Home Herbal Monograph Coconut
Habitat

The coconut palm thrives within the tropical zone. The major coconut areas lie between 20° N and 20°S of the equator. Though it is found beyond this region, even as far as 27°N and 27°S., cultivation in these extreme regions has not been successful and the palm does not bear fruit. The most important coconut producing countries in the world are India, Ceylon, Malaya, Indonasia, Philippines and the South Sea Island in the Pacific. It is cultivated to a small extant in East Africa, West Indies and Central America.


Morphology Description (Habit)

It is a tall and stately palm. The trunk is stout, straight or gently curved, rising from a swollen base surrounded by a mass of roots. The leaves are pinnatisect. The leaflets are narrow and tapering. In the axil of each leaf is a spathe enclosing a spadix, which is orange-coloured, and simply branched. The palm is monoecious. The female flowers are relatively few and borne at the base of the panicle. The male flowers are numerous and borne towards the top of the panicle. The fruit is ovoid, three-angled, containing a single seed.


Principal Constituents
Octanoic acid is one of the major active constituents.

Pharmacology

Octanoic acid has antifungal activity against candida and most of the dermatophytes.


Toxicology
No adverse effect was reported after the use of this volatile compound as medicine.

Indications

The fresh kernel is consumed all over India and it forms an ingredient of many indian food preparations. It is eaten raw or in puddings, sweets, curries and chutneys. The milky juice is a refrigerant. Immature fruit is cooling and diuretic. Fresh milk is successfully employed in debility, incipient phthisis and cachetic affections.