Coconut water (or coconut juice) is obtained from tender unripe (green or yellow) coconut fruits. It is the liquid endosperm of coconut fruit. It is a clear, colorless, sweet, naturally flavored drink. Coconut water is the most refreshing and nutritive ready to drink beverage provided by Mother Nature.
Coconut water is unique blend of sugars, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytohormones. It contains traces of vitamin A, a small quantity of vitamin B and an appreciable amount of vitamin C. Essential amino acids (lysine, leucine, cystine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, histidine, and tryptophan), palmitic and oleic acids and dietary minerals are also present in it.
Coconut water is useful as a diuretic and anthelmintic. It shows beneficial effect in severe acidity, thirst, fainting, giddiness, palpitation of heart. It is unctuous, delicious, cooling, cardiac tonic and digestive stimulant.
- Latin name: Cocos nucifera Linn.
- English: Coconut Palm
- Ayurvedic: Naarikela, Naalikera, Laangali, Tunga, Skandhaphala, Sadaaphala, Trnaraaja, Kuurchshirshaka, Trinaraja
- Unani: Naarjeel, Naariyal
- Siddha/Tamil: Thenkai Kopparai (kernel of ripe coconut)
- Kerala: Thengu, Nalikera
- Assamese: Khopra
- Bengali: Narikel, Narikel
- Gujrati: Naliar, Nariyel, Shriphal, Koprun
- Hindi: Nariyal, Gola
- Kannada: Khobbari, Tengnamara, Temgu, Thengu, Thenginamara
- Malayalam: Nalikeram, Ten, Thengu, Keram
- Marathi: Naral
- Oriya: Nariyal
- Punjabi: Narela, Khopra, Garigola
- Tamil: Tenkai, Kopparai
- Telugu: Narikelamu, Tenkay, Kobbari
- Urdu: Narjil, Narial
The botanical name of Coconut/Nariyal is Cocos nucifera. It belongs to plant family Arecaceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
- Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
- Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
- Subclass: Arecidae
- Order: Arecales
- Family: Arecaceae – Palm family
- Genus: Cocos L. – coconut palm P
- Species: Cocos nucifera L. – coconut palm
There are various clinical studies done on Cocus nucifera to confirm its medicinal potential. A study shows that coconut water has analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. Coconut water has also blood pressure lowering effect on body owing to presence of polyphenols viz. chlorogenic acid, vanillic acid and ferulic acid. It has been reported to possess protective action against aspirin- and histamine-induced gastric mucosal damage and protection from ulcers.
Chemical composition of coconut water
Coconut water is sweet, refreshing, nutritive, natural beverage and excellent source of potassium, sodium, chloride, and carbohydrate.
Coconut water is 95.5 % water and contains sugar (sucrose, sorbitol, glucose, and fructose), electrolytes, various plant hormones, enzymes, and amino acids. The main mineral present in coconut water is potassium. Coconut water also contains vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, growth hormones, and certain aromatic compound that give it distinct flavour. It also contains a variety of trace elements such as zinc, selenium, iodine, sulphur, Manganese, boron, molybdenum etc.
Coconut water contains following (in per 100 gram)
- Water 95.5
- Potassium 312 mg
- Chlorine 183 mg
- Sodium 105.0 mg
- Phosphorus 37 mg
- Magnesium 30 mg
- Calcium 29 mg
- Sulphur 24 mg
- Carbohydrates 4.0 mg
- Iron 0.5 mg
- Mineral matter 0.4 mg
- Fat 0.1 mg
- Protein 0.1 mg
- Copper 0.04
- Calcium 0.02 mg
- Phosphorus 0.01 mg
Medicinal Properties of Coconut Water
Coconut water has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, antidermatophytic, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, immunostimulant properties. It is useful in treating metabolic disorders, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, influenza and other diseases that result in dehydration.
- Antibacterial: Active against bacteria.
- Antidote: Counteracts a poison
- Astringents: Constrict tissues; styptic.
- Antiscorbutic: Curing or preventing scurvy.
- Antipyretic/antifebrile/febrifuge: Effective against fever.
- Antiseptic: Capable of preventing infection by inhibiting the growth of infectious agents.
- Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
- Anthelmintic: Antiparasitic, expel Parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
- Aperient: Used to relieve constipation.
- Aphrodisiac: Increases libido, sexual desire in both men and women.
- Cooling, Refrigerant: Reduces bodily heat or fever
- Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
- Demulcent: Relieving inflammation or irritation.
- Depurative: Purifying agent.
- Laxative: Tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
Health benefits of Coconut water (or Naariyal Pani)
Coconut water has many beneficial effects on health since it contains electrolyte, vitamins, sugar, protein, antioxidants, minerals, cytokinins and dietary fiber. It pacifies Vata and Pitta dosha. It cleanses the urinary bladder and cures Raktapitta (a disease characterized by Bleeding from different parts of the body) and pipasa (morbid thirst).
In measles, fever, burning sensation, sunburn etc. it given for reducing heat inside body. In such cases it also supplies much required nutrition and vitamins to the body for better fighting with disease.
