Posts Tagged ‘coconut oil’

When you mention to people that you are an herbalist they assume  that you are some kind of vestal health virgin or zealot whose lips have never been pressed against the creamy icing of a Chocolate doughnut. (well… maybe not lately)

Au contraire…Herbalists are human too.  If you look at many of the eclectics and root doctors of the past they began studying about herbs and natural therapeutics because of health problems they were unable to overcome through conventional means.

Being healthy is about finding balance in all aspects of our lives.  Anything taken to an extreme can lead to disease and on the same note, any area where we are deficient can also lead to disease.  Just because we choose to make healthy changes in our lives doesn’t mean that we as Herbalists don’t have our weak moments;  Do we regret these moments…some;  Do we forgive ourselves….mostly….Do we continue to seek out balance in our lives….most certainly;  Do we like chocolate…you bet your astragalus we do.

So, for those of you who do like an occasional indulgence let’s talk about “CHOCOLATE”!!  First of all, chocolate contains minerals that our bodies need.  Here is a chart which shows the amount of minerals in various types of chocolate. (more…)

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Despite the bad press that coconut oil has gotten over the years it turns out that it has numerous health benefits.

Coconut oil is a saturated fat.  People have been indoctrinated to believe that saturated fats are bad for us and will lead to heart disease. 

However, as I pointed out in a previous article on “Fats”, research has concluded that there is no evidence to support the theory that saturated fats cause an increase risk for heart disease. (1) 

Initial studies conducted  on coconut oil used hydrogenated fats which created an essential fatty acid deficiency which in turn caused serum cholesterol levels to rise.  These hydrogenated fats were contributing to an increase risk of heart disease. (2)

However, when various groups were studied who had a traditional diet including unprocessed coconut oil they found that vascular diseases which were associated with hydrogenated oils did not exist with the saturated fat from coconut oil. 

Benefits associated with Coconut Oil include:

Increased Metabolism

  • Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides which the body uses as an immediate source of fuel.  This consumption increases metabolism and helps you to lose weight.  Fat also helps you feel fuller and keeps you satiated longer so you are less hungry.

Immune System:

  • As I mentioned before, Coconut oil contains high levels of medium-chain fatty acids (known as MCFA). These fatty acids are the same substances produced by mothers milk which helps protect infants from infectious illnesses.  These medium-chain fatty acids have strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoal properties.


  • The lauric acid contained in coconut oil has anti-microbial activity which may be beneficial in the treatment of Acne vulgaris. (3)

Skin Conditions

  • Not only does coconut oil contain essential fatty acids which help to reduce the effect of oxidation, but they may also be beneficial in the treatment of various forms of atopic dermatitis. (4)


  • May be a potential therapeutic treatment to help reduce inflammation and decrease the incidence of colitis. (5)

The list of benefits of coconut oil go on and on.  What I really love about coconut oil is that if you are cooking with it and get some on your hands you can use that excess as a skin moisturizer.  That’s right, just rub it right it in to your hands and your hands will be nice and smooth.  Coconut oil can be used as a base for lotions or salves and can be used in lieu of conventional cooking oils. 

These are just some of the reasons I’m “Cuckoo for Coconut”!


(1)  Am J Clin Nutr (January 13, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725.,   Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease1,2,3,4,5., Patty W Siri-Tarino, Qi Sun, Frank B Hu and Ronald M Krauss http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/ajcn.2009.27725v1

(2)  Nutr Clin Pract. 2006 Oct;21(5):505-12.Trans fatty acids and coronary heart disease. Zaloga GP, Harvey KA, Stillwell W, Siddiqui R.Clintec Nutrition, One Baxter Parkway, Deerfield, IL 60015, USA. gary_zaloga@baxter.com

(3) Biomaterials. 2009 Oct;30(30):6035-40. Epub 2009 Aug 8.  The antimicrobial activity of liposomal lauric acids against Propionibacterium acnes.  Yang D, Pornpattananangkul D, Nakatsuji T, Chan M, Carson D, Huang CM, Zhang L. Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

(4)  Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15. Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis.  Verallo-Rowell VM, Dillague KM, Syah-Tjundawan BS.  Skin and Cancer Foundation, Pasig, Philippines. vmvrmd@gmail.com

(5)  J Nutr. 2009 Mar;139(3):603-10. Epub 2009 Jan 6.  Partial replacement of dietary (n-6) fatty acids with medium-chain triglycerides decreases the incidence of spontaneous colitis in interleukin-10-deficient mice.  Mañé J, Pedrosa E, Lorén V, Ojanguren I, Fluvià L, Cabré E, Rogler G, Gassull MA. Health Sciences Research Institute, University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, 08916 Badalona, Spain.

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