Coconut Water Benefits

In the tropics, where coconut palm trees abound, coconut water (known as “buko” juice in the Philippines) is typically enjoyed straight from young coconuts that have just been harvested. Drinking it fresh is the only way to do it in the tropics; it is quite absurd to buy coconut juice straight from a tetra-pack, when all around you are towering palm trees.  But with a burgeoning health market craving for everything natural, bottling the juice is the only way to increase shelf-life.

More than just being a thirst-quencher, coconut water has been widely regarded to dissolve small kidney stones when taken first thing in the morning, if you believe in Philippine indigenous medicine.  Turns out, this observation is quite spot on, and the tradition is alive and well in a few urology clinics in the country.  There is some resistance to embrace this age-old knowledge because of conflict of financial interests.  Filipino urologists who use “buko” therapy have been known to suffer from “AIDS” (acute income deficiency syndrome).

Nevertheless, in audacious hospitals and clinics, Filipino urologists have embraced “bukolysis” (a word play on “dialysis”) where urology patients are subjected to three-day-a-week coconut water treatment taken orally. Over time, the stones become small enough to be passed through urine.

In aggressive kidney stones, “buko” therapy is done by inserting a urethral catheter to where the stones are lodged to flush it with coconut juice.  The stones gradually wear away without further need for surgery.

Building on indigenous knowledge is not only confined in the Philippines.  In Ayurvedic medicine (in India), coconut juice is used to increase semen volume, improve digestion, and in support of the Philippine indigenous practice, clear urinary pipe work.  It is also a notorious stress-buster.

Coconut water (which is different from coconut milk, derived from grating mature coconut meat) had also been used in Vietnam (during the war) when there was shortage in commercial intravenous solution.  The reasons are self-apparent:  Fresh coconut juice is free from pathogens that might possibly cause infections.  It is non-allergenic; it is red-blood-cell-friendly; and more important, its chemical component is very similar to human plasma, so it is readily accepted by the body in huge quantities without side effects.

Coconut juice is overflowing with potassium, calcium, magnesium and chlorides, making it an ideal fat-free electrolyte-replenishment.  This is taken advantage of by enterprising vendors who package it as an alternative natural sports drink.   With the health-conscious population slanting more towards everything natural and organic, coconut juice holds commercial promise.

For weight-watchers, the juice is a healthier treat compared to sugar-rich soda.  Further, it helps de-clog arteries, keeping atherosclerosis at bay.

Caffeine is a downer as a diuretic.  Not only will the kidneys be overworked, too much of it gets in the nerves.  To flush out toxins from the body and increase urine flow, coconut water is a sweeter alternative.

In upland regions of developing countries where potable water is scarce, coconut juice is the only alternative.  But intestinal worms (common among children in developing countries) are not happy; they also get flushed out along the way.  Coconut juice is a known laxative that kills unwelcome parasites.  It is also an alternative treatment for diarrhea and intestinal disturbances in very young children.  Saline and albumen content in fresh juice is anti-cholera.

When used topically, the water soothes prickly heat, and relieves rashes secondary to small pox, chicken pox and measles.

When used as drops, the juice treats cataracts.  “Buko” juice is an antioxidant, so the oxidation that causes cataracts is cancelled out.  No known treatment has been discovered for glaucoma yet, but coconut water, taken orally, seems to ease up the pressure in the retina.

With the wide range of benefits that coconut juice confers, it is not surprising that it is called “water of life.”  Well, that figures.  The coconut is the “tree of life.”