Hi there again!
Welcome back to another essential oil article.
We have been talking a lot about essential oils, right?
At this point I know that you’re already familiar with a lot of them.
Of course, you can’t possibly be acquainted with all of them, but I’m sure you have already tried enough to know what works for you and what does not.
Have you ever tried coconut oil?
I’m positive you’ve heard about coconut oil, maybe not the essential coconut oil, but the one used for cooking.
You may have even used it in your own kitchen, am I right?
Our Beloved Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has gained a lot of attention for the past years.
It’s known to be a cooking ingredient with so many uses that seems too good to be true.
It has a blend of fatty acids that have amazing positive effects on health.
So, you must’ve been wondering, is coconut oil an essential oil?
It’s natural and healthy, so it must be an essential oil, right?
Well, yes and no.
It’s Healthy, So, Yes Please!
Coconut oil has gained attention as being a very healthy cooking ingredient that has many uses.
But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily an essential oil.
Sure, there is a coconut essential oil and it’s primarily used in making blends, especially for skincare.
But first things first.
Types of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is usually sold in two ways: refined or unrefined.
They’re both good and each one has its own specific purpose.
Refined coconut oil is produced from sun-dried coconut itself.
They’re baked before having its oil extracted.
The baked pulp, known as copra, is bleached to reduce insect dust, bacteria and microbes.
Then it goes under a high heat process to be “unflavored”.
Its stripped from its natural scent and most of the times chemicals are added to extend shelf life or to raise extraction effectiveness.
This process is industrial and makes coconut oil useful for cooking.
Unrefined coconut oil is also called natural or virgin coconut oil.
The oil is extracted directly from fresh coconuts spun down on a centrifuge (wet mill) and then pressed to get the coconut milk, then, it’s separated from its essence, generating ‘pure’ coconut oil.
It’s considered a healthier version of coconut oil because it undergoes a more natural process and almost no chemicals are added to it.
Scent and flavor, on the other hand, are kept alive and that’s exactly what you’ll want for baking, frying (yes, you can use it for frying) and general cooking.
You’re getting more nutrients as well.
Shelf life is shorter and price is higher.
Is Coconut Oil Healthy or Not?
Straightforward answer: They’re not quite sure.
Coconut oil is rich in fat, almost all of them saturated fat (around 82%).
This is a good thing.
It increases the HDL (high densed lipoprotein) cholesterol, or the good fat as we call it, or it helps turning down LDL (low densed lipoprotein) in your blood veins.
But it’s very fatty, almost 99% saturated fats.
Oils high on saturated fats tends to increase cardiovascular disease risk, if consumed for a long time in a regular basis.
In July 2016 a survey in the United States showed that 72% thought coconut oil to be healthy, but only 32% of nutritionists feel the same.
There is no research yet on the long-term use of coconut oil.
Mainly because it has just recently become a thing, so data are being collected as we speak.
But several experiments have shown that it does have several health benefits associated with its use.
Coconut Oil Health Benefits
Increases “Good” Cholesterol
Coconut oil has a component that increases good cholesterol (HDL).
Coconut oil is very fatty.
It has more fat than butter.
But it’s also rich in HDL cholesterol, the good fat as we call it.
It gives a nudge at HDL and by ingesting it (usually as a substitute for cooking oils as soybean) there is a huge increment of those.
Controls Blood Sugar
Experiments on mice have shown that use of coconut oil preserved their insulin action and resistance.
Which means they were less likely to develop diabetes and other related diseases.
Coconut oil has antioxidants and antidepressant.
Antioxidants are the “radical free ravager” which are cells residual substances left on bloodstream and causes slow cell damage if not dealt with.
Antidepressant are substances used to equalize imbalances on neurotransmitters responsible to change of mood.
It helps “cleaning out” the free radicals and with neurotransmitters correction, relieving stress.
Promotes Shiny Hair
It penetrates hairs better than minerals.
Swelling of hair is limited by the presence oil.
Since the process of swelling and deswelling of hair is one of the causes of hair damage, coconut oil, which penetrates better than mineral oil, may provide better protection from damage.
Promotes Healthy Skin
Coconut oil has been used and confirmed to have anti-inflammatory effect on human skin.
After applying and analyzing skin barrier molecules and collagen, it was shown that the skin has an increase in the cornified cell envelope components, which works like a protective barrier.
Prevents Liver Disease
Believe it or not, coconut oil has totally reversed hepatosteatosis, a type of fatty liver disease, in rodents.
Rodents were first fed with a high fructose diet until they could confirm the steatosis.
After that, they were introduced into a normal diet and fed with coconut oil.
The hepatosteatosis was completely reversed.
Reduces Asthma Symptoms
Inhalation of coconut oil reduced asthma in rabbits.
