The humble coconut is hailed as the “Kalpavriksha” in the ancient Sanskrit texts of Ayurveda. This translates as “the tree that provides everything necessary for life”. Ayurveda is one of the oldest ancient Vedic Sciences that is popular even today. It is a healing science that focuses on nature and natural products for the treatment of various physical and emotional ailments. The practice is still very common in South India, where there are several Ayurvedic medical centres that offer treatments for a range of problems. The coconut, and more importantly, coconut oil, has profound significance in this medical science.
Coconut oil, which is extracted from the ripened fruit, is an aromatic oil that is rich in natural goodness. When combined with other herbs and ingredients, it offers even greater medical benefits. In it’s pure nature, coconut oil is light and soothing for the skin and body. It moisturizes and cools and is an ideal oil for body and head massages. In Ayurvedic treatments, coconut oil is used both externally and internally. The ancient Ayurveda text called the Sushruta Samhita elaborates on the uses for coconut oil. It is effective in cooling the body and reduces the heat in the skin. The oil can be used to treat skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis, in combination with other herbs.
To determine treatment, Ayurveda categorizes people into three body constitutions-Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Depending on the category that a person falls into, they are expected to stick to a specific diet and avoid certain foods in order to remain healthy. Coconut oil is the one product that can be used by all three groups, without any concerns.
Coconut oil forms the base for several Ayurvedic medicines. Many orthopedic problems such as back pain, poor posture, neck and shoulder pain etc are effectively relieved through oil massages. These are performed using medicated oils that are prepared by a good practitioner. The duration of massage and interval at which it is to be performed is based on the severity of the condition. Ayurveda also has remedies for hair and skin problems based on coconut oil. The oil is often infused with herbs and specifically prepared as per instructions provided in ancient texts. Coconut oil is infused with hibiscus, basil, camphor, aloe vera and similar organic products in specific proportions to create rich herbal hair oils that promote luxurious hair growth. Hair massage using coconut oil is very relaxing and soothes the nervous system and cools the entire body.
Coconut oil is also used in the Ayurvedic treatment of respiratory conditions. In these treatments, it is often consumed orally with medicinal herbs. Every household in the South Indian state of Kerala uses coconut oil on a daily basis, either as an Ayurvedic medicine, for cooking or for hair and skin care. It is even used to massage new born babies as it is a pure product that contains no harmful ingredients.
Ayurveda has remedies for every disease. It has a history that spans centuries and is pure and natural medicine.With rich ingredients like coconut oil and herbs forming the base, you can be assured of it’s effectiveness!