Health Articles

1001 Uses for Coconut Oil

It is said that there are a thousand uses for the coconut palm. Asian and Pacific Islanders use it for a multitude of purposes from building materials and clothing to food and medicine. Of all the products from the coconut palm the fruit—the coconut—is the most valuable. From the coconut you can get meat, milk, oil, water, and vinegar. Of these, coconut oil is the most versatile. In fact, it is the most useful and versatile of all the fats and oils.

Coconut oil and its components (fatty acids) are used in cooking and food preparation, infant formulas, enteral (tube feeding) and parenteral (intravenous) nutritional formulas for hospital patients, as carriers for transdermal delivery of medication, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral medications, skin creams and lotions, sunscreens, cosmetics, toothpastes, soaps and detergents, lubricants, biofuels, and numerous other pharmaceutical and industrial applications. In fact, there are literally thousands of uses for the oil.

I thought it might be interesting to identify some of the many uses and compiled the following list. Not all possible uses are included, as new uses are being discovered all the time, particularly in medicine, and there are some uses I am not yet aware of. I’ve limited entries to documented medical, nutritional, industrial, historical and common uses for coconut oil. If you know of other uses for coconut oil, feel free to let me know so I can add it to this list.

I haven’t actually counted every item listed below. The list could easily swell to over 1001 items if every medical application were included. For example, coconut oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties and could be useful in treating hundreds of health conditions associated with inflammation. I’ve only listed those that have been documented.

Food

  • Flavoring
  • Texture
  • Prevent sticking
  • Cooking/frying oil
  • Can use in place of margarine, shortening, and vegetable oils in food preparation
  • Preservative (prevent oxidation/rancidity and bacterial and fungal contamination
  • Extend shelf life of foods
  • Season cookware
  • Source of healthy fat
  • Can help balance essential fatty acid  consumption
  • Egg preserver

Nutrition/Health

  • Nutritional supplement
  • Improve digestive health/function
  • Improve absorption of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fat soluble phytonutrients)
  • Prevent vitamin/mineral deficiencies (enhances nutritional value of the foods)
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Enhance fetal growth and brain development
  • Improve lactation and milk quality
  • Acts as a protective antioxidant
  • Provide a quick and easy source of nutrition
  • Prevent/treat malnutrition (better than other oils)
  • Fortify infant formula
  • Fortify hospital feeding formulas
  • Enrich breast milk (nursing mother consumes the oil)
  • Help to keep blood sugars in balance (good for diabetics)
  • Moderates glucose release into bloodstream
  • Improves insulin secretion
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Weight management
  • Reduces steatorrhea (improves fat indigestion)
  • Helps heal damage caused by celiac disease, improving nutrient absorption
  • Helps improve absorption of nutrients after partial surgical removal of the stomach or intestine
  • Used in parenteral nutrition (delivered by IV to prevent muscle breakdown in critically ill patients)
  • Used in enteral nutrition (nutrients delivered to patients by tube feeding)
  • Control sugar cravings
  • Improve body’s utilization of EFAs (reduces the requirement for EFAs)
  • Quickly and easily absorbed by cells and converted into energy.
  • Reduces stress on pancreas (coconut oil reduces need for pancreatic enzymes and hormones)

Medicine

Coconut Oil Can Aid in the Following:

  • Heart function
  • Liver function
  • Gallbladder function
  • Kidney function
  • Pancreas function
  • Intestine function
  • Brain function
  • Immune function
  • Thyroid function
  • Prostate health
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Improves sperm motility and fertility
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Protect against cancer
  • Protect against seizures
  • Increase HDL cholesterol values (the good cholesterol)
  • Improve (lower) cholesterol ratio
  • Improve lipoprotein (a)/Lp(a) levels
  • Reduce atherosclerosis
  • Reduce risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Protect against heart failure
  • Protect against diabetes
  • Protect against metabolic syndrome (abdominal obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, impaired fasting glucose)
  • Improve energy
  • Boost metabolism
  • Prevent catabolism/breakdown of muscle protein during fasting, dieting, or heavy exercise

Helps Prevent and Treat Bacterial Infections

  • Peptic ulcers
  • Boils
  • Staph infections (including MRSA)
  • Gingivitis and periodontal disease
  • Dental cavities (see the article on coconut oil and dental cavities below)
  • Fistulas
  • Ear infections
  • Eye infections (conjunctivitis)
  • Throat infections
  • Gonorrhea
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Tetanus
  • Food poisoning
  • Sinus infections
  • Bed sores
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Bladder infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Meningitis
  • Anthrax
  • Parrot fever
  • Spirochetes (Lyme disease, syphilis, etc.)
  • Gangrene
  • Endocarditis
  • Lynphogranuloma venereum
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Mastitis
  • Swimmer’s ear

Helps Prevent and Treat Fungi/Yeast Infections

  • Ringworm
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Jock Itch
  • Toenail fungus
  • Candidiasis
  • Yeast Infections
  • Thrush
  • Diaper rash
  • Ear fungus/itchy ear

Helps Prevent and Treat Viral Infections

  • Influenza
  • Intestinal infections/diarrhea
  • Measles
  • Herpes (fever blister/cold sore)
  • Mononucleosis
  • Hepatitis C
  • Epstein-Barr
  • Leukemia virus
  • Pneumonovirus
  • Coxsackie virus
  • Visna virus
  • Vesicular stomatitis virus
  • Human lymphotropic virus
  • Syncytial virus
  • Sarcoma virus
  • SARS coronavirus
  • Parainfluenza virus type 2
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Chicken pox
  • Shingles

Helps Prevent and Treat Parasitic Infections

  • Giardia
  • Protozoa
  • Lice
  • Scabies
  • Intestinal worms (tapeworms, pinworms, etc.)

