When we think of coconut we probably first think of the desiccated coconut we use in cooking or coconut oil, which is often used in Sunscreen lotions or tanning oils. The humble little coconut actually has a very versatile list uses which help give it its popularity.

The coconut is botanically recognised as Cocos nucifera and belongs to the plant family Arecaceae or the Palm Family. It can grow into quiet a large tree reaching up to 30 metres tall. The palm fronds can reach up to 6 metres in length on mature trees.

The name Coconut can refer to either the tree, the seed or the fruit but is usually followed by the part in question – Coconut Tree, Coconut seed etc, or preceded with a word such as desiccated coconut.

Any picture of a tropical island will usually include a coconut tree. This is typically depictive of the natural habitat of the coconut. Generally the coconut will grow well within several thousand kilometres north and south of the equator.

Health and Coconut
- Coconut flesh is high in dietary fibre making it an ideal addition to the diet for those suffering constipation. It can be found in Muesli products and in health food bars and slices.
- Coconut Milk is thought to be beneficial to sufferers of Stomach Ulcers. Some research indicates drinking a glass of coconut milk prior to eating a meal may help relieve the symptoms associated with it.
- Coconut milk and coconut oil is known for its beneficial effects on the skin.
- Coconut is an ideal food for those wanting to build muscle mass or to recover body strength after long term illness.
- Coconut milk (Coconut water) may benefit clearing the digestive tract and maintaining regular bowel movements.

Coconut oil
- The oil is used in Skincare products and lotions
- Saponified Coconut oil is used in soap products requiring
- Coconut oil is used in Sodium Lauryl Sulphate. Common synthetic foaming cleansers found in many industrial products and, [cough] in personal care products.
- Coconut oil has a structure suitable for use in deep fryers and is used by many commercial snack manufacturers for cooking and as an additive.

Desiccated coconut and coconut milk (Food)
- The desiccated variety is derived after the oil and water has been expressed from the coconut meat. Desiccated coconut is used in many dishes, main courses and deserts as well as health food products.
- Coconut milk is typically sold in cans in the supermarket and can be consumed on its own or used in cooking.

Coco Peat
- Coco peat is the hairy fibre on the outside of the coconut shell. It is a common ingredient in commercial potting and seed raising mixes. It is also used as a growing media in Hydroponic systems
- Coco peat is used in pellets for propagating individual seeds for transplanting.
- Coco peat mulches are available and are often sold in blocks needing to be soaked in water for an hour or so before using.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites http://www.buy-organic-products.com/health/ or http://www.lifestyle-health-services.com. Subscribe to Eric's FREE Health and Organic Newsletters via these websites.