Coconut oil is a common cooking oil and ingredient in foods such as canned whipped cream and nondairy creamers. Outside of the kitchen, however, it has many other uses, several involving external application to the skin, hair and other tissues. According to coconut-connections.com, there are misconceptions as to whether all coconuts are naturally organic. To make sure you're buying truly organic coconut oil, check the label to ensure that it is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Naturopathic medicine promotes a holistic approach to health with minimal use of surgeries and drugs. Please consult your physician before attempting naturopathic remedies at home.
According to Carol Alt's "The Raw 50: 10 Amazing Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks and Drinks for Your Raw Food Lifestyle," raw, unhydrogenated coconut oil can help clear up acne-blemished skin and speed up the healing process for aggravated pimples. Bodybuilding.com, which recommends coconut oil as a nutritionally dense source of easily-digestible saturated fat, also notes its ability to treat acne, minimize the appearance of acne scars and benefit color and tone. Coconut oil may be an especially effective treatment for those whose acne is caused or made worse by dry skin. A 2004 clinical study conducted at the Makati Medical Center in the Philippines and published in the American Contact Dermatitis Society's journal found that coconut oil is an effective treatment for xerosis, a chronic dry skin condition. The conclusions state that it is safe to use as a topical moisturizer.
Siegfried Gursche's "Coconut Oil: Discover the Key to Vibrant Health" states that coconut oil is safe and effective as a personal lubricant for sexual intercourse. The People's Pharmacy specifically recommends it as a lubricant for women experiencing vaginal dryness, and notes that its natural antibacterial and antiviral properties can help maintain vaginal health. However, since coconut oil and all oil-based lubricants can weaken latex condoms and cause them to break, this is not an appropriate sexual lubricant in situations that call for the use of latex condoms, diaphragms or other sexual aids.
Head Lice Remedy
PeaceHealth recommends coconut oil as a natural treatment for eliminating head lice. Harald Tietze's "Coconut: Rediscovered as Medicinal Food" states that this is a centuries-old treatment in India. It also serves as an organic alternative to over-the-counter head lice treatments that frequently contain insecticides, which may adversely affect the immune, nervous and endocrine systems. His book suggests smearing lice-infested hair with coconut oil and covering it with a shower cap for three hours, then combing the hair thoroughly with a coconut oil-dipped comb. Wash and shampoo the hair thoroughly, preferably more than once, to fully rinse away the oil.
- "The Raw 50: 10 Amazing Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Drinks for Your Raw Food Lifestyle"; Carol Alt, David Roth; 2007
- Bodybuilding.com: Coconut Oil
- National Institutes of Health: A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis
- The People's Pharmacy: Coconut Oil for Personal Lubrication
- ckellyphoto/iStock/Getty Images