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Therapeutic and Nutritional Values of Narikelodaka (Tender Coconut Water) -A Review

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Abstract

Background: Tender coconut water is a wholesome and nutritious drink. It has an important role to play in the fast-developing functional foods market particularly nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. The resurgence of interest in the coconut generated due to the awareness of people about the possible hazards from soft drinks and the promotional measures taken by government have contributed to the growth of market for tender coconut water. Value-added products presents an opportunity for intensifying and building on past research and development work. Coconut water is one of the world's most versatile natural product with increasing scientific evidence that support the role of coconut water in health and medicinal application. Medicinally, it has been proven to possess various pharmacological activities like hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, wound healing ,anti thrombotic, antioxidant, Hypolipidaemic, Antihypertensive, diuretic, hypoglycemic , renal regenerative actions. Over the past decades, many reports have appeared in mainstream scientific journals describing its nutritional and medicinal properties. Glimpse of the classical Ayurvedic texts gives us an insight into the medicinal properties of coconut that is in tune with the scientific findings of today. This review attempts to reiterate and appraise the therapeutic and nutritional values of coconut water.
Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 6(4): October-December, 2014, 195-201
195
ISSN 0975-2331 (Print)
www.anvpublication.org
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REVIEW ARTICLE
Therapeutic and Nutritional Values of Narikelodaka
(Tender Coconut Water) - A Review
Shubhashree. M.N
1
*, Venkateshwarlu. G
2
Doddamani. S. H
3
*
1
Research Officer (Ay) National Ayurveda Dietetics Research Institute (NADRI ), Govt .Central Pharmacy
Annexe Near Ashoka Pillar, Jayanagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2
Research Officer (Sc-3) Incharge National Ayurveda Dietetics Research Institute (NADRI ), Govt .Central
Pharmacy Annexe Near Ashoka Pillar, Jayanagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
3
Research Officer (Sc-2 ) National Ayurveda Dietetics Research Institute (NADRI ), Govt .Central Pharmacy
Annexe Near Ashoka Pillar, Jayanagar, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
*Corresponding Author E-mail: shubhathejas@gmail.com, drvenkatg@gmail.com, shd_ayu@yahoo.co.in,
ABSTRACT:
Background: Tender coconut water is a wholesome and nutritious drink. It has an important role to play in the fast-
developing functional foods market particularly nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. The resurgence of interest in the
coconut generated due to the awareness of people about the possible hazards from soft drinks and the promotional
measures taken by government have contributed to the growth of market for tender coconut water. Value - added
products presents an opportunity for intensifying and building on past research and development work. Coconut water
is one of the world’s most versatile natural product with increasing scientific evidence that support the role of coconut
water in health and medicinal application. Medicinally, it has been proven to possess various pharmacological
activities like hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, wound healing ,anti thrombotic, antioxidant,
Hypolipidaemic, Antihypertensive, diuretic, hypoglycemic , renal regenerative actions . Over the past decades, many
reports have appeared in mainstream scientific journals describing its nutritional and medicinal properties. Glimpse
of the classical Ayurvedic texts gives us an insight into the medicinal properties of coconut that is in tune with the
scientific findings of today. This review attempts to reiterate and appraise the therapeutic and nutritional values of
coconut water.
KEYWORDS:
Tender coconut water, Narikelodaka , Coconut juice, Ayurveda, Nutrition
1. INTRODUCTION:
Coconut is the most extensively grown and used nut in the
world, playing a significant role in the economic, cultural,
and social life of over 80 tropical countries
1
. There is both
scientific and abundant anecdotal evidence for coconut’s
significant nutritional, health and healing benefits
2
.
Coconut,( Cocos nucifera L), belonging to the family
Palmae, is a tree that is cultivated for its multiple utilities,
mainly for its nutritional and medicinal values. It has been
described as the most important and extensively grown
palm tree worldwide. Coconut is a member of the
monocotyledonous family Arecaceae (Palmaceae),
subfamily Cocoideae and the monospecific genus Cocos
1
.
