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coconutThe coconut (or palm) tree is called the kalpa vriksha in Sanskrit, which means ‘the tree which gives all that is necessary for life’. This is because all parts of the coconut that the tree bears – be it its flesh, milk, water and oil – provide the following health benefits.

Reinvigorates your skin. Dabbing a thin layer of coconut oil, rich in vitamin E, on your face every night will restore your skin’s elasticity, thereby preventing age lines and wrinkles. Use cotton pads soaked in a mixture of coconut water and a few drops of lemon as a hydrating face mask if you have dry skin.
Adds lustre to your hair. Massaging hot coconut oil in your scalp and leaving it overnight reduces dandruff – an unwelcome companion of winter – and hair fall. Meanwhile, when applied to your hair, coconut milk (found in ripe coconuts) can minimise the frizz by forming a non-porous layer on each strand that nourishes and heals hair damaged from excessive heat-based straightening. No wonder then, coconut milk has become a popular ingredient in high-end hair products.

Reduces pain and helps you relax. Using coconut oil for massages is especially relaxing, while applying it on arthritic joints can reduce swelling.

Gives you an energy boost. Coconut water (found in unripe coconuts) is loaded with protein, potassium and vitamin B compounds. This makes it your ideal pre- and post-workout drink, as it repairs muscles, hydrates the body and replenishes essential electrolytes that you lose after perspiring, ensuring you get an instant energy boost.

Improves your oral health. For healthy and pearly white teeth, gargle with two tablespoons of medicated coconut oil for five to 10 minutes twice a day. Due to its   anti-bacterial properties, coconut oil not only removes toxins and plaque from your teeth, it also reduces oral sensitivity and helps fight tooth decay.

– Sadia Kamran

First published in the HEALTH ADVERTISER of The Dawn Weekend Advertiser on December 28, 2014.