Scent Sense: Coconut

Odour profile: intensely tropical notes, lush, sweet, milky, vanillic, with a suntan lotion association due to the inclusion of coconut scent in Coppertone sun oil.

When we mention coconut, the first association takes us to exotic and tropic beaches with white sand and palms leaning above and reflecting in turquoise water where this magnificent fruit grows. I break exotic suddenly with a fact that smaller fruit similar to coconut were found as fossils remaining 15 million years ago in New Zealand. An interesting fact about this unusual fruit is that its home countries are South Africa, delta of the Ganges River and South America.

Coconut palm trees need particular conditions for growing – warm climate, high temperatures, occasional rain and high humidity (up to 80%) for their better development.

Coconut fruit does not belong among the family of nuts, but to the family Arecaceae (palm family with juicy, simple, closed fruit). It contains three layers: exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp. The hardest ‘shell’ of fruit, mesocarp, contains fibres used for traditional and commercial purposes.

When I think of coconut scent, I always remember its milky white interior with coconut water. The younger the fruit is, its ‘pulp’ is thinner and more like gel. The older the fruit gets, its interior becomes firmer and thicker. Coconut water is a popular drink in tropical areas – South-eastern Asian and Pacific islands as Hawaii and Caribbean, where it can be found fresh, in flacons or cans. Agua de Coco is the second most popular drink in Brazil (after orange juice).

Taste of coconut water depends on location where coconut palms grow. Coconut water is somewhat sweeter than Brazilian.

Coconut water incorporates sugar, fibres, proteins, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Coconut milk is not the same as coconut water which fills the interior of the fruit. Coconut milk is obtained from ripe coconut pulp in two ways (by wringing or cooking coconut interior). Its milky colour depends on percentage of oil and sugar.

White coconut pulp and its water look and smell exotic, sweet, fresh, cold, soft and creamy. Among other associations are sun creams and other great body creams which smell perfect in summer reminding me of the exotic origin of the fruit. As for the scent, I remembered several perfumes with accentuated and well combined aromas of coconut, which in wintery, snowy days takes us into summer daydreaming, while in summer they attract attention and enhance seductive tasty tact.

History of Coconut Oil and Benefits

The existence of coconuts can be dated back to thousands of years. Coconut as a fruit, its flesh, coconut water, its milk, and coconut oil have been known to have a great influence in the lives of those belonging to tropical countries. Coconut has been widely in use in Southern and Central American regions, Africa, India and in most of the Asian countries. However, it is only in the 1600s that the term coconut was coined. The coconut palm finds its natural habitat in tropical and subtropical regions. They are mostly found on shorelines and soils of sandy nature. They do not grow well in places with low temperature. High humidity coupled with rainy and sunny weathers is ideal for the plants growth.

History says that coconut was cultivated in India along the Malabar Coast much before the time of Christ. Coconut agriculture became prevalent in Sri Lanka around the time of Christ. Countries such as Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea are also heavily into coconut cultivation. The influence of coconut in the lives of people from the tropical countries became so prominent that it is considered as one of the foods that shaped civilization.

What is coconut oil?

The coconut has been used as food for centuries. The white flesh of the coconut finds its use in cooking all sorts of cuisines. Coconut water is widely consumed around the world and is known for its nutritional values. The kernel of coconuts is also used to extract coconut oil which can be used as cooking oil as well as in cosmetic products.

Benefits of coconut oil

Coconut oil has received a lot of bad press in the past owing to its saturated fat content. People were quick to announce that since it has saturated fat it must be avoided at all costs. However, recent studies have gone on to prove that they couldn’t be more wrong. The unique structural make-up of the saturated fats in coconut oil makes it easy to digest and improves absorption of essential nutrients. Saturated fat as present in coconut oil is essential for human health.

Packed with nutritional properties, coconut oil finds its use in both traditional and modern medicines. Coconut oil is packed with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Thanks to its moisturizing properties, coconut oil is believed to cure all sorts of skin ailments when ingested or applied topically. Coconut oil can be used to treat skin ailments in adults and babies. It is even used to improve pet health.

Coconut oil is also known to improve hair health. It is an excellent conditioner and helps strengthen roots and reduces hair fall. Coconut oil is also extensively used in treating dandruff and other scalp related conditions.

Virgin Coconut Oil

When using coconut oil for health reasons, one must always keep in mind to use virgin or unrefined coconut oil. Technically, you cannot get coconut oil that is completely unrefined. Virgin coconut oil is the purest and least refined form of coconut oil that you can get. The coconut oil that has undergone the RBD (refined, bleached and deodorized) process is robbed of essential nutrients. For ingesting purposes, one must always choose pure coconut oil over the refined variety. Virgin coconut oil is derived by two processes. The dried coconut is pressed to extract oil and is the commonly used method. Pure coconut oil is also extracted by using the wet-milling process in which the fruit is not dried and oil is derived from fresh coconut. The virgin coconut oil derived from the wet-milling process is a purer version. The quality and purity of the oil also determines the price at which they are available in the markets. Choose your coconut oil wisely and according to your needs.

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