Analysis using a gas chromatography-mass spectrometer found that lauric acid and capric acid contained in coconut oil were among the most abundant fatty acids and helped alleviate symptoms of the illness.
Coconut oil and its constituent fatty acids have anti-fungal properties.
By eating it, mice had lower aspects of candida.
Extrapolating to humans, coconut oil could become the first dietary intervention enhancing treatment of candida.
Promotes Feeling of Satiety
The medium chain triglycerides (MTC) present in coconut oil is a well known to promote feeling of satiety.
Studies showed that consuming it during a normal daily meal increases the satiety feeling and people feel hunger pangs at much later time.
Promotes Weight Loss
You’ve just read it right.
Coconut oil has reduced obesity and promoted weight loss in mice.
When paired together with other common cooking oils, like soybean, it has been proven that coconut oil is less obesogenic and diabetogenic than the others.
Ways to Consume Coconut Oil
There are basically 3 ways to eat coconut oil.
You can use it as a cooking oil.
You can just replace traditional cooking like soybean or canola oils by it.
Its healthy proprieties and special taste are delightful.
Just remember that coconut oil is solid at room temperature and has a very low smoking point.
That means that when used for deep frying, it starts producing carcinogens.
For deep frying, you should stick to other common oils.
Other than that, you can mix it to salads or stir-fry vegetables and meat with it.
You can also use it to bake cookies, cakes and other stuff you like.
And of course, add it to drinks and like coffee, tea or even smoothies.
Coconut Essential Oil
Essential oils are oils made from specialized extraction methods used on plants.
They’re an extremely concentrated solution that carries chemicals from the plants they’re extracted from.
To be an essential oil, the coconut oil must be extracted using the same methods employed by other essential oils (there are more than one extraction method) and must possess a very concentrated amount of the original plant.
Coconut oil used in cooking, baking and eating in general is not the same as it’s essential counterpart.
Even the processing is very different.
It’s not extracted, it’s refined.
But essential oils are hard to make, and we ask you ,not only to not try to do it at home, but also to be very careful with the ones you purchase.
Since its extraction method is harder, their prices tend to be higher too.
It’s imperative that you buy it from a trusted brand.
Essential coconut oil is also known as fractionated coconut oil.
Its very important to stress that fractionated and essential coconut oil cannot be ingested.
They’re cosmetic grade and not food grade.
They can’t even be sold at the same section of the store.
Coconut Oil as Carrier Oil
Coconut oil is mostly used as a Carrier Oil.
A carrier oil is used in blends.
It’s mixed with essential oils in order to strengthen essential oils’ overall effectiveness.
Coconut Oil itself is extracted from the kernel of mature coconuts and contains 92% saturated fat and is packed full of super rich antioxidants, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties – a natural treatment for skin, hair and nail nourishment.
The lauric acid in coconut oil helps combat acne, reduces inflammation and contains natural moisturizing properties.
It’s ideal for making homemade creams and balms to treat skin conditions.
That means that it’s most important use is to help other oils it’s applied with.
Coconut Oil’s Common Use as a Carrier Oil
Generally speaking, coconut essential oil is known to have a good effect on various skin related problems.
As a carrier oil it can be blended with other essential oils and applied directly on skin.
It can also be used with your usual cosmetics in order to enhance its proprieties.
For vitiligo, for example, it can be used with lavender, curry leaf or and ginger essential oil or with your preferred skin cream.
Apply it directly onto the skin for a lightening effect and relief.
For those with feet fungus, it can be blended with lavender oil to decrease the proliferation of harmful organisms.
Some sun protection lotions are made with coconut essential oil to protect from nd soothe blisters.
Coconut Essential Oil
Coconut essential oil has unique emollient, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and antimicrobial characteristics.
All those complicated words mean that its excellent for applying to your skin.
It can be used to help in tanning and has a few sun blocking properties, though it shouldn’t be used alone for this.
It soothes blisters and sunburn.
It’s widely used in massages not only for its aroma but also for its slight analgesic effect.
People tend to feel more relaxed and ‘healthy’ when coconut oil is used for massages.
It also helps with minor bruises with its anti-inflammatory aspect.
Do not apply directly, however,on cuts and wounds.
Again, even when applied to skin it’s unwise for you to take a bite, despite the marvelous aroma.
So, is coconut oil an essential oil?
Coconut oil stands for one thing and essential coconut oil for another.
Coconut oil is a rich food ingredient that can be eaten or used as a cooking ingredient with exceptionally health benefits.
They’re sold as refined or non-refined.
Essential coconut oil is a carrier oil, mostly used to provide moisture when applied directly to the skin.
It enhances penetration and effects of the oils mixed with it.
Coconut oil and coconut essential oil share some characteristics, but they’re used in very different ways.
Hope you liked our article!
See you again soon!