Due to the whole buzz around coconut oil, I’ve put together a section of this site looking at it in a little more detail, for those that are interested. Uses for coconut oil, health benefits, how to buy, and recipes for – I keep getting these types of questions so to help you I will give you what I have learned from using coconut oil over the years. As you know, if you follow this site, we don’t go in for miracle cures and wonder products. We are a regular family and try to look at products in a sensible way and not to make false claims or to exaggerate what some others may say. Remember it’s all about our own opinions, experiences and tastes – nothing more!
Looking for Ways to Use Coconut Oil?
Here is a list of coconut oil uses, covering the useful to the downright weird – not quite 101 ways but it is a good title! Follow the links for more details of any you want to learn more about and I have included a section about how we use coconut oil at the bottom of the page.
Coconut Oil for Beauty Products:
Its moisturizing qualities and pleasant smell make it a great ingredient for many homemade beauty treatments. Organic virgin coconut oil is the best type to use for beauty treatments and remember that many of the branded items you can buy will contain hydrogenated or RBD coconut oil which isn’t as good. So make your own!
- Hair Treatments – shampoo, conditioner, styling gel and hair tonics are great. Other claims are up for debate – stimulating hair growth, curing baldness (not likely!), treating dandruff and dry scalp conditions.
- Skin Treatments – homemade moisturizer, face creams, body lotion, massage oils and after shave balm.
- Soap Making – used for centuries to make soap in tropical cultures and now being used by us.
- Lip Balm – great for chapped lips.
- Make-up Remover – dab with cotton wool to remove your make-up – works really well!
Coconut Oil in Cooking
In many tropical countries it has been a major part of their diets and now we are starting to make good use of it. Now accepted as a healthy type of fat people are using it a lot in cooking:
- For Frying – great for frying any food you like but the taste can be strong for some things – eggs come to mind! Ideal for making a stir fry, curries and any strongly flavored dishes – you only need a little coconut oil, so the taste of coconut need not be an issue.
- For Baking – widely used as a healthy option to lard and butter in baking. Again if the taste of coconut oil is a problem try using half and half with your regular fats and still get a healthy option.
- Alternative spread to butter or margarine.
- Add to hot drinks like coffee or hot chocolate for an energy boost.
- Popcorn Making – used by some of the big cinema chains.
- Flavoring all sorts of drinks and dishes.
Using Coconut Oil for Health Treatments:
This one can get a little controversial. It has been linked to all sorts of health benefits and as usual the claims soon become quite outlandish with no real, verifiable facts. Some things like treating small cuts and some skin conditions
are quite legitimate, based on the moisturizing and protective qualities of applying a cream but others can be extreme. Here are a few – take what you like from it, personally I think some are doubtful!
- Healing cuts, ulcers and minor burns – reasonable enough.
- Skin complaints – coconut oil is said to be good for treating eczema, psoriasis, spots and acne – amongst others. Again a reasonable enough claim but not a total cure in my opinion and some people react better than others.
- Athletes foot – it worked for me!
- Cradle Cap in babies – definitely works we have used it.
- Weight loss – although a healthy type of fat, it is still a fat. It is said to increase the metabolism and so can help with weight loss but it is no magic fix. Used as part of a whole weight loss program looking at diet and exercise it should have some benefit but use your common sense.
- Lowers cholesterol and prevents heart disease. Again this is a huge topic and such claims should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. Used on its own, coconut oil is no wonder product but in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle it may indeed help.
Some Interesting Uses for Coconut Oil
- As a biodiesel – used to fuel vehicles in places such as the Philippines.
- Industrial and vehicle lubricant.
- Intimate lubricant! – Enough said – use your imagination.
- Oil for lighting – was a major fuel used in India to burn in oil lamps (it was known as Cochin oil).
- Fuel for electricity generation – has been used for this but the production process means it is not as viable as some other products on a large scale.
- Lubricating door hinges – works perfectly and lasts for months.
What We Use Coconut Oil For
So you can see from this list, coconut oil has many varied uses. We got interested in coconut oil through making homemade beauty products and then experimented with other things as we learned a little more about its potential. I think it is important to remain grounded and not get carried away with some of the more extreme claims. Take it as a useful product with some great qualities and use it as and when you like.
We only ever buy organic virgin coconut oil as this is best for both cooking and making your own beauty products. We first used it in shampoo and conditioner then moved to trying it in creams and lotions. It has a great smell and the moisturizing qualities are very effective. We use coconut oil for cooking and baking but only in certain dishes. In food it really depends on your taste as some people find that coconut can be quite overpowering. Used in curry or stir fried vegetables it adds a unique taste and is a healthy option. When baking I would definitely use it half in half with butter or any other vegetable fat to avoid too strong a flavor.
Don’t get carried away with it at first, it is not some wonder product, and bear in mind that some people have experienced some mild side effects by switching to coconut oil all of a sudden. Try coconut oil in a shampoo or use it to fry up a curry but don’t expect miracles – it won’t cure baldness or make you thin.