Master plant: Cocos nucifera L.
INCI: Cocos nucifera oil
The coconut tree grows to the north and to the south of the equator and is an extremely important economic plant. The origin of the coconut tree is not fully known. Either South America, the Pacific islands or the Indonesian region is assumed as its original homeland.
For more than 2,500 years the coconut palm tree is used because of its fruits. Coconut oil is won from the "copra" (dried pulp of the coconut). The fresh copra is dried, pressed or extracted.
To obtain the coconut oil, the nut is opened and the pulp is dried. The dried pulp or "copra" contains between 60 - 70% of oil. Then the copra is cleaned, chopped up, turned into flakes, and pressed to obtain the crude oil. Alternatively, the oil can also be won by extraction. The virgin crude oil is cold-pressed and is NOT refined.
Characteristics and subtances:
Coconut oil is a smooth, pale yellow oil which has a slight aroma of coconut and melts at approx. 24°C - 28°C (75°F -83°F). Coconut oil, also kown as coconut fat, is rich in lauric and myristic acid. Lauric acid converts itself into mono-laurein in the body. Mono-laurein fends off viruses, bacteria and fungus that are composed of a fatty base. Coconut oil does not contain cholesterol and is therefore a suitable alternative to animal fats (similar fatty acid profile).
Coconut oil/coconut fat finds use in food production (shortening and cooking fat) and candy industry (confectionaries).
However, coconut oil is mostly used in cosmetics where it is used as a cream base in sun tanning lotions and personal hygiene products.