Coconut oil is used in India, Thailand and across the globe to create delicious soups, curries and stews. It has received some bad press in recent years because of its saturated fat content. Camphor has been used traditionally as a decongestant, muscle rub and for religious purposes.
Lavender, coriander and hyssop contain camphor, which is a main ingredient of many over-the-counter muscle rubs and joint pain medications. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found an herbal ointment containing camphor to be an effective way to treat muscle pain. More research is needed, but in the future, camphor may be offered routinely as a first-line treatment, before analgesics.
Camphor poisoning can occur after the ingestion, inhalation or even excessive topical application of camphor contacting products. A 2009 study published in Pediatrics identified three cases of camphor-induced seizures in young children. The American Association of Poison Control Centers warn of the need to go straight to emergency services if you or someone you know has ingested camphor or camphor-containing products such as pesticides or muscle rubs.
Topical Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is traditionally used by Indian women to make their hair shiny and skin soft. But it is also thought to have healing properties, and a 2010 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Biophysical Research found virgin coconut oil to be effective in the treatment of excision wounds in young rats. Scientists say this is because of several biologically active minor components available in virgin coconut oil.
Dietary Coconut Oil
In 2006, scientists writing in the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism found virgin coconut oil to be comparative to sunflower oil in terms of health. Rats fed coconut oil had reduced cholesterol levels, and were at no extra risk from blood clots. A 2009 study found coconut oil supplements to be helpful in reducing abdominal obesity in women.
Culinary Coconut Oil
Try steaming wedges of eggplant, then fry in coconut oil until golden. Add coconut oil to smoothies, but be careful not to use too much. Coconut oil can be overpowering, and a few drops go a long way. For a delicious treat, mix a cup coconut oil with a cup honey, a cup cocoa powder and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth then pour into a flat-bottomed dish and refrigerate until hard. Cut your fudge into bite-size pieces.
- Dexailo/iStock/Getty Images