Coconut Oil Overview by the Mayo Clinic
Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm. The oil of the nut (fruit) is used to make medicine.
Some coconut oil products are referred to as “virgin” coconut oil. Unlike olive oil, there is no industry standard for the meaning of “virgin” coconut oil. The term has come to mean that the oil is generally unprocessed. For example, virgin coconut oil usually has not been bleached, deodorized, or refined.
Some coconut oil products claim to be “cold pressed” coconut oil. This generally means that a mechanical method of pressing out the oil is used, but without the use of any outside heat source. The high pressure needed to press out the oil generates some heat naturally, but the temperature is controlled so that temperatures do not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Coconut oil is used for diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue, Crohn's disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid conditions, lack of energy, and boosting the immune system. Ironically, despite coconut oil’s high calorie and saturated fat content, some people use it to lose weight and lower cholesterol.
Coconut oil is sometimes applied to the skin as a moisturizer and to treat a skin condition called psoriasis. When applied to the skin, coconut oil has a moisturizing effect.
How does it work?
Coconut oil is high in a saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides. These fats work differently than other types of saturated fat in the body.
Coconut Oil Uses and Effectiveness by WebMD
1. Psoriasis. Applying coconut oil to the skin before treatment of psoriasis with ultraviolet B (UVB) or psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA) light therapy doesn't seem to improve effectiveness of the treatment.
2. Obesity. Some developing research shows that taking 10 mL of coconut oil three times a day may reduce waist size after 1-6 weeks of use.
3. High cholesterol. Some research suggests that dietary use of coconut oil is linked to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol, but does not increase levels of “bad” cholesterol.
4. Head lice. Developing research shows that a spray containing coconut oil, anise oil, and ylang ylang oil appears to be effective for treating head lice in children. It seems to work about as well as a spray containing chemical insecticides.
5. Other conditions coconut oil may improve:
Irritable bowel syndrome.