Received on 10.07.2014 Modified on 03.08.2014
Accepted on 02.09.2014
©A&V Publications All right reserved
Res. J. Pharmacognosy & Phytochem. 6(4):Oct. - Dec.2014; Page 195-201
In Sanskrit, it is known as Narikela, Kalpa vriksha ,
Sriphala ,Coconut palm in English, Nariyal, Khopra in
Hindi, Thengina kayi in Kannada, Kobbari kaayi, Tenkai in
Telugu, Tennaimmara in Tamil, Tenga in Malayalam. In the
Malay language, it is pokok seribu guna ('the tree of a
thousand uses'). In the Philippines, the coconut is
commonly called the 'tree of life.'
Coconut Water is the nutritious clear liquid inside the
coconut fruit which is rich in vitamins and minerals. The
water of tender coconut, technically the liquid endosperm,
is the most nutritious wholesome beverage that the nature
has provided for the people of the tropics to fight the sultry
heat having a caloric value of 17.4 per 100gm
3
. Tender
coconut water later matures into the flesh or the coconut
meat. Tender coconut water is the liquid or juice and not the
milk of the coconut.
Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 6(4): October-December, 2014, 195-201
196
Vedic references of narikelodaka:
Ancient literature of India and elsewhere portray the
historical traditional use of coconuts and coconut products
for more vigorous health. Narikela is cited in Vishnu
Dharmashastra and Vishnu Purana, the ancient religious
Hindu texts . Banabhatta(Sanskrit prose writer and poet of
India) and Varahamihira ( the ancient Indian astronomer,
mathematician, and astrologer) have also mentioned it
4
.
Traditional uses of tender coconut water:
From fertility taboos to unseen magical forces, fascinating
folklore practices revolving around the coconut have
evolved throughout the tropical regions. According to
popular folklore (Janakatha), an ancient king of Ceylon lost
interest in life because of a severe skin rash and recovered
completely by the intake of coconut water. Young coconut
juice has been used in folk healing for a number of
ailments: relieving fevers, headaches, stomach upsets
diarrhoea and dysentery. The juice is also given to
strengthen the heart and restore energy to the ill
5
. Tender
coconut water extract along with citrus aurantium is used
for soaking the affected parts of fractures and sprains in
Cook Islands, tender coconut water for kidney problems in
Fiji are some of the traditional uses of coconut water
2.
In India, Coconut water is used for puja rituals as it is
sacred, clean, and pure and health giving. The 3 marks on
the coconut are said to represent the three eyed Lord Shiva
and therefore it is considered as a means to fulfill our
desires. In Asia, and especially in India, tender,i.e.,
immature, coconuts are offered as ceremonial gifts and
serve as purification media at traditional events
6
. Hindus
often initiate the beginning of any new activity by breaking
a coconut to ensure the blessings of the gods and successful
completion of the activity. Tender coconut water is used in
abhisheka rituals since it is believed to bestow spiritual
growth on the seeker. The coconut also symbolizes selfless
service.
The association of human fertility with coconut is
prominently manifested during the wedding rituals across
India. The fruit often placed on the pot is a metaphor for the
womb, while the nut itself, a symbol or life,confers fertility
on the bridal couple. On the contrary, women In Tropical
Asia, especially in Southeast Asia were prohibited from
drinking coconut juice because it disrupts their natural
menstrual cycle. Accordingly, folk medicine postulated that
young coconut juice has phytoestrogen-like effect
7
Coconut water is not only used in traditional medicine but
also a tropical beverage and also used as a microbiological
growth medium. As a beverage, the water of the unripe
coconut has the advantage of being sterile and forms a
refreshing drink. It is used as a medicine in different regions
of the world and during World War II, coconut water was
used as a short-term intravenous hydration and resuscitation
fluid. It is also believed that coconut water could be used as
an important alternative for oral rehydration and even so for
intravenous hydration of patients in remote regions. It is
very effective especially in diarrhoea and excellent tonic for
the old and sick.
8
In Coimbatore and Palghat Districts of Tamil Nadu and
Kerala, Folk-Lore Medicines for Jaundice include
Turbinella rapa (Shell of the conch) made into paste with
tender coconut water and given internally twice a day. One
square inch shell is prescribed at a time. Another recipe
involves a handful of tender leaves of Ricinus communis L.
