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Different Uses for a Coconut

Updated on August 5, 2016

Coconut Bird Feeder

Different uses of a Coconut.
Different uses of a Coconut. | Source

The Tree of Life

The coconut has got to be the most versatile fruit used. Grown on the Palm Tree, every part of the coconut and the tree has virtually got a use and has been used by different countries in different ways. Known as “The Tree of Life” in The Philippines and “The tree of a 1,000 uses” in the Malaya language, coconuts have a history of important uses worldwide.

Grown in over 80 countries worldwide, the coconut palm excels in the tropics, notably The Philippines and Indonesia closely followed by India and Brazil which combined, account for approximately 80% of the world’s coconut production.

The coconut is of significant economic importance to these top producers.

Here is a selection of the many uses of this exotic fruit tree which I have divided into parts of the Tree and then the fruit.

Attempting to list every single use would be impossible however I can give you a taste of just how amazing and functional coconut is.

The Coconut Palace Court, The Philippines

built entirely of coconut and local materials, it was commissioned by General Marcos in 1970s.
built entirely of coconut and local materials, it was commissioned by General Marcos in 1970s. | Source

Coconut Palm Tree

old coconuts on the tree.
old coconuts on the tree. | Source

Uses of The Coconut Tree

  • The Roots – were used to make dyes, used as a toothbrush, mouthwash, and has medicinal value.
  • Coconut Leaves – were used in The Maldives as a roofing material for houses, and are used to wrap rice, for cooking, and for storage in The Philippines.
  • They have been used to make toys in India, and they are used to make brooms and burnt to ash to make lime.
  • Toothpicks and satay skewers have also been made out of the ribs on the leaves.
  • Coconut Tree Trunk – used as timber to make houses and boats, in bridge building, furniture, drums, and canoes.

Container Planting

using a coconut husk for growing bonsai trees.
using a coconut husk for growing bonsai trees. | Source

Different Uses of Coconut

Coconuts are a serious superfood with its long list of health benefits, medicinal uses, and nutritional value.

No part goes to the waste as every layer has or had a use somewhere in the world, making it worthy of the title the tree of life.

  • The Coir – this is the fiber on the outside of the husk and is used in ropes, doormats, potting compost, mattress stuffing, brushes, mats, rugs, joint sealer for boats (caulking), and sacks.
  • In Brazil, a tea is made from the husk fibers which is said to benefit inflammatory disorders.
  • The Coconut Husk & Shell – the outer part of the coconut, these have been used for buffing floors, fuel, for charcoal, as handicrafts, as buttons, as drinking vessels, sponges, musical instruments, theatrical sound effects, burnt to ward off mosquitoes and when ground down, the husk is used in cosmetics as a skin exfoliant.
  • The coconut shells are also used as bird feeders, a haven for small birds and rodents and even are a feature in the fairground as a coconut shy.

Coconut Shell Crafts - Kerala, India

Coconut Water

 coconut water is a popular sports drink.
coconut water is a popular sports drink. | Source

Coconut Water

Commonly drunk in the humid tropics, coconuts all produce water. The younger the fruit, the more water it has.

  • A good source of sugar, fibre, antioxidants, proteins, vitamins and minerals makes it a popular sports drink providing energy, hydration, and endurance.
  • It helps restore any electrolyte imbalances caused by diarrhea, vomiting and after exercising.
  • Emergency infusions may be done with coconut water due to its ability to mix with blood.
  • It has antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties.
  • It is used to replace lost fluids in cases of influenza, typhoid, malaria, and dissolves kidney stones.

Coconut Water Please

having a refreshing coconut water is as easy as buying a coconut fresh from a local seller and sticking a straw in it.
having a refreshing coconut water is as easy as buying a coconut fresh from a local seller and sticking a straw in it. | Source

Drying Coconuts for Oil

 Coconut Oil production in Kerala, India.
Coconut Oil production in Kerala, India. | Source

Extracting Coconut Oil in Sri Lanka

the last piece of machinery in the extraction process. The dried copra at the end is used as cattle fodder.
the last piece of machinery in the extraction process. The dried copra at the end is used as cattle fodder. | Source

Coconut Oil

With medicinal, nutritional and topical uses and benefits, there are in excess of 100 reasons to have coconut oil in some form in the home. Here is a selection of them. Here we go!

Topical Uses of Coconut Oil

  • Natural skin softener and moisturizer.
  • Reduces fine lines, puffiness and dark circles under the eyes
  • Prevents skin infections.
  • Anti-Wrinkle.
  • Soothes Sunburn and treats blisters and burns.
  • Removes makeup.
  • Improves skin tone, elasticity, and age spots.
  • Heals itchy skin and stops burning from insect bites including snake bites.
  • Lessens varicose vein occurrences.
  • Removes head lice.
  • Conditions the hair, prevents split-ends and treats dry flaky scalp including dandruff.
  • Heals nail fungal conditions.


Medicinal Uses of Coconut Oil

  • Eases acid reflux and gives relief in gallbladder disease.
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels and insulin production.
  • Kills viruses such as flu and infectious diseases.
  • Protects against cancers in the colon, breasts, and digestive tract.
  • Protects against intestinal disorders.
  • Reduces pain and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
  • Strengthens the liver.
  • Relieves symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
  • Soothes earaches when combined with olive oil and garlic.
  • Protects against Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption, promoting strong bones.
  • Helps stabilize female hormones and prevents hot flushes and vaginal dryness during menopause.

Thai Chicken Curry

Source

The Meat

  • The white meat or flesh of the coconut is eaten and used fresh. When it is in dried form it is called copra.
  • Rich in vitamins A and B group (particularly B5), phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
  • High in Fat and Carbohydrates.
  • Widely used fresh or dried in thousands of culinary dishes. Deserts and confectionery are particularly favorable with the coconuts sweet taste.
  • It is also an essential ingredient for many curries and savory dishes throughout the world.
  • Coconut oil is extracted from the dried Copra.
  • Copra cake or copra meal is made as livestock feed.

