather than stored as fat, promotes the
metabolism of stored fat, and keeps your thyroid firing on all cylinders. And
since you're more energetic, you tend to exercise more and work harder, so you
burn even more fat.
In a word, coconut oil is dynamite for weight loss. But as
you'll see in the next section, it's dynamite for your general health, as well,
because it blows up microbial invaders!
The Perfect Composition of Fats
Of course, some saturated fat is necessary in the diet. As
it is absorbed in the intestines, it carries the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E,
and K. Without that fat, vitamin deficiency results.
Saturated fats and cholesterol are also built into cell membranes,
strengthening cell walls so they keep their shape. And saturated fat is used by
the liver to construct cholesterol -- to the tune of 1,000 mg per day.
(Sunshine converts cholesterol to Vitamin D, and cholesterol is the first step
in manufacturing testosterone and estrogen). So you
definitely don't want to eliminate saturated fats entirely. If you did, you
would be in a world of hurt.
The long-chain saturated fats that make up 20% of coconut
oil fill meet the body's requirements nicely -- it's enough long-chain
saturated fat to be healthy, but not enough to make you fat.
Myristic acid, a 14-carbon fatty
acid, makes up 18% of coconut oil. According to Mary Enig,
some writers call it a medium-chain saturated fat, while others consider it a
long-chain saturated fat.[Enig,
261] I have included it in the long-chain category, as she does, but it's not
clear why others classify it differently.
The correct classification obviously depends on whether it tends to be absorbed through the portal vein or the
lymph, but so far I haven't found any definitive statement. Given Enig's expertise, one suspects that it must be through the lymph, since she classifies it as a long-chain it fat.
On the other hand, it's interesting to speculate that myristic acid might be an "in-betweener" that can function as either a short-chain fatty acid metabolized for energy, or as a long chain fatty acid. It wouldn't surprise me if that were so, but I have no evidence for that conjecture either.
The remaining 8% of coconut oil is unsaturated fat (6% omega-9 and 2% omega-6), which is useful as well--and it's present in the small amounts you need, rather than in excess.
The fatty acid composition of coconut oil and palm kernel oil is so perfectly suited for human consumption that it's almost as if we evolved in some tropical climate where it was readily available...
Hold on... Come to think of it, we did!
The only thing missing is the small amounts of the
polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids that you need for optimum health. Those
fats come from fish, borage seeds, kukui nuts, and
Of those, the kukui nut (the new state
nut of Hawaii) is worth closer
inspection. It contains 20% omega-9 fatty acids (like olive oil), 42% omega-6
(like sesame oil) and 21% omega-3 (like flax seed).[Analysis] With that much
unsaturated fat, the oil would have to be extracted very carefully and
refrigerated constantly (unless, like sesame oil, it contains anti-oxidation
But for a nut, that sure is one impressive resume. Only small amounts
would be needed to ensure optimum health. And it is indicative, I think, that kukui nuts also grow in the tropics!
The Miracle Energizer and Fatigue Fighter
Coconut oil energizes you for most of the same reasons that
it promotes weight loss. It has even been effective in treating Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome (CFS).[Fife, Miracles,
The increased energy induced by coconut oil occurs for a
variety of reasons:
Coconut oil's MCFAs are converted to energy packets in the liver, and burned for fuel.
Because it provides a richer, longer-lasting source of energy, it relatively easy to reduce or eliminate sugar dependence.
When you remove the sugary snacks and refined flour products from your diet: You eliminate the sudden drops of energy that make you hungry enough to eat a horse and tired enough to go to sleep wherever you're standing.
You burn fat stores more readily, which evens out your metabolism.
You stop using up insulin and minerals like chromium that are needed to process the sugar and starch, so you don't create a deficiency that incapacitates your energy-production systems.
Finally, coconut oil offloads the immune system in ways you'll read about in the next section. Since the immune system needs less fuel, more energy is available for your brain and muscular activity.
The Miracle Medicine
So far, coconut oil keeps you thin, gives you energy, and
you can cook with it. But it gets better. Coconut oil is uniquely effective at
protecting your health, primarily because of its high concentration (48-50%) of
lauric acid. Lauric acid is a very important triglyceride (3-part fat) that
breaks down into monolaurin, which kills bacteria and
Coconut oil also contains caprylic
acid (8%) which kills fungus (for example, athlete's foot fungus) and yeast
(candida, as well as vaginal yeast). One or more of coconut oil's medium chain
fats also kill a wide variety of intestinal parasites.[Fife,
Coconut oil contains other medium chain fatty acids as well,
including capric acid (7%), caproic
acid (0.5%), and the "in-betweener", myristic acid (18%). So far, I haven't seen any discussions
of specific benefits they provide.
