If you have not been in a coma in the last years, there is no way that you have not heard of some of the numerous health benefits and 101 uses of the coconut oil.
In maintaining overall health, coconut oil can help boost brain function, improve blood cholesterol, fight with infections, increase energy and control weight, among other.
But that is just the start, the oil seems to have unlimited usages – gum and teeth health, skin and hair moisturiser, allergy and flu fighter, cleaning agent, not to forget its numerous uses in our cooking journeys.
As we know today, vegetable oils when heated, with their Omega-6 fatty acids contribute inflammation processes and contain health risks. So there comes the universal coconut oil once again to replace all vegetable oils in our kitchens and help us maintain a healthy diet.
Logically, we come to wonder why a natural product loaded with so many health benefits was not a part of our shopping lists years ago, but then the Western diet used to regard saturated fats as harmful to our health, and the coconut oil became a trend in the Western world only in the last years.
The earliest written reference of a coconut palm comes from circa 545 AD, from a Byzantine geographer, known as Cosmas Indicopleustes (from Greek “Cosmas who sailed to India”); who made several voyages to India during the reign of emperor Justinian and described a coconut palm in his Christian Topography, which contained some of the earliest and most famous world maps.
Coconut Oil – History
During the 13th century, when Marco Polo described the coconut fruit he found in Sumatra, he referred to it as nux indica, a direct translation from the Arabic name jawz hindī (Indian nut).
It was only in the 16th century, when the “coco” name appeared. The name came from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought coconuts to Europe. The coconut shell reminded them of a Portuguese folklore ghost called coco (coco in Portuguese translates as “grinning face, grin, grimace”). According to Portuguese historic records the first written usage of the term comes from 1555.
And in 1589 the name first appeared in print, in English, in A Summary and True Discourse of Sir Francis Drake’s West-Indian Voyage: “The cochos nuts and plants are very pleasant fruits, they say cochos hauing a hard shell and a green husk over it.”
The coconut oil and its abilities to smooth hair were introduced to the British readers nearly a century later, in 1681, by the British East Indian Company captain Robert Knox, who in his An historical relation of the island Ceylon, in the East Indies wrote that: “Their Hair they oil, with coconut oil to make it smooth”.