Hawaii is famous for the production of its delicious fruits (such as bananas, mangoes, lychee), produce (veggies, herbs) and flowers (plumeria and hibiscus). Most of which have many versatile uses (leis, oils or in cuisine). But which iconic fruit has been getting a lot more attention lately? Our delicious friend, the coconut.
Have you ever heard the tale regarding how World War II soldiers were given coconut water intravenously when saline solution was in short supply? Because, according to myth, coconut water has similar genetic makeup to our own human blood plasma. Could that be true?
Research shows that while coconut water is not your best bet for intravenous alternatives, it does have many helpful properties, such as keeping people hydrated. Lately, you’ve probably seen coconut products popping up everywhere. From Coconut Hydration Margaritas, coconut milk and coconut cream to roasted coconut chips and coconut oil – its popularity has sky rocketed. Let’s take a deeper look at the versatility of coconut oil.
Much like other oils that have a long list of uses (such as our namesake, the Kukui Nut), coconut oil offers a myriad of daily uses for the body, around the house and in the diet.
Body lotion – Use as a base for your own homemade body moisturizer. Coconut oil is famous for helping with stretch-marks, scars, and under eye circles. It can also be used to remove make up, as a lip balm and a massage oil. To personalize it even further mix in essential oils like peppermint and lavender.
Breath freshener & teeth whitening – The oil itself has anti fungal and antibacterial properties. “Oil pulling” (swishing around in your mouth) for 20 minutes with a spoonful can not only lead to fresher breath but incredibly white teeth. To create your own toothpaste simply mix 6 tablespoons baking soda, 6 tablespoons coconut oil and 25 drops peppermint essential oil. Store in glass container (with lid) and use as you would any other toothpaste.
Cold sores, rashes, bug bites, minor burns – Simply apply to affected areas and allow to soak in for healing benefits, cooling pain relief and preventing peeling and blistering.
Leave-in conditioner – Apply a small amount from the roots out and leave-in over night with a shower cap. Rinse out in the morning for exceptionally silky hair.
Stain remover & shower cleaner– Mix with baking soda to loosen stains on carpet. This same mixture also works as the previously mentioned whitening toothpaste and can also be used as a deodorant.
Season cast iron pans – Preheat the oven to 325°F. Wash the skillet with warm, soapy water and a sponge or stiff brush. Rinse and thoroughly dry. Using a cloth or paper towel, apply a thin coat of coconut oil to the inside and outside of the skillet. Place the skillet upside down on the oven’s center rack (make sure there’s a sheet of aluminum foil beneath to catch any drips). Bake for an hour and a then allow skillet to cool completely before removing from the oven. Ta-da! A freshly seasoned skillet.
Polish patent leather – Simply rub on as you would any other polish to bring out the ultimate shine on your patent leather shoes, belts and purses.
Removing gum – Much like peanut butter, coconut oil is effective in removing chewing gum from hair. Apply and let sit for a few minutes before slowly sliding the gum out. A much better experience than when we were kids!
Coconut oil has been found very useful in aiding with weight loss, digestion and strengthening the immune system. The oil contains short and medium-chain fatty acids, which help with excessive weight, thyroid function and how the body processes stress. (organicfacts.net)
Who would have guessed that so many versatile uses could have been derived from one of Hawaii’s oldest and most celebrated cuisine staples? It is certainly one of Mother Nature’s most useful resources, which makes us even luckier to call Kauai home.
Have you used coconut oil before? Do you have any hidden tricks or recipes? We’d love to hear!