Coconut Palm Tree

Lipe Island, Thailand.
Lipe Island, Thailand. | Source

A Tropical Cocktail

coconut  milk is added to cocktails in the tropics and a key ingredient in Pina Colada.
coconut milk is added to cocktails in the tropics and a key ingredient in Pina Colada. | Source

Did you know Coconuts have so many uses?

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Coconut Milk

  • The milk of the coconut is extracted from the flesh or meat of the fruit has high saturated fat content. It is used in a variety of ways from seafood dishes in Brazil to being used in baking instead of animal fat.
  • Whilst there are two types of milk (thick and thin milk) available, most countries who import coconut milk get it in a can and remain unaware of the two different types.
  • Coconut milk is used regularly, nearly as a staple ingredient in Southeast Asia and forms the base of curries.
  • Used to make a home brew in Rendell Island (Solomon Islands) where it is fermented with sugar and yeast and left for a week.
  • The famous Pina Colada cocktail traditionally contains coconut milk.
  • Coconut milk is said to promote plant growth.

Different Uses for a Coconut Comments

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Makes me wish I could grow a coconut tree here. I do love the meat, and the husks are quite useful for bird feeders. Great information here, Suzie. Please note I did not have one silly word in this comment. :)

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Mmmm, I love coconut, and I love the ideas for the shells/husks. Great article!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      LOL, duly noted my friend . . . .many thanks but always look forward to your banter in homemade recipes . . .think it's about time for another!! LOL Love the bird bath idea too and would love coconut palms freely growing here too. Coconuts are expensive here around €2 each so do not buy often, only when on an offer. Cheers Bill, you always are a pleasure to speak with!!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Kathryn,

      Many thanks for dropping in! I love the versatility of coconut and learning about all the uses in the tropics. It is an incredibly beneficial ingredient for the skin, used alone or combined with other natural lovlies. Many thanks for you input and comments, have a great day! :-)

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 4 years ago from Athens, Greece

      I love the coconut flavor - especially in the Pina Colada! Thanks for sharing this very well documented and truly informative article, Suzie! Voted up and interesting!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Elias,

      Lovely to have you drop by. Coconut is a lovely flavor and I remember well having a Pina Colada or two abroad, here is expensive! Appreciate your lovely comments, great to know you found interesting and gave it the thumbs up!! Cheers!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Suzie. I knew there must have been a reason why I love coconut so much. I just never knew it had so many other uses, especially the medicinal uses. This is a great hub Suzie, great photos, video, content, everything. Voting up, sharing, tweeting, pinning, etc...

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Delighted you found out a few more great uses of coconut. It makes you think by taking it, applying it or cooking with it you will be in perfect health! A real wonder of nature. Appreciate your votes, shares, tweets and pin!! have a great day :-)

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      Hey Suzie,

      thanks for the information on coconuts.

      I don't particularly like the taste of coconuts but I am happy to learn

      that you can use them for other things than eating.

      Voted up and Shared.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi torrilynn,

      Many thanks for dropping in to coconut world! There are so many unusual uses for this fruit and the Palm tree, maybe you will uses or see some of these in the future. Appreciated your votes and shares greatly!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 4 years ago

      The next time I see a coconut, I am going to kiss it. Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I love coconut and really need to start exploring more uses for it, especially with cooking. Thanks for the detailed overview!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi pops,

      I always smile when I see your avatar, it is so funky! Thanks so much for commenting and hope you get to plant a big smoocher on a coconut soon! Appreciate your votes of confidence!!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Rose,

      Coconut is incredibly useful and the varieties of products it makes apart from from as an ingredient is amazing. Glad you enjoyed learning a few new uses. Appreciate your visit!

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow, when I looked at the first picture of the bird feeder, I said, "Wow this is pretty" We used to have many coconut trees back at home in India! Thank you for this hub Suzie. Votes up and sharing!

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi livingsta,

      Lovely to hear you liked the bird feeder, me too! You must miss the coconuts in abundance and how cool to have them in your garden! I always envy my friends from different continents who have fruits that are not available here cheaply. Coconuts, Pineapples, Papaya . . . . the list is long! Thanks so much for your comments, votes and for sharing!!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      We have coconut trees in our yard, will have to use some to make those attractive drinks someday. Love the birdhouse idea.

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi teaches,

      How lovely to have coconuts in your garden! I am so jealous. Only tonight saw a travel show on an island off Thailand and the presenters stopped at a street trader and got a fresh coconut cut there and then, got a straw put in and one refreshing coconut water drink. I love it! Lucky you Many thanks for your visit and comments!

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      Oh my! What a find! This hub is awesome; well organized and packed with valuable information. Well done! I'm voting up and awesome, sharing, pinning, and liking :)

    • Suzie HQ profile image
      Author

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Insightful tiger,

      Coconuts are so useful and coconut oil is one of the best ever oils for health and skin care. So glad you enjoyed this and thanks so much for the votes, shares and pins! Much appreciated :-)

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Suzie, this is a great hub on coconut uses. I've heard that coconut oil is healthier for cooking, since my brother uses it. Voted up!

    • profile image

      Trudy Resly 3 months ago

      The house is so beautiful and so nice I never see this kind of house before

    • profile image

      W.R.D.M.Wickramarathna. 3 weeks ago

      Thank you MR. Your ditails verry important complete to my assigment.Thank you very much.

    • Angel Guzman profile image

      Angel Guzman 3 weeks ago from Joliet, Illinois

      Coconut is awesome!

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