Drinking Coconut water is helpful in insect bites and stings as it pacifies pitta and gives relief in burning sensation, generalized edema and breathlessness. If you are suffering from hangover drink coconut water for relief.
Natural, Safe and healthy
Coconut water is refreshing and nutritious beverage. It contains sugars, sugar alcohols, lipids, amino acids, nitrogenous compounds, organic acids and enzymes. Water soluble B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7 and B9) which are essential in body to work as coenzymes for enzymatic reactions essential for cellular function are present in it. It contains folate. Coconut water provides essential calcium required for stronger bones and teeth.
It has alkalizing effect on body and reduces acidity of blood.
Substitute for ORS
Coconut water quenches thirst and helps to maintain electrolyte balance. It can be used as an important alternative for oral rehydration as it replenish the electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium) lost from body through sweat, urine, vomit, loose motion etc.
If you have nausea, add one teaspoon of lemon juice to coconut water and drink.
Coconut water is rich in potassium, electrolytes, magnesium, vitamin c and other important nutrients and supports better functioning of heart.
It helps to control high blood pressure and gives protection against stroke/heart attack.
It has been shown to help significantly lower blood pressure levels in most of the people who drink it.
Coconut water is an antioxidant due to presence of ascorbic acid, polyphenols and other phytochemicals. It improves body immunity to fight infections. It rehydrates and detoxifies the body. It protects against cancer.
Benefits for Digestive system
Coconut water, promotes digestion and reduces ulcer formation. It gives relief in hyperacidity. It is excellent tonic for calming indigestion.
Urinary and reproductive system
The coconut water is highly beneficial in urinary disorders. It acts as a natural diuretic in heart, liver and kidney disorders such as scanty and suppressed urination, albuminuria (presence of protein in urine), dropsy and high acidity of urine.
In case of cystitis, nephritis and scanty urination due to dehydration, tender coconut water is taken with spinach juice once or twice a day.
Coconut water increases urine production but without any electrolyte loss. It treats urinary infections (UTI) and mineral poisonings.
As it increases the volume of urine and thus facilitate the flushing out of small stones in the urinary tract. Drinking tender coconut water empty stomach for a week with 5-10 powdered grains of Elettaria cardamomum expels kidney stones, in most cases.
Coconut water increases libido in both, men and women. It increases sperms. Drinking coconut water improves fertility and sexual vitality.
Support in Diseases
Coconut water is cooling and gives relief in high body temperature. It replaces loss of fluid and electrolytes in vomiting, diarrhea etc. It contains reducing total sugars 3-4%. It is used as a substitute for normal saline in cases of dehydration.
It supports better recovery in fever, dengue, bilious fever, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, typhoid, arthritis, heart diseases and other diseases. It is good source of potassium for cholera patients.
Coconut water is an excellent food remedy for gastritis. It gives the stomach necessary rest and provides vitamins and minerals. The stomach will be greatly helped in returning to its normal condition if nothing except coconut water is given during the first 24 hours.
For heat (exhaustion), excessive thirst, acidity drinking one glass of coconut water is very helpful. In case of rash, coconut water is applied topically.
In Ascites (swelling in the stomach due to fluid accumulation), frequently drinking coconut water helps.
The tender coconut water is also an excellent remedy for flatulence, vomiting and dyspepsia.
Coconut water has been reported to possess protective action against aspirin- and histamine- induced gastric mucosal damage.
Boon in pregnancy
Coconut water is beneficial in pregnancy as it contains folate. Due to richness in electrolytes, it helps to cure leg cramps. It supports healthy pregnancy. Potassium helps to manage blood pressure.
It is nutritive and can be used as good substitute for other drinks as it gives energy without added sugar.
For morning sickness, add one teaspoon of lemon juice to a cup of coconut water and take a sip every 15 minutes.
Here are some health benefits for pregnants
- Improves immunity and digestion
- Gives energy, nutrition and enzymes
- Gives relief in vomiting and replenishes electrolyte loss from body
- Contains folate or vitamin B9 which is required for reducing anaemia
- Cures fatigue and weakness
- Gives relief in abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
- Promotes intestinal health
- Detoxifies body and promotes metabolism
- Gives relief in leg cramps during pregnancy
- Hydrates body, balances electrolytes in body
- Prevents high blood pressure, and controls sugar level
- Washing face with this helps to prevent pimples, blackheads during pregnancy
- Coconut water intake is safe in recommended doses.
- You may drink one coconut water (300ml) once or twice a day.
- No toxicity has been detected for coconut water.
- Excess Drinking of Coconut Water and Side-effects
- Drinking too much coconut can cause many side-effects.
- It has laxative action and cause loose motion when taken in excess.
- It can cause electrolyte imbalance.
- It will increase potassium level in body. Too much potassium in body causes fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and palpitation.
- It contains sugar and can raise blood sugar levels.
- It increases phlegm/Kapha due to cooling nature.
- It may increase weight.