Coconut Miracles | Daily News


 

Coconut Miracles

Green coconut
Green coconut

Offered to Hindu Gods and Goddesses during Hindu religious ceremonies and used at the Poruwa, the Coconut has powerful significance in our part of the world. It is believed that the Poruwa that we see today is made in the same tradition as the one built for the wedding of Prince Siddartha and Princess Yashodhara by the Satharavaram Deviwaru (the four main deities). It is for this reason that four punkalas (pots of prosperity) filled with coconut flowers are placed at the corners of the Poruwa. The coconut fronds signify prosperity. Green Thumbs speaks to Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S. D. Hapuarachchi on the Coconut a fruit for both, past, present and future.

King coconut is a variety of coconut, native to Sri Lanka where it is known as Thambili. Coconut in Sri Lanka is currently classified into 15 different coconut forms grouped under three varieties, namely ‘Typica’, ‘Nana’ and ‘Aurantiaca’.

“The entire coconut tree has immense value. The flesh gives us food, milk and flour. It is also a healthy and refreshing drink. Its oil is used for cooking and for the skin and the hair. The husk can be used as a natural scrubber and used for ropes. Its leaves are used for thatching and the stick used as brooms,” said Hapuarachchi.

The flesh is the most useful part of this plant. Coconuts can be eaten either raw or cooked, and they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants. The cream white flesh of the King Coconut is delicious to eat. It is a great favorite amongst Sri Lankans. Freshly grated coconuts can be easily added to your recipes.

“Coconut milk is also very popular. It is widely used in many Asian cuisines, especially in South India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It is usually used to thicken soups and stews, and you can also use it as a substitute for milk if you have a milk allergy. To make coconut milk, you can either squeeze grated coconuts in water with your hands or you can stick them in a blender with a little water. Additionally, coconut milk is an excellent hair conditioner. You can apply the coconut milk to your hair and scalp and rinse after a few minutes. This will make your hair soft and shiny and reduces hair fall. Coconut milk is also an ideal ingredient to be added in homemade face masks in place of water. The fruits can also be turned into coconut flour, which is available in markets nowadays. The flour is often used as a gluten-free substitute. Coconut milk is also used in the traditional Ayurveda treatments,” added Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi also added that each and every part of the coconut is very useful for humans and animals. In addition, each form has unique morphological features to distinguish it from all the other forms. Fruit color, fruit size, fruit shape, petiole color, mesocarp or endocarp softness and thickness, and the prolificacy of nut production are traits used to distinguish varieties.

“In my research I and my colleagues have come to understand that Coconut oil is quite popular nowadays due to its unique, attractive flavor. It is even used as a replacement for butter in many recipes. However, I wish to point out that this oil has higher saturated fat content than oils such as olive or canola, so its impact on health is debatable. The Lauric acid in coconut oil is believed to be excellent for health due to the fact that it boosts immunity and can protect against several illnesses.

In many parts of the world, it is very common to massage young babies with coconut oil, since it is believed to be healthy for the skin of babies. Oil extracted from the shells also has medicinal property,” explained Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi also stated that the hard shell of the fruit is useful too. It is traditionally used in homes to steam food. The shells are also a popular craft material. Many beautiful craft items are made out of coconut shells benefiting the handicraft industry. You can easily color the shells and carve them into beautiful art pieces. Also, we all remember how we as infants played with coconut shells and mud in the garden.

“I personally love the way the leaves look. I believe that from the distant past, leaves were used for protection. People have used these leaves to make fences as well as roofs for their small huts, and in many places, people still use them for thatching. One does not have to spend much money so it provides shelter for many people who cannot afford the cost of other materials. In addition to this, they are used to make the walls of houses as well. To make a long story short, even now people still rely on this tree to create shelter. And coconut leaves aren’t only helpful for humans. Did you know that coconut leaves are one of the favourite foods of elephants?,” pointed out Hapuarachchi.

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SUB VARIETIES OF KING COCONUT

Sri Lanka Tall (Typical/Typica)

Gon Thembili (Typica/Gon thembili)

Nawasi (Typica/Nawasi)

Pora pol (Typica/Pora pol)

Ran Thembili (Typica/Ran thembili)

Kamandala (Typica/Kamandala)

Bodiri (Typica/Bodiri)

Dikiri (Typica/Dikiri)

King Coconut (Aurantiaca/King coconut)

Nawasi Thembili (Aurantiaca/Nawasi thembili)

Rathran Thembili (Aurantiaca/Rathran thembili)

Green Dwarf (Nana/Green dwarf or Pumila)

Yellow Dwarf (Nana/Yellow dwarf or Eburnea)

Red dwarf (Nana/Red Dwarf)

Brown Dwarf (Nana/Brown Dwarf)

MAIN COCONUT VARIEITIES IN THE WORLD

* Tall Coconut Varieties

* Hybrid Coconut Varieties

* Dwarf Coconut Varieties

SUB VARIETIES OF MAIN COCONUT VAREITIES IN THE WORLD

* Malayan Yellow Dwarf Coconut

* Dwarf Orange Coconut

* Golden Malay Coconut

* Maypan Coconut

* King Coconut

* Fiji Dwarf

* Macapuno Coconut

* East Coast Tall Coconut

* West Coast Tall Coconut

NUTRITION VALUE OF COCONUTS

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup (100 grams) of raw and dried coconut meat.

Raw coconut meat Dried coconut meat

Calories 354 650

Protein 3 grams 7.5 grams

Carbs 15 grams 25 grams

Fiber 9 grams 18 grams

Fat 33 grams 65 grams

Manganese 75% of the

Daily Value(DV) 137% of the DV

Copper 22% of the DV 40% of the DV

Selenium 14% of the DV 26% of the DV

Magnesium 8% of the DV 23% of the DV

Phosphorus 11% of the DV 21% of the DV

Iron 3% of the DV 18% of the DV

Potassium 10% of the DV 16% of the DV


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