But it's likely that they are lethal to some
kind of undesirable microorganism since, as Fife says,
"different fatty acids...are more effective at killing certain kinds of
germs than others."[Fife, Eat Fat, 28]
Because of its composition and high MFCA content, coconut
oil is effective for treating and preventing heart disease,[Fife,
Miracles, 77-87] as well as AIDs, Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, osteoporosis, gallbladder disease, diabetes, liver disease, Crohn's
disease, prostate enlargement, and cancer.[Fife, Miracles, 99-120] That's a lot
of protection for an inexpensive food that until recently was a standard part
of our diet!
Fights Microbes on the Skin and in the Digestive Tract
Monolaurin is created when either
your saliva or the bacteria on your skin break down the 3-part lauric acid
triglyceride into single units, called monolaurin.
The beauty of monolaurin is that it kills microbial
invaders before they even get in the door, so the immune system doesn't spend
all of its time and energy fighting them. Because the immune system only
operates inside the skin, it can be required to do a lot of work to defend
against bacterial and viral invaders that could just as easily have been killed
by monolaurin on the skin and in the sinuses.
Similarly, lauric acid plays a key role in protecting the digestive tract,
which is also outside the skin, topologically speaking.
Besides coconut oil, the only other source of lauric acid is
Lauric acid is critical for infants because it's the only
protection they have until their immune systems develop. When you think about
it, that fact speaks volumes about the power of lauric acid -- it keeps babies
healthy even in the absence of the immune system!
That's why coconut oil is a
critical ingredient in healthy milk formulas. And that's why it is effective at
treating and preventing AIDs.[Enig, 214; Fife, Miracles, 58-59; Holzapfel,
The genetically engineered canola plant (a derivative of the
highly poisonous rapeseed plant) was genetically modified a second time to
create laurate canola, which also contains lauric
You can consider that a source, too, if you want. As for me, I don't buy
genetically engineered canola. The tests show that it consists of less than 1% erucic acid (the highly poisonous oil that makes up 50% of
rapeseed), but less than 1% doesn't necessarily mean 0%. Besides, I don't knowingly
buy from companies that genetically engineer foods. It only encourages them.
Infiltrates Microbial Invaders and Strips Away Defenses
Monolaurin works, not by attacking
an invader directly, but by destroying the invader's "body armor". You see, our skin, sinuses, and digestive
tract "ain't a fit place to live" for a
harmful bacteria or virus.
So they wrap themselves in fatty acids and sneak in
that way -- the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. In this case, the wolf's
cloak is weaved from multiple fatty acid strands.
Because monolaurin is a fatty
acid, it gets weaved in, as well. But monolaurin is
so biologically active that it rapidly dissolves, disintegrating the microbe's
The microbe must use whatever fatty acids happen to be
available to weave it's body armor,
and if monolaurin is in the immediate vicinity, the
microbe has to use whatever is available.
But monolaurin isn't attacking the
microbe directly, the way the immune system does. So the microbe doesn't evolve
a defense. Instead, it's the body's chemical
environment that destroys the invader-- and that's an attack that can't be
defended against.[Fife, Miracles, 101-103] So unlike antibiotics, monolaurin doesn't produce resistant strains.
another reason that monolaurin has proven to be so
effective against AIDs, which proliferates by
continually and rapidly evolving into new, drug-resistant strains.
Also, since monolaurin doesn't
attack bacteria directly, the healthy bacteria we need to create B-vitamins and
perform other functions in the digestive tract are unaffected -- again unlike
antibiotics, which kill all bacteria indiscriminately.
Monolaurin works its magic in two
different ways, depending on whether it is saliva or bacteria that is releasing
In the stomach: After the saliva breaks down lauric acid
into its monolaurin constituents, it sits in the
stomach killing any unfriendly bacteria that reside there -- notably, the heliobacter pyloris virus (aka h. pylori) that is responsible for indigestion and
ulcers. Of course, it doesn't kill any of the friendly bacteria you need in the
On the skin: Triglycerides that get to the outer layer of
cells in the skin, sinuses, digestive tract, and vaginal tract are secreted as
part of the body's natural protective oils.
