Scientific Name: Cocos nucifera
The Versatile coconut is a Drupe that finds its origins in tropic and subtropical climates. The Coconut has been a part of the human food and toolbag providing us with potable water, high caloric flesh, fiber for rope making and a rich, nutritious oil. A highly sustainable, resilient tree, the coconut dna today sheds much light on us with history dating back to prehistoric times1.
Virgin Coconut oil, used here in 13Vegan products, is extracted from the coconut milk obtained from fresh coconuts as opposed to ordinary coconut oil obtained via milling of dried coconut kernels.
Some Beneficial Properties
Reduced Hair Protein Loss
In an extensive study on hair damage comparing mineral oils, sunflower oil and coconut oil, it was recognised that coconut oil was the only oil capable of preventing protein loss in both damaged and healthy hair profiles2. This was also largely attributed to the fatty acid profile and molecular weight of coconut oil. The unique profile of coconut oil further made evident its ability to penetrate the hair shaft to do its work.
Virgin coconut oil contains medium chain saturated fatty acids and polyphenolic antioxidants. It has been shown that VCO is capable of effectively protecting cells from pro-oxidant activity3. This antioxidant activity has immense benefit for the immune system, heart and even mood disorders when taken internally. Used externally, it is capable of aiding in counteracting the damaging effects of free radicals that are contributors to sunburn, premature aging and skin cancers.
Virgin Coconut oil is a good emmolient (ability to make the external layers of skin softer and more pliable).
Along with this quality, VCO has been shown to be effective in tests on patients with atopic dermatitis which causes defects and inflammation in the epidermal barrier. More than 92% of Patients showed a moderate to excellent improvement in their dermatitis4. With its strong anti-inflammatory fatty acids, VCO proves to be an effective natural oil for barrier repair and in lowering the inflammation in contact dermatitis or rashes5.
Along with VCOs powerful efficacy against inflammation or dermatitis, VCO has also been proven to be effective against some strains of bacteria. Skin infections such as Impetigo are largely caused by bacteria and is common in young children6. One of the known primary causes of such infection is Staphylococcus aureus. VCO has been shown to be effective as a proactive treatment against this strain with twice daily applications over a period of 4 weeks.
1: Washington University in St. Louis. "Deep history of coconuts
decoded: Origins of cultivation, ancient trade routes, and colonization
of the Americas."
2: Rele AS, Mohile RB. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on
prevention of hair damage. J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-92. PubMed PMID:
3: Illam SP, Narayanankutty A, Raghavamenon AC. Polyphenols of virgin coconut oil
prevent pro-oxidant mediated cell death. Toxicol Mech Methods. 2017
Jul;27(6):442-450. doi: 10.1080/15376516.2017.1320458. Epub 2017 Apr 26. PubMed
4: Evangelista, M. T. P., Abad-Casintahan, F. and Lopez-Villafuerte, L. (2014), The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index,
transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial.
Int J Dermatol, 53: 100–108. doi:10.1111/ijd.12339
5: Verallo-Rowell VM, Katalbas SS, Pangasinan JP. Natural (Mineral, Vegetable,
Coconut, Essential) Oils and Contact Dermatitis. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2016
Jul;16(7):51. doi: 10.1007/s11882-016-0630-9. Review. PubMed PMID: 27373890.
6: Ibrahim F, Khan T, Pujalte GG. Bacterial Skin Infections. Prim Care. 2015
Dec;42(4):485-99. doi: 10.1016/j.pop.2015.08.001. Review. PubMed PMID: 26612370.
7: Verallo-Rowell VM, Dillague KM, Syah-Tjundawan BS. Novel antibacterial and
emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis.
Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15. PubMed PMID: 19134433.