In a world that grows increasingly wary of antibiotics, fluoridated toothpastes, chlorinated water, anti-bacterial ointments, pharmaceuticals in general, and even commercial moisturizers, sunscreens, and deodorants, where does one turn for alternatives?
Incredibly, coconut oil.
Though its reputation has suffered in recent decades because it most often appears in its processed state (partially or fully hydrogenated), coconut oil in its natural form is one of the most healing and versatile foods on earth.
For starters, coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal. This covers a lot of human misery! It helps to fight yeast overgrowth and candida, bacterial overgrowth, parasitic infections, and any lipid-coated virus such as Epstein-Barr, Herpes, Measles, H. Pylori (the source of most ulcers) the human papiloma virus (or HPV, a cause of some cervical cancers), and even AIDS and MRSA. I read of a case of AIDS that had progressed to a raging viral load of 600,000 which was subdued to undetectable levels using just 3.5 tablespoons of coconut oil a day! Because coconut oil interferes with the lipid coating of these and other like viruses, it interrupts their cell signaling system.
Suppose you have a quiet, painless infection like gingivitis – coconut oil is good for that, too. “Oil pulling,” the practice of swishing 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and through your teeth for 15 minutes each day, has been documented to reduce gingivitis from 52-60%, as compared to the 13% reduction experienced from brushing and flossing combined. (Remember not to swallow the oil afterward and to spit it out in the trash, where it won’t clog your pipes.)
As a moisturizer, coconut oil can’t be beat. A natural consequence of aging is the slowing of the cell-turnover rate in the skin. This results in a dull skin surface that doesn’t reflect light. Coconut oil penetrates easily and increases the cell turnover rate, giving a glow to skin that you may not have seen for a while! It also increases your resistance to burning when out in the sun. And if you’re in the habit of using a toxic hand sanitizer, keep a little jar of coconut oil in your purse instead. If this oil is effective against Herpes, MRSA and AIDS, as well as fungi and parasites, you can put it on your hands and move through the world with confidence.
Speaking of moisturizers, many people don’t understand that the best may to moisturize your skin is actually from within, and coconut oil works in at least two well-understood ways toward this end. Proper fats hydrate the body by metabolizing into water within the cells, as opposed to drinking water, which mostly goes into the bloodstream and out through the kidneys. In addition, replacing polyunsaturated oils with the saturated fat of coconut oil gives the skin cell walls more integrity and increases their ability to resist wrinkling. Dermatology research bears this out.
Coconut oil works in other personal care areas, too. Because it is anti-bacterial, I smooth it on as a non-toxic deodorant under my arms. Let it seep into your skin for 10 minutes before dressing, and it won’t get onto your clothes. It’s cheap, and it works flawlessly.
I also use if for my teeth. Many people don’t realize that the glycerin in commercial toothpaste actually encourages cavities by plugging the microtubules in the dentin, thereby interfering with the re-mineralization of teeth. Instead, I mix baking soda with coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint oil and keep this paste in a jar in the bathroom. It’s cheap, effective, pleasant, and non-toxic. And it also doesn’t contain fluoride which, the more research you do, the more certain you become that it’s neither yours nor your child’s friend.
When trying to re-populate good bacteria in your gut, coconut oil is a must. It nourishes the beneficial bacteria, encourages its proliferation, and fights the bacteria that produce gas. It also fights candida and other fungi found in the gut and throughout the body.
If you’ve had your gallbladder removed or its function is weak, coconut oil is ideal for you, too. Most of its fatty acids do not require bile for digestion, making it an easier fat to tolerate for those who struggle to digest fats. Coconut oil also stabilizes blood sugar swings and food cravings, and when used to replace trans fats and rancid polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn and canola, it can prevent or reverse insulin resistance.
But wait, there’s more!
2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil each day increases thyroid function, stimulates the production of disease-fighting T-cells, fights dandruff, facilitates cell communication, and when combined with high quality cod liver oil, improves adrenal function.
And let’s finish with the most amazing coconut oil story of all. In 2002, Dr. Mary Newport’s 51-year-old husband was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. He had been an accountant, but now could not even draw the picture of a clock face, a classic test for dementia. In fact, his clock drawings are reprinted for the reader of this article, and the first shows 4 numbers and bubbles floating randomly in space.
Knowing that conventional Alzheimer’s drugs do little to halt the disease and actually shorten lifespan, she turned away from this approach and began to do her own considerable research. Dr. Newport, a neonatologist and medical director of the NICU at Spring Hill Regional Hospital in Florida, decided to give him two tablespoons of coconut oil every day. Overnight, his intellectual assessment test rose four points. At 2-1/2 months, he was able to draw a circular clock with some of the numbers in their correct places along with lines. At five months, he was able to draw a complete clock with all twelve numbers in their correct circular placements. It’s a little scratchy looking, but it’s definitely a clock.
He still cannot return to his work as an accountant, but he leads a relatively normal life, is a full partner to his wife again, no longer needs care, and remains stable. This story is featured in the Winter 2008 Wise Traditions Journal. Researchers are now exploring the possibility of using coconut oil therapy for not only Alzheimer’s, but also other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, drug-resistant epilepsy, and Huntington’s, as well as brittle type I diabetes, and type II diabetes,
And one last note: if you think that the saturated fat in coconut oil will aggravate your heart disease, put this thought to rest. Polynesians consume the greatest amount of coconut oil of any population and have the lowest rate of heart disease in the developed world.
I recommend Wilderness Naturals brand coconut oil, available online and in some health food stores, for its quality processing, and I take 2-3 tablespoons every day. It can be kept in a warm place so that it remains liquid and is more easily swallowed. Coconut oil is a stable, tropical oil, and does not suffer for being kept outside of the refrigerator.
Coconut oil is truly a one-stop shopping miracle with endless applications.
Jill Ebbott is a licensed Holistic Health Counselor. She specializes in resolving health issues with the wise use and preparation of nutrient-dense whole foods.