Coconut Oil: How It Has Special Place In Ayurvedic World


New Delhi: Coconut oil holds the key to gorgeous skin, strong hair, and healthy nails. Scientists now believe what our grandmas always knew, that this oil is a very effective elixir.

The humble coconut oil, which was ubiquitous in Indian households and used in various beauty hacks, is staging an impressive comeback. In between, it did earn a bit of a dubious reputation as many western mainstream brands scoffed at the concept of applying oil on the face.

The traditional ritual of head massage was questioned. But with the green wave engulfing the beauty industry, oils are fast emerging as the new hero. Until recently, coconut oil was considered a highly saturated and, therefore, an unhealthy fat. But now coconut oil is allowed in most of the diets and is on its way to replacing olive oil as one of the healthiest oils.

Labeled as the magical tropical oil, it is worth every bit the hype that surrounds it. Its benefits have been documented in Ayurvedic texts since centuries. Ayurveda refers to coconut tree as Kalpa Vriksha, literally the tree that supplies all that is needed to live.

“According to Ayurveda, coconut oil has Pitta, pacifying or cooling properties. Changes in heat and temperature create a disturbance in Pitta Dosha, which is associated with the fire element, and causing a sensitive skin syndrome (in which the skin is easily irritated and inflamed with redness). Eczema, acne, and Rosacea are other examples of Pitta imbalance,” says Dr. Neena Chopra, co-founder and director beauty and technical, Just Herbs.

She explains, “The main component that sets it apart from other oils is the presence of Lauric acid. Other than mother’s milk, the highest concentration of Lauric acid is found in virgin coconut oil. Lauric acid, the predominant medium-chain fatty acid found in coconut oil, has proven antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory benefits.” It can be used as a body and face moisturizer, particularly in the summers for its cooling effects and SPF properties.

Why is cold-pressed better?

The way the oil is extracted from coconut determines how much nutrients it holds within its folds. Refined coconut oil is one that has been extracted from dried coconut with chemical solvents or through physical extraction methods.

In this method, some of the beneficial nutrients are lost. On the other hand, cold-pressed oils are extracted by boiling, fermentation, refrigeration, mechanical press, and centrifugation. Since high temperatures and chemicals are not used, cold-pressed oil retains all its Phytochemicals (chemicals derived from plants), along with the distinctive taste and smell. This is the purest form of coconut oil with water white color and contains natural vitamin E. This is not an official classification but simply suggests that the oil has been subjected to less intense refining, lower temperature and no chemicals.

Here’s why it makes the most amazing multipurpose product in your vanity dresser.

Makeup Remover:

Dip cotton pads in coconut oil and press softly over eyes and lips before wiping off the makeup. Coconut oil gently dissolves long lasting, highly pigmented makeup without drying the skin. In one single step, the skin is deeply cleansed as well as moisturized. And as a bonus, the anti-bacterial action of Lauric acid keeps the microbes at bay.

Moisturizer:

Coconut oil is great for luxurious pre-bath massages and quick post-bath hydration. It gets absorbed in the skin as soon as you apply it, seeps into the pores, and hydrates it deeply.

Skin Ointment:

It can also be used to treat an array of skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and dry flaky skin. Coconut oil also helps in healing wounds and is considered a home remedy to treat minor cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. Its anti-fungal properties prevent and treat foot fungus.

Anti-Stretch Marks Treatment:

Because coconut oil improves collagen cross-linking and can restore lipid barrier function, it is considered to be an effective treatment for stretch marks. It’s one of the safest oils recommended for massages in case of pregnant women.

Nourishing Hair Conditioner:

Worried about damaged hair? Again, coconut oil is the solution. Because of its molecular weight and shape, coconut oil is able to penetrate deep into the hair, and repair damaged hair. Lauric acid has a high affinity for hair proteins and being of a low molecular weight, it is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft. Regular use of coconut oil leads to lustrous hair as its lubricating effect reduces fiber friction. Its antimicrobial properties are effective for dandruff and dry scalp conditions. Applying it to the head, followed by a gentle massage, also helps eliminate mental fatigue.

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