Coconut (Ye Zi)Coconut (Ye Zi)

Botanical Name: Cocos nucifera

Coconut, coconut milk, water, cream, oil and butter are all highly nutritious, rich in fiber and delicious. The fruit is made up of its shell, kernel (meat) and water. A medium-sized coconut can provide almost all the daily-required essential minerals, vitamins and energy a person needs. Coconuts are full of lauric acid, the important saturated fatty acid that increases good-HDL that helps regulate cholesterol levels in blood. Coconuts are also a good source of potassium and electrolytes. Lactose free, it is an excellent substitute for anyone allergic to dairy or nut or grain-based milks.

Below is an overview of Coconut (Ye Zi), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Coconut (Ye Zi).

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Western Name: Coconut

Also Known As: N/A

Organs/Systems: Digestion, Skin, Muscles, Heart, Intestines

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Nutritious, Emollient, Digestive, Hydrating, Anti-aging, Anti-carcinogenic, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral. Aids digestion, iron and mineral deficiency, dry skin or hair, supports heart health, weight loss, lowers cholesterol, Crohn’s, IBS, rejuvenates skin and hair, improves blood pressure, stabilizes insulin.


Pin Yin: Ye Zi

Also Known As: Yen Ai (Coconut Milk)

Meridians: Spleen, Stomach, Kidney, Large Intestine, Heart

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Tonifies Qi: strengthens muscles, aids digestion, builds stamina, supports heart health, aids weight loss. Nourishes Blood, Yin and Jing/Promotes Fluids: regulates blood pressure, thirst, saliva, reproductive juices and fluids, promotes proper growth and development, malnutrition, lustrous skin, IBS, constipation. Promotes Urination/Kills Parasites: intestinal parasites, promotes urination.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Coconuts belong to the large Palmaceae family of palm trees. The tall-growing tree (up to 100 feet tall) is unbranched, erect, and can live to be 75-100 years old. Several hundred cultivars are grown all over the tropics. The fruit is round to oval shaped with a rough outer husk that is light green. Underneath is a woody brown shell enclosing inner meat (kernel-endosperm), that is bright white and fibrous and some water. The coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut.

Coconuts require moist, sandy, well drained soil and thrive along saline-rich coastal regions.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Meat, Water, Milk, Oil, Butter

Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Neutral to Warming

Caution: Safe.

History/Folklore: Coconut oil is known for its MCT fatty acid content which many worldwide studies have proven helps to increase good cholesterol while lowering the ratio of bad to good cholesterol in the body. The oil helps treat malnutrition as it is easy to digest and absorb. Because of the antimicorbial properties in MCT fatty acids, coconut oil helps kill disease-causing bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses. It will slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, boost metabolism and help prevent strokes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Despite recent statements by the American Health Association, research from around the world supports the health benefits of coconuts and the MTC fatty acids they contain. MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) are distinctly different from the longer fatty acids more commonly found in our diets. Few foods contain MTCs, so enjoying coconuts oil is an excellent method for including this important fatty acid in your diet. Millions of tropical coastal peoples the world over, where coconuts are a staple, do not suffer from the heart disease that we do in the Western world. Most importantly not all saturated fatty acids have the same cardiovascular effects.  So while coconut oil continues to be studied and proven healthy, the Heart Association may be referring to other saturated fatty acids that are not heart-healthy.

Research has found that coconut oil also helps prevent tooth decay as it combines with enzymes in the mouth to help kill off harmful bacteria that leads to dental problems.

Coconut milk is not the liquid inside the coconut, this liquid is called coconut water or juice. Coconut cream is made from pressing the coconut meat and coconut milk is made from the expressed juice of grated coconut meat and water.

Coconut oil is the fatty oil that comes from the coconut meat. Commercial coconut oils can vary dramatically in quality. Low quality oil is produced by chemical extraction and are often hydrogenated, bleached and deodorized. High quality oil is pure, organic, unrefined and cold pressed.

Coconuts take 4-5 years, and even longer, before they begin to produce fruit. They will produce 20-150 mature fruits a season.

The enzymes found in coconuts aid digestion and metabolism. Fiber-rich foods help control your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Coconut milk is added to a wide variety of foods from many parts of the world including: Indonesia, Philippines, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. In Indonesia, South India and Malaysia, rice is steamed in coconut milk with herbs and spices and served with chicken or meat curries. Coconuts were used by early Polynesian cultures on long ocean voyages as a source of water and nutrition.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, coconut milk is particularly known for supporting the heart and aiding stamina. In general, the mainland Chinese do not typically make use of coconuts, but those that live on the coast, where coconuts are easily available, enjoy its health benefits more easily.

The fiber from the husk is used to make ropes, mats, brushes, sacks and fiber for mattresses. In horticulture it is used in potting compost, especially in orchid mix. The palm fronds (or leaves) are used to make brooms and baskets. Dried coconut leaves can be burned to ash and harvested for lime. A dried husk and shell are used as fuel and to buff floors.

The coconuts obscure origin in foreign countries led to the idea of using cups made from the shell to neutralize poisoned drinks. These cups were frequently engraved and decorated with precious metals.

Coconut oil is the main ingredient in Ayurvedic oils. It is also used to make soaps, cosmetics, hair-oil and massage oil.

A coconut is an essential element in Hindu rituals. It is often decorated with metal foil and symbols of prosperity and good fortune. Fishermen will offer coconuts to the sea for good luck and successful fishing. The Hindu goddess of well-being and wealth, Lakshmi, is often depicted holding a coconut.

Many Southeast Asian and Pacific cultures have origin myths in which the coconut plays a key role.

In the Philippines coconut shells filled with special foods are used as offerings to the deceased and one’s ancestors.

In the movies and on radio, two coconuts knocked together were used to recreate the sound of horses hooves trotting along.

According to urban legend, more deaths are caused annually by falling coconuts than by sharks!

Key Constituents:

Electrolytes, Cytokinin, Enzymes (including: Acid phosphatase, Catalase, Dehydrogenase, Peroxidase and Polymerases), Minerals (including: Copper, Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, and Zinc), B-complex vitamins, Vitamins (including: C and E), Potassium, Simple sugars, Saturated fat.

Did you know?

Young vs. Old

Young coconuts contain more “water” and soft, gel-like meat. Older more mature coconuts will contain less “water” and the meat will be firmer.


Build Muscles/Lose Fat

The MTC fatty acids found in coconut milk increase physical performance, building muscles which in turn burn body fat.

Fun fact!


Coconut milk and water are full of electrolytes that help prevent dehydration, diarrhea, prevent heat strokes, heart problems, muscle aches, cramps and low immunity.

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ATTENTION: All material provided on this website is for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your healthcare professional or physician. Redistribution permitted with attribution. Be Healthy. Be Happy. Be Whole. Be Free.

ATENCIÓN: Todo el material proporcionado en este sitio web es sólo con fines informativos o educativos. No es sustituto del consejo de su profesional de la salud o médico. Esté sano. Sea feliz. Siéntase completo. Sea libre.

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