Coconut - western medicine

The soothing and antimicrobial properties of coconut oil justify its widespread use in medicinal preparations.

Coconut oil

The oil is also used on a day to day basis in many household products such as soaps, cosmetics and shampoos. This is because the fatty acids in coconut oil make good creams and detergents. Coconut oil contains fatty acids which are antimicrobial and a compound called sucrose cocoate, which is moisturising. The oil is used in skin soothing treatments to ease inflammation such as eczema and psoriasis. Scalp creams and shampoos containing coconut oil include Cocois® and Capasal®. Sucrose cocoate is also added to some pharmaceutical preparations because it can help the body to absorb certain drugs.

Coconut water

Photo of a man selling coconuts at a market stall.
Coconuts for sale at a market.

Coconut water, a popular drink from the mature fruits, is nutritious and contains sugars, vitamin E, amino acids and minerals. It is also an antioxidant.


Coconuts are not harmful to the health, but regular consumption of large amounts of coconut oil may not be advisable because it contains saturated fat, which is associated with heart disease. Coconut soap may cause irritation to the skin of people sensitive to it.

This information is provided for general interest only. It is not intended as guidance for medicinal use. Further information on using herbal medicines is available.