The coconut palm really could be renamed man’s best friend as we use it for so many things. From the tips of its leaves to the end of its roots, from its fibrous bark to its husky fruit there’s 101 uses we make of the coconut palm. Then you can break it down even further for the individual parts of the fruit. Each tree can produce up to 200 fruits a year although for most, it’s between 40 and 80. We can find something to do with the hairy inner coating, the shell, the flesh, its oil and the juice inside. It truly is a superplant and here are 8 uses of the coconut palm.
1. Hair Care
Coconut oil is a terrific hair conditioner. It’s natural, nutritious and doesn’t cost much. It literally feeds your hair and is especially efficacious in nourishing damaged hair. It is used in many over the counter hair products but often with loads of chemicals. For a simple home treatment when you’re having a bad hair day, simply buy some pure coconut oil, slather a load on your hair and wrap in a warm towel. Leave on for a few hours then shampoo thoroughly and condition if you think you need to.
2. Cast Away
When you find yourself alone on a desert it is the many uses of the coconut palm that are a godsend. As well as providing your sustenance you can use the leaves as a blanket, a mattress and the roof of your makeshift house. Weave the fronds to make a hat to ward off the evil sun, make a bra from the copra (if you are small enough), make a skirt from the leaves and make a basket to carry your next harvest of coconuts back to camp. If you are good at DIY, cut down a palm tree and hollow out the trunk to make a boat to sail home.
3. Designer Wear
The shell of the coconut, known as copra is carved to make fashion accessories, mainly jewelry items like earrings, pendants, necklaces and bangles etc. On many Hawaiian shirts the buttons are made from Copra.
4. Bugs Beware
The next time you are on a tropical beach and the mosquitoes are bugging you make a fire from coconut husks. Apparently the smoke makes a good bug repellent.
I have to say that my favourite of all the uses of the coconut palm is in alcoholic drinks. I don’t drink a lot but I do enjoy a good drop of a Malibu and when on holiday my favourite cocktail is a Pina Colada.
6. Green Issues
Many of the uses of the coconut palm are far sounder ecologically speaking than many of its rivals or alternatives. The fibrous hairy covering of the copra, known as coir, makes a really hardwearing fibre for floor coverings for example. It's also an excellent stuffing for upholstery once it has been made fire retardant.
7. Yum Yum
Many of the world’s traditional cuisines have made use of the coconut for centuries. Its versatility is well utilized in South East Asian, Indian, Coastal African, Central American and Caribbean cooking. Western cuisines have most often used coconut as a sweetmeat in baking, candies and confectionery.
8. The Holy Grail
No list I make up about the many uses of the coconut palm could ever go by without a mention of being able to use coconut shell halves to replicate the sound of horses’ hooves. If anyone is a fan of Monty Python and has seen their film, The Holy Grail you’ll know why. But seriously, coconut shells have been a way of making music for centuries.
This is just a very small sample of the many many uses of the coconut palm. If I tried to list them all it would be a full time job for a few days because it really is that versatile. What’s your quirkiest?
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