Those oils are then broken down
into monolaurin by our friendly bacteria. When the
diet contains lauric acid, the result is an extremely effective protective
barrier created by monolaurin.
Coconut oil is also effective for skin conditions like rash,
eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. It can be applied
topically by rubbing it into the skin.
But it is even more effective when
significant quantities are in the diet, because it forms a self-renewing
protective layer as the oils are released throughout the day, forming a
protective barrier that stops microbes dead in their tracks.
Since it is the 8% caprylic acid
in coconut oil that is effective against fungus, stronger solutions used in
conjunction with coconut oil are even more effective on skin conditions like
planter's warts and athlete's foot. [Fife, Miracles, 68]
Rosacea Cure (an ancecdote)
Since I added coconut oil to my diet and using it on my skin
(about two weeks ago) a rosacea problem (red skin on
the face and neck) of more than 15 year's duration has all but entirely cleared
The problem started when I moved to dry climate in California's
San Jose peninsula. So it's
possible that dehydration was the cause. Or maybe it's a fungus. Or a bacteria. No one really knows -- including the
dermatologist I went to cure the problem.
The ointment she gave me seemed
effective where I applied it, but caused it to spread to surrounding areas.
When I spread it even wider to cover clear skin as well, the rosacea simply spread wider and stayed on the edges. When I
returned to her office, I wanted to know what I was up against!
She told me
that they didn't know what caused it, and if the antibiotic ointment she gave
me didn't work, she'd try something stronger and suggest something to take
By that time, I had had enough of that kind of "try it
and see what happens" approach. And I had begun to blame my skin condition
on the cortisone injections and creams that doctors used to give me to
"cure" poison oak and poison ivy -- until I discovered a simple
little soap that takes care of the problem quite nicely -- a soap called tecnu (see Curing Poison Oak and Poison Ivy).
doctors could be so wrong about that, I figured they could be wrong about this,
too -- especially since they didn't even know what caused the problem!
So I said goodbye to the doctor. But it would be years
before I found out about coconut oil's healing properties. But, once I did,
results came quickly. After two weeks, my neck and face are nearly normal. You
have to look closely to see the last remnants of the problem.
And the deep
crevices that had formed to either side of my nose have smoothed over. One is
almost completely gone. The other is half as long and deep as it used to be. In
a word, I've taken another 10 years or so off my appearance.
I'm getting more sun, too. I've noticed that sunlight caused
minor improvements in the past. The coconut helps there, too. It keeps the skin
from drying out and protects against free radical damage, so I can get more
Of course, the problem may never entirely disappear. The
story is that once you have it, it stays forever. There is always the
possibility that it will disappear altogether.
If the problem really is caused
by a fungus or bacteria, and the coconut oil is killing it, then the problem
could well be eradicated completely. Not even the high-priced skin conditioning
regimens on the infomercials can say that -- and coconut oil is a whole lot
less expensive than those remedies.
The fact that coconut oil is so effective is less surprising
when you consider that it is the oils and fats in soap that kills germs![Fife,
Eat Fat, 28] (In the past, though, soaps were made from natural fats that
contained a mixture of fatty acids, so they killed a wider variety of germs.)
Think of coconut oil as basically a particularly effective antibiotic soap
that's secreted from your pores every hour of the day, 24-7.
The one place that coconut oil can't be of much help by
itself is on an open wound, because the skin bacteria that break down the
lauric acid only exist around the edges.
Garlic oil kills pretty much
everything, so a mixture of garlic oil and coconut oil has been used for
ointment. [Fife, Miracles, 148]
Garlic oil on an open wound by itself would be pretty painful, so perhaps the
coconut oil makes the ointment more soothing.
It still sounds pretty painful,
though. A kinder, gentler approach might be to forgo the garlic oil and mix the
coconut oil with saliva, since the saliva breaks down the lauric acid to activate
coconut oil's antiseptic properties. Adding garlic oil would the solution for
those who find that approach distasteful.