(red variety) which are made into paste mixed in tender
coconut water and administered internally twice a day for
three days
9
. Folklore healers of Udupi, Karnataka use tender
coconut and Red Ochre (Gairika) made into as a paste as an
external application in case of herpes to relieve the burning
sensation.
Fresh coconut milk mixed and heated together with rice
flour is applied to gangrenous ulcers and skin boils. Fresh
juice of young coconuts is recommended for reducing
fevers and relieving headaches, stomach upsets, diarrhea
and dysentery and strengthening the heart and for restoring
energy to the patients recovered from illness. It is believed
that expectant mothers who regularly drink coconut juice
will help the foetus grow stronger and with greater
vitality
10
.
Tender coconut water - an Ayurvedic perspective:
The Ayurvedic system of medicine has documented the
uses of tender coconut water 4000 years ago. In Sanskrit,
the coconut palm is called the “Kalpavriksha” which means
the tree that provides all that is needed for life. The fruit
narikela is mentioned in Madhuravarga and among Asavas
11
The coconut is cited among the Amradhi Phala varga in
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu. Interestingly, it is regarded as
Tunga (tall tree) belonging to the group of Truna (grass). It
is noteworthy to acknowledge the ancient wisdom and the
rationale behind the inclusion of coconut tree under the
Truna (grass falmily) based on its features, which is
relevant even according to the modern botanical
classification. It has synonymns like Dakshinatyaka (grows
mainly in South) India, Skandhaphala (fruits appearing on
the trunk), Sadaphala (the fruits appear throughout the year.
The fruits are Drudhaphala (hard) and have tryaksha(three
eyes).
Coconut is sweet, oily, tonic and diuretic. The coconut
water is said to be Sheetala (Cold), hrudya
(cardioprotective), deepana (digestive stimulant), shukrala
(Aphrodisiac) (Promoting semen), laghu (light).It relieves
pitta, pipasa (thirst) and bastishuddhikara(diuretic). Raja
nighantu specially cites that the Coconut water is madhura
(Sweet to taste) and guru in paka (Causes heaviness during
post digestive phase. It is also indicated in Pinasa (Common
cold), shrama(Fatigue), Daha(Burning sensation ). Young
(Immature) narikela is indicated in shosha (Emaciation)
whereas mature ones are said to be virya vardhanam
(Enhancing the potency of an individual)
13
. According to
Nighantu ratnakar, which gives a vivid description of
Narikelodaka, taruna(immature ones) are trushnagna
(relieves thirst ) and pittanashaka. Young tender coconut
water probably induces virechana (laxative). It is given in
Chardi (emesis), Bhrama (giddiness), pittajwara. Whereas
the mature coconut water is guru (heavy for digestion)
Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 6(4): October-December, 2014, 195-201
197
vistambhi (Food that causes distension). Shaligrama
Nighantu adds on qualities like ashu (quickly imbibed)
madakruth (intoxicating), aparhne amlabhavmupayathi
(attains sourness in the afternoons), krimighna
(wormicidal), increases shleshma and pitta.
Chakrapanidutta, states that the tree is grown mainly in
anoopa desha(moist area)
14
.
Table-1Tender coconut water (Narikelodaka) in Ayurvedic
formulations
Compound
formulations
containing
Narikelodaka
Indications
Elanir Kuzamphu
15
Netrarogas like Arma (Pterygium) ,
Cataract , Blurred vision , Relieves vata
pittaja ailments of the eye
Narikela Khanda
16
Aruci (Tastelessness), Vami (Vomiting),
Shula (Colicky Pain), Amlapitta
(Dyspepsia),
Raktapitta (Bleeding disorder), Kshata
(Wound), Kshaya (Pthisis), Daurbalya
(Weakness)
Narikela lavana
16
Amlapitta (Hyperacidity) , Parinama shula,
Vastyamayantaka
ghrta
15
MutraKrcchra(Dysuria),
Prameha,Asmari.(Urinary calculi)
Lakshminarayana
rasa
17
Vata roga, Jwara (Fever), sutika roga (Post
partum disorders)
Chandanadi thaila
18
Daha, Jwara (Fever)
Bhallataka
Upavisha
19
For Purification Purpose
Table -2 Applications of Narikelodaka in diverse disease conditions
Sl.No Disease condition Indications
1.
Suryavarta
(Headache)
Narikela jala with sharkara
2.
Udara Krimi
(Intestinal Worms
Narikela jala with Hingu act as
krimihara
3.
Ardhavabhedaka
(Migraine)
Narikela jala (Chakradatta)
4.
Shirashula in Kshaya
(Headache due to
nutritional deficiency)
Narikela jala with sugar
(Shodala Nighantu .Ni)
5.
Chardi (Vomiting) Narikela Jala with Pippali,
Madhu and Sita (Ch.Chi 20/26 )
6.
Mukhadushika (Acne) Narikela jala with Vatapallava
pasted with shukta
7.
Daha Jwara (Pyrexia) Application of Chandanadi
thaila containing Narikela Jala
8.
Parinama shula
(Duodenal ulcer)
Narikela Lavana
9.
Amlapitta
(Hyperacidity)
Narikela Khanda
Nutritional facts of tender coconut water:
Green Coconut has much water and is rich in proteins,
minerals, vitamins, calcium, Phosphorus, iron, iodine,
chlorine, sulphur, potassium, carbohydrates and vitamins,
B1, B2, B5 and magnesium. The water also helps the
hydration of the body. Sugars are the main fraction of
soluble solids in coconut water Sucrose, sorbitol, glucose
and fructose are the main sugars in mature coconut water
are followed by minor sugars including galactose,
xylose
and mannose. Minerals are said to be the second constituents in
terms of quantity
6
. It also contains several amino acids. Besides
sugars, minerals and proteins, a minor fraction is composed of
aromatic compounds. Coconut water has a specific taste and
flavour. The glucose content of the tender coconut water is
slightly lower than that of fasting blood sugar level for humans.
With this coconut water could be the best drinks for diabetic’s
patient
20
. Trace amount of mannitol and sorbitol are reported
from tender coconut water. Sugar alcohols reduce blood sugar
levels so that liver is healthier and gets more energetic life.
Metabolism of oral bacterial can be prevented by mannitol, it
also prevents the increase in the acidity of mouth after
ingestion, and acts as anti cavity agent of tooth. Organic acid
such as malic and citric acids are present in tender coconut
water, which inhibit the growth of micro organisms such as
yeast moulds and bacteria. It also helps to improve the taste by
balancing sweetness
21
Calcium on the other hand, is an indispensable component of
the structure of the body
22
.The calcium content is slightly
higher than the Extracellular Fluid. This makes coconut water a
major source of calcium to the body; in addition intake of
coconut water by infants can help prevent nutritional rickets. It
is important to note that in exclusive breast feeding after the
forth calcium is gradually reduced from the colostrum, regular
intake of coconut is advised for the nursing mother to meet up
the calcium nutritional requirement of the baby
20
. Some of the
important significant and useful components in coconut water
are cytokinins.
Coconut is known as a 'functional food,' which provides health
benefits over and beyond the basic nutrients. Lauric acid is a
key ingredient in coconut products: 'Approximately 50% of the
fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. (The percentage of
arginine, alanine, cystine and serene in the protein of tender
coconut water are higher
23
.The green dwarf variety contains
the highest levels of total phenols and Vitamin C
24
. Amino acid
is important not only as building material for the body, it has
major other property such as energy source (body converts
amino acid into glucose), helps produce lymphocytes, which
are cells in human lymph fluid and bloodstream that are vital to
immune system. It may help regulate blood sugar; helps reduce
symptoms of prostate enlargement in men, helps adrenal gland
function
Table- 3 Chemical composition of coconut water
25
Nutritional values Mature Coconut
Water
Tender Coconut
Water
Total solids% 5.4 6.5
Reducing sugars % 0.2 4.4
Minerals % 0.5 0.6
Protein % 0.1 0.01
Fat % 0.1 0.01
Acidity mg % 60.0 120.0
pH 5.2 4.5
Potassium mg% 247.0 290.0
Sodium mg% 48.0 42.0
Calcium mg% 40.0 44.0
Magnesium mg % 15.0 10.0
Phosphorous mg% 6.3 9.2
Iron mg% 79.0 106.0
Copper mg% 26.0 26.0
(Satyavati, K.G , Biochemical Analysis of Coconut Water. Coconut
Development Board India.)
Coconut water is the richest natural source of cytokinins.
Cytokinins can retard the effect of aging in plant cell as
well as human cell. They inhibit platelet clots that may lead
to heart attacks and strokes. Cytokinins has potential for
Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 6(4): October-December, 2014, 195-201
198
treatment of degenerative brain diseases like demential and
Alzheimer’s disease
21
.
Table -4 Nutritional values of Tender coconut water
26
Nutritional values Coconut water Tender Coconut
Water
Moisture 93.8 90.8
Protein 1.4 0.9
Fat 0.1 1.4
Minerals 0.3 0.6
Crude fibre 0 0
Carbohydrates 4.4 6.3
Energy (in Kcal) 24 41
Ca 24 10
P 10 30
Fe 0.1 0.9
Thiamine - 0.01
Niacin - 0.1
Vit.C - 2
(Nutritive value of Indian foods, National Institute of Nutrition,
Hyderabad)
Table- 5 Vitamins of B Group in Tender Coconut Water
23
Nicotinic acid 0.64 microgram / ml
Pantothenic acid 0.52 ,,
Biotin 0.02 ,,
Riboflavin < 0.01 ,,
Folic acid 0.003 ,,
Thiamine Trace ,,
Pyridoxine Trace ,,
(Wealth of India)
Table- 6 Amino Acid Composition of Coconut Water (% of total
protein)
27
Alanine 2.41
Arginine 10.75
Aspartic acid 3.60
Cystine 0.97 - 1.17
Glutamic acid 9.76 - 14.5
Histidine 1.95 - 2.05
Leucine 1.95 - 4.18
Lysine 1.95 - 4.57
Proline 1.21 - 4.12
Phenylalanine 1.23
Serine 0.59 - 0.91
Tyrosine 2.83 - 3.00
(Pradera et al )
Coconut water nutrition facts:
The amount of coconut water that can be harvested from
each nut is about 300 ml, but depends to a great extent on
the stage of maturity and on the variety of coconut. There
are only three types of coconut varieties: tall (allogamous),
dwarf (autogamous) and hybrid; the last often being a cross
between dwarf (mostly mother) and tall (father). A study
conducted by Chikkasubbana et al on the effects of maturity
on the physical and chemical parameters of tender coconut
water suggests that the nuts should be harvested between
the 7
th
and 8
th
month of maturity for obtaining adequate
amounts of nutrients and sugars in the coconut liquid
endosperm
28
. In the early stages of ripening, during the
formation of endosperm, invert sugar and amino acids
accumulate in the coconut water. They reach a peak at
about seventh month and then decline. The concentration of
ascorbic acid is high in water of green nut with soft pulp
and gradually diminishes as the nut ripens
23
.
Compared with
other fruit juices, the dry weight of mature coconut water is
very low: 5% to 6% versus 12% to 15% for apple juice. A
coconut tree under its lifetime can produce 10,000 nuts
29
.
For best results, the water from a fresh coconut should be
consumed shortly after being exposed to air due to the
possible loss of important nutrients. While still in an
undamaged fruit, coconut water remains sterile and stable,
but it may become unstable when extracted from the fruit
and stored for a few days at 4°C
30.
Each nut may contain
about 200 to 1000 ml of water depending on cultivar type
and size. Any nuts younger than five months of age tend to
be bitter in taste and devoid of nutrients. In contrast, mature
nuts contain less water, and their endosperm thickens
quickly to white edible meat (kernel). Coconut milk
obtained from the meat is different from the coconut water.
Coconut water's rich enzyme systems include very effective
and selective reductase, polyphenol oxidase (PPO) and
peroxidase (POD). These are involved in its development of
a brownish colour when it is exposed to air for a long
time
21
. The chemical composition of coconut water is
affected by several factors. Jackson et al. showed that
coconut water of different coconut varieties contains
different concentration of chemical compounds, and that the
chemical contents also varied during the different stages of
maturity
31
. Soil and environmental conditions also affect the
chemical profile of coconut water. A study which was done
in Brazil demonstrated that the physical properties of
coconut water were affected by varying nitrogen and
potassium application
32
. It can be concluded that the
chemical composition of coconut is dependent on
environmental factors, soil and the state of maturity
33
.
Coconut water when given intravenously is harmless to a
patient in circumstances where it may be dangerous to give
the same amount of potassium alone. The phosphates ion is
nearly same as that of body fluid. However sodium and
chloride ion were lower when compared with extracellular
fluid
32
.
Coconut water’s fresh aroma is attributed to the volatile
compounds. Organic acids composed of malic, succinic,
citric, acetic and tartaric acids contribute to the taste of
coconut water. It is believed that coconut water could be
used as important alternative for oral rehydration and even
so for intravenous hydration of patients in remote region
due to its electrolyte content
34
.The potassium and
magnesium ions are higher than that of the extracellular
fluids (ECF) making it a good source of electrolytes for the
body.
The particular mineral composition and reasonable total
sugar content make coconut water a natural isotonic liquid.
The characteristics of coconut water make it an ideal
rehydrating and refreshing drink after physical exercise. In
the Indian subcontinent coconut water is used as a
rehydrating agent in cholera, diarrhea and dysentery;
treatment of cancer; as a hair nutrient in alopecia
1
Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 6(4): October-December, 2014, 195-201
199
Pharmacological activities of tender coconut water:
The first major scientific studies of the water of the coconut
were reported by Pradera and coworker in 1942. His
determination of protein, amino acid and chemical
constituents compared favorably with those of cow's milk.
Pradera identified 12 essential amino acids (including
cystine, methonine, valine, leucine, histidine). Coconut
water also contains folate also known vitamin B9. It was
identified in the late 1930s as the nutrient required in
reducing anemia in pregnancy which also help to prevent
mitochondrial toxicity induced by methanol metabolites
31
.
In yet another study, Saat et al have compared the
efficiency of fresh young coconut water, a carbohydrate
electrolyte beverage and plain water, for rehydration as an
oral hydration fluid after the exercise. Coconut water was
significantly sweeter, caused less nausea, fullness and no
stomach upset
6
. It can be used in protection against
dehydration and maintenance of osmotic pressure in the
body. The use of coconut water in dehydration, as a sport
drink and in treatment of a number of diseases such as
congestive cardiac diseases, diabetes and infectious diseases
have been reported
35
. Its specific gravity and pH closely
approximate that of blood plasma. Tender coconut water is
the natural isotonic beverage with almost the same level of
electrolyte balance as we have in our blood. Hence, it
deserves to be known as the "fluid of life". Prof. K.
Rajasuriya and colleagues were the first to use intravenous
tender coconut water to treat diarrhoea in Sri Lanka .Prof.
C.C. De Silva has used intravenous tender coconut water in
the treatment of infantile diarrhoea Dr. (Mrs) N. P.
Fernando has used tender coconut water intravenous as
rehydrating fluid in malnourished children with diarrhoea
It has been used in other areas of the world where
intravenous solutions cannot be obtained. Japanese have
used it intravenously in Sumatra in World War I. Pradera et
al have used intravenous the same for paediatric patients in
Havana, Cuba without any serious reactions. Dr. Ben
Eisman at Barnes Hospital, St. Louis has used fresh
intravenous tender coconut water in 21 patients without
evidence of any serious reactions
36
Reports of experimental studies on tender coconut
water:
Tender coconut water has been shown to exhibit
hepatoprotective and antioxidant effect
37
. It is also revealed
to have anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and wound healing
activity
38
. Interestingly Anurag, Rajamohan et al have
demonstrated that coconut water has cardio protective effect
in experimental myocardial infarction induced in rats and
this was probably attributed to the rich mineral in coconut
water especially potassium
39
.The presence of L-arginine
(300mg. L) in coconut water could have a cardioprotective
effect through its production of Nitric oxide which favours
vasorelaxation
6
. Nneli RO and Woyike OA have illustrated
that coconut water had protective effects on the ulcerated
gastric mucosa i.e. antiulcerogenic activity
40
. Incidentally,
tender coconut water is one among the food based
solutions, a viable alternative to glucose electrolyte
solutions for oral hydration in acute diarrhoea
41
.
Though coconut contains sugar, contrary to the popular
belief, the experimental studies by Preeta et al have shown
that