The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae. It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut.
Coconut has been traditionally used in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha systems of medicine as detailed below:-
(i) Ayurveda – Coconut has been used as medicine in Ayurveda in disease conditions such as Burning, Pain, excess thirst, dehydration, bleeding disorders, Acid Peptic etc.
(ii) Unani – Use of coconut is recommended in diseases such as Alopecia, Hair loss, Premature Greying of Hair, Bronchitis, Dandruff, Excessive Thirst, Fevers, General Debility. Coconut Fruit pulp is used as appetizer, astringent, cooling, diuretic, laxative, nourishing and tonic. Coconut oil is used as hair tonic, appetizer, digestive, disinfectant, insecticidal and nutritive.
(iii) Siddha – Tender coconut, leaf, Tender leaf, Infloresesence, Root, coconut Shell, Nut and Milk are used in Siddha for diseases such as Psoriasis and eczema etc.
Central Council for Research in Siddha has indicated that Clinical research trials on coconut/coconut oil have been conducted in Siddha system. Coconut oil is used in preparation of 777 oil and Karappan oil which are beneficial in treatment of skin disorders such as Psoriasis and eczema respectively.
Further, in a recent study carried out by National Institute of Nutrition of Indian Council of Medical Research, no adverse effects were observed due to consumption of coconut oil at moderate levels. There was an increasing trend in plasma HDL – cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels, due to consumption of coconut oil as against groundnut oil consumption in over weight subjects.