Helps Prevent and Treat Neurological Disorders

  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s
  • Dementia (vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, etc)
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Huntington’s
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Strokes
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Narcolepsy
  • Schizophrenia
  • Insomnia
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Down syndrome
  • Infantile spasms
  • Migraine headaches
  • Depression
  • Brain fog
  • Hypoxia

Speeds Healing from Trauma/Injury

  • Shortens recovery time after surgery
  • Circumcision
  • Laceration, road rash
  • Cuts
  • Burns/sunburns
  • Bruises
  • Bee and wasp stings
  • Spider, sand fly, ant, and other insect bites
  • Blister
  • Poison Ivy or oak
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Acute poisoning (antidote for numerous environmental, industrial, and biological toxins)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sooths and speeds healing of tattoos
  • Helps stop bleeding
  • Reduces pain (analgesic)
  • Reduces fever (antipyretic)
  • Anti-inflammatory

Helps Ease Digestive and Malabsorption Disorders

  • Whipple’s disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Muscular carnitine deficiency
  • Lipoprotein lipase deficiency/Congenital beta-lipoprotein deficiency
  • Abnormalities of protein metabolism
  • Malabsorption syndrome
  • Primary intestinal lymphangiectasia (Waldmann’s Disease)
  • Cholelithiasis (gallstone disease)
  • Gluten enteropathy
  • Blind-loop syndrome
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Type V hyperlipoproteinemia
  • Biliary atresia, obstructive jaundice
  • Enteritis
  • Chyluria (milky urine)
  • Chylothorax
  • Chylous ascites
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Pancreatectomy (surgical removal of the pancreas)
  • Cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder)
  • Balance intestinal flora
  • Gastrointestnal ulcers

Useful for the Treatment of Chronic and Genetic Conditions

  • Allergies
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Prevent/treat neuropathy (restore nerve function)
  • Prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia)
  • Mast-cell deficiency
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis, Osteomalacia, Rickets
  • Low thyroid function
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Altitude sickness
  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Retinopathy
  • Nephropathy
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Protects the liver from the effects of alcohol and drug abuse and infection
  • Keratosis pilaris

Other

  • Reduce side effects of conventional cancer treatments (chemotherapy/radiation therapy)
  • Carrier for medications
  • Drug preservative
  • Improve lipid-based drugs solubility in water
  • Remove ear wax
  • Eye wash

Veterinary Medicine

All the health benefits mentioned for humans also applies to animals. Many pet owners give their pets coconut oil to improve their health. People are using coconut oil to successfully treat animals with a wide variety of health issues such as diabetes, cancer, infections, skin diseases, and more. Some conditions associated with animals include:

  • Bad breath (doggy breath)
  • Body odor
  • Improve shine on coat
  • Prevent birds from picking skin and feathers
  • Expel or kill intestinal parasites
  • Flea, tick, and mite repellent
  • Clear up hot spots
  • Use a an udder balm for goats, cows, and other animals

Body Care

  • Soften and sooth dry, scaly, itchy skin
  • Emollient
  • Exfoliant
  • Prevent wrinkles
  • Prevent/lighten aging (liver) spots
  • Makeup remover
  • Sooth chapped lips
  • Moisturizer
  • Deodorant
  • Eye cream
  • Protect against UV radiation/sunscreen lotion
  • Suntan lotion (protects against burning while giving a light tan)
  • Prevent premature aging of skin
  • Sooth itchy skin
  • Soften cracked, callused heels
  • Massage oil
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpaste
  • Prevent/treat bad breath
  • Prevent/treat dandruff
  • Prevent/treat cradle cap
  • Clear acne
  • Dissolve and remove ear wax
  • Remove Warts/moles
  • Prevent skin infections
  • Speed healing of wounds
  • Stop bleeding of wounds
  • Eases pain and inflammation caused by insect bites
  • Nipple cream when nursing
  • Treat diaper rash
  • Head lice
  • Hives
  • Insect repellent (see side bar)
  • Eczema/psoriasis/dermatitis
  • Aftershave lotion
  • Hair conditioner
  • Hair styling agent (apply a small amount to hair for a healthy, glossy look)
  • Dental care/toothpaste/mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Massage oil
  • Personal Lubricant
  • Stretch mark cream
  • Scare remover ( see side bar)
  • Skin conditioner—balances skin pH, apply after bathing
  • Genital warts

Industrial

  • Soap (highest quality, naturally disinfectant, antimicrobial, lathers up even in salt water)
  • Shampoo
  • Biofuel/biodiesel
  • Jet fuel (see Boeing 747 article below)
  • Lamp fuel
  • Engine lubricant/motor oil (see Coconut Motor Oil article below)
  • Hydraulic press fluid
  • Leather softener
  • Condition wood cutting boards
  • Wood polish
  • Bronze polish
  • Lubricant (hinges, machinery, etc.)
  • Degreasing agent for machinery
  • Rust inhibitor
  • Hand degreaser ( see side bar)
  • Dissolve grease under fingernails
  • Chewing gum remover (can dissolve gum stuck in hair, carpet, clothing, or shoe)
  • Useful in removing makeup and lipstick from clothing and carpeting
  • Detergent
  • Remove labels from bottles (acts and an adhesive solvent)
  • Environmentally friendly fabrication of silver and gold nanoparticles for use in nanotechnology (See Acne Treatment with Nano-Bomb article below)
  • Provides basic material for producing oleochemicals used in making hundreds of products such as detergents, solvents, plastics, grease, resins, lubricants, etc.)