Since I've begun consuming coconut oil and using it on my
skin (without garlic), I've noticed that those little sores that never seemed
to heal are not only healing faster, they're healing with no scab.
interesting, because my body has basically been a scab factory for years --
little cuts would scab over and take forever heal, if for no other reason than
the fact that the dry scab always itched like crazy, and I was forever picking
it off. (Cuts didn't seem to take any less to time heal even when I left them
When a scab has already formed, the coconut oil seems to
soften it and prevent it from itching. When it's ready to come off, it flakes
off instead of peeling away in a single sheet that tears the skin at the edges.
When it's gone, there is slight depression showing bright, pink skin instead of
a scab. The skin then closes over it more quickly than I've ever experienced
Replaces Most of the Medicine Cabinet
Coconut oil can effectively replace most of your medicine
cabinet! In particular, it can replace these:
Acne Cream: see Skin Cream.
Antacids: Coconut oil kills the bacteria that cause ulcers and gas, but it's mostly a long-term remedy. (DGL is good for short-term relief. See Dealing With Anxiety Attacks.)
Antiseptic Cream: Combine with crushed garlic or saliva for a powerful antiseptic.
Anti-fungal Cream for athlete's foot and jock itch: Coconut oil is anti-fungal. Combined with crushed garlic, it's even effective against planter's warts (apply liberally and cover the feet with cotton socks).
Anti-Dandruff Medication: Rub in coconut oil to keep scalp healthy.
Body Lotion: see Skin Cream.
Eczema Cream: see Skin Cream.
Hair Conditioner: For healthy skin and hair, Put some on your fingertips and massage into your scalp after showering.
Hair Spray: see Styling Gel.
Hand Lotion: see Skin Cream.
Hemorrhoid Cream: Softens and soothes.
Jock Itch Powder: Coconut oil is anti-fungal.
KY Jelly: Coconut oil works well as a natural lubricant.
Lip Balm: Moisturizes the lips, and it's healthy.
Massage Oil: Coconut oil is great. And healthy, too.
Mouthwash: Put a little in your mouth and swish it around. The oil promotes the production of saliva, which is a bacteria fighter by itself. The saliva activates the coconut oil, which pretty much annihilates the bacteria that cause bad breath, plaque, and gingivitis. Do when you eat, and after flossing. Goodbye bleeding gums! Swallow the solution, instead of spitting it out, to deliver the coconut oil to your stomach and intestines. (Sea salt also kills bacteria and gives your body the trace minerals it needs for optimum function -- but a mixture of the two doesn't taste very good. I prefer to use them separately.)
Psoriasis Cream: see Skin Cream.
Skin Cream: Rub it into the skin to combat acne, eczema, roscea, psoriasis, itchy skin, and other skin problems. More importantly, take a tablespoon 3 times a day to combat those problems from the inside.
Skin Moisturizer: Rub it in after a shower to keep skin soft and smooth. For ultra-soft hands, apply liberally and cover with cotton gloves.
Styling Gel: Coconut oil works well on short hair, even on warm days. That's a bit surprising, but it means that working in some coconut oil after a shower styles your coif while at the same time preventing snowflakes.
Suntan Lotion: Coconut oil is an antioxidant, as well as a skin moisturizer. Use it for protection, and increase exposure gradually, instead of all at once. Result: One great tan, and increased vitamin D and energy from the sunlight.
Sunburn Ointment: Soothes, protects, and heals. (Aloe works great, too, and may be somewhat better at removing the sting. A mixture of coconut oil and aloe would probably work wonders. (Note: Kukui Nut oil has also been recommended by a Hawaiian friend. If you try it, get the straight oil, rather than a lotion which contains some of it. I haven't had a chance to try it, yet, but I do note that the ads say it is an unsaturated oil, so it may be necessary to refrigerate it to store it.)
Vaginal Cream: Coconut oil kills yeast infections.
Vaseline: Coconut oil works as well or better, most of the time.
Other Possible Medicinal Uses
These are a few interesting possibilities that need further
Anti-Itch Cream for Mosquito Bites: Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory, so it's possible it would bring some relief from mosquito bites and other bug bites as it promotes healing.
Healing Balm: Since it's anti-inflammatory, coconut oil might be useful as a salve to speed healing of bruises, strains, and sore muscles. Generally, I've used MSM lotion for that purpose. (I've found it to be effective for carpal tunnel and sore muscles.) But coconut oil may be worth a try.
Mosquito repellent: Recently I was at a park at sunset. The people around me were talking about mosquitoes, but I never noticed any. It could be that the coconut oil I've been consuming and using on my skin gave me protection.
Poison Oak/Poison Ivy After-Effect Lotion: I say after effect, because a wonder-soap called tecnu is the only effective treatment I've ever found to remove the plant oil (urishol) that creates the skin problems. For more information, see Curing Poison Oak and Poison Ivy.) But coconut oil might alleviate the minor itching that remains after using tecnu. An even more interesting question for research is how coconut oil interacts with urishol. Very young children frequently don't react to poison oak, and some people never do. It is entirely possible that medium chain fatty acids on the skin are responsible for providing the protection. It seems plausible that taking coconut oil internally or applying it externally before coming into contact with the plant sap could provide some protection. Whether it would be of any help after coming into contact with the sap is another question. All of this is speculation, though, so I wouldn't go waltzing through a field of poison oak, just yet -- at least, not without stocking up on tecnu first.
Shaving Cream: I'm on the lookout for a good coconut soap or body wash. And an old-time shaving brush. As long as I shaving, I might as well work up a good lather and put something healthy on the skin.
Finding Coconut Oil and Adding it to Your Diet
About 3.5 tablespoons of coconut oil per day is
recommended for good health [which is the maintenance dose; therapeutic dose is 5.5 tablespoons]. I get it at the natural foods store, where my
favorite brand, Garden of Life
(www.gardenoflifeusa.com) comes in a medium-size black canister with a label
that clearly states: "No trans fats....contains
NO HYDROGENATED OILS and is not Refined, Bleached, or Deodorized."
a very mild, delicate hint of coconut, but not much. (Personally, I wish it had
a stronger flavor. It doesn't taste enough like
coconut for me. But then, my sense of smell isn't all that great, so maybe I'm
just less sensitive it.)
Coconut oil is stable at room temperature and keeps 2 years without refrigeration. That makes them ideal for use when traveling or when refrigeration isn't available (like nuts).
Consuming Coconut Oil
The best way to get the recommended amount is to take a tablespoon with every meal, because it gives you an energy lift that makes coffee unnecessary! (Especially if you use sea salt, which adds the trace minerals you need to keep your metabolism running well -- minerals which are missing in many of our foods.)
The simplest way to take coconut oil is to replace dairy products with it in your diet:
When cooking or baking, use coconut oil whenever the recipe
calls for butter, margarine, or shortening.
Sweetened coconut milk is great for cereal.
Recipe: One 14% can of coconut milk, 1/2 can of water, 2
tablespoons of honey, pinch of sea salt. Mix at room temperature and chill.[Fife, Miracles, 157]
Use unsweetened coconut milk when a recipe calls for milk, as
in soups and sauces.
Use coconut oil as a dairy substitute in coffee-substitute
or herbal tea, where it produces a rich, creamy taste. (If you haven't kicked
the caffeine habit yet, use it in your regular coffee or tea.)
The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil, and Coconut Oil for Health and Beauty books (listed below) contain a collection of great recipes. Dr. Fife also recommends mixing coconut oil with raw milk, cream, fruit smoothie, vegetable juice, cottage cheese, or yogurt.[Fife,
Eat Fat, 211]
These books are listed in suggested reading order. They're
available at Amazon.com.
Coconut Oil for Health and Beauty. Healthy Living Publications, 2003. A short, quick read that includes a wonderful introduction to the science of fats and explains the health benefits of coconut oil.
The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil. Piccadilly Books, 2003. Like Coconut Oil for Health and Beauty, this slim volume contains a wealth of information on coconut oil and how it works to keep you thin, energetic, healthy, and good looking.
HealthWise, 02. A nicely written book that tells how to get thin happily, with nourishing, satisfying foods that taste good. But it has a wealth of other information besides, including the truth about cholesterol and a history of how natural fats came to be replaced by petroleum derivatives, as well as valuable
information on coconut oil that didn't make it into Miracles.
Detox. HealthWise, 2001. The best discussion I've seen of the techniques and methods for removing the poisons
that have accumulated in the body, sprinkled with inspiring stories of people who have overcome major health problems like cancer and heart disease by changing their diet and cleaning their insides.
Enig. Know Your Fats. Bethesda Press, 2000. An essential introduction to the science of fatty acids. A readable reference guide to that describes the types of fats, their sources, and their metabolism.
Textbook of Medical Physiology. W B Saunders, 10th edition 2000. A large, expensive, but wonderfully readable textbook that explains how your body works.