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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Wonders of Coconut Oil

I have always been amazed at how the coconut oil has emerged from being a not-so-popular vegetable oil (as it has been aliased to hide its being derived from coconut) to a wonder oil at par with that of olive oil that can be used for the body both externally and internally. As a young girl I had used this oil for my hot oil treatments which my mom said could actually help in reducing the chance of falling hair. We had our maids extract the milk from mature coconuts by cold press but had them cook it till the oil and the curd separated. Heat, I recently found out from reading, attending seminars and internet research, destroys the coconut's medicinal properties and is no longer beneficial as it is claimed to be reducing it to an oil that can only be used for cooking.

Virgin coconut oil has recently been found to be good for arthritis, heart ailments, skin diseases, cancer, AIDS, dandruff. It can make your skin become smooth and supple and can be used as treatment for dry hair. (There are more claims but there wouldn't be enough space in this blog and I won't have the time to list them down.)Personally, I have experienced that my skin which has been forever dry has drastically improved after only 4 applications. So did my hair - it used to be dry, lifeless and kinky. Now it is softer and manageable with the right amount of shine that does not make the strands look like they had been glued together. I even used it when I was going down with a cold and the cold just went away after a few hours. It has so far helped me with my arthritis and gout as well. My whole family now uses it for different purposes but mostly for the skin and hair.

After some experiment, I found out that virgin coconut oil can actually be extracted by just mere squeezing the milk out of freshly grated coconuts and leaving it to curdle for about 48 hours. The curd is scooped out and the oil which is found underneath the curd is very gently and slowly scooped out using a plastic spoon just until I can scoop it without the liquid below it being mixed with the oil. My second try was not as good as the first. I had not been able to get as much oil as the first trial because I had refrigerated the grated coconut first before I extracted the milk. but this time I noticed that its smell was not as strong as the first one I had made. It has been said that the real virgin coconut oil is colorless, tasteless and odorless. So far I have passed two of the 3 tests although the odor is really not that strong and is actually tolerable.

But of course for people who don't have the time nor the patience to do the extracting, there is always the virgin coconut oil (VCO) sold in the market. One that we have bought lately is that of Theraherb which is being endorsed by Dr. Gary Sy. This particular VCO is langka (jackfruit) flavored. It costs around 150 pesos for a bottle of 250 ml. Not bad. After all it had cost me about 45 pesos for 350 ml oil that I had extracted. If I had to sell it, the 105 difference is actually the cost of the bottle and payment for my labor (although of course I wouldn't have to pay my self for it). But since I didn't sell it, this is actually my savings.

Being a student nurse, we are scheduled to go on our immersion in one of the provinces in Luzon next week. One of the activities is to actually be able to encourage people to be able to boost their family's income. Since there are many coconut trees in the area, I'm thinking of teaching the community about this experiment. It could be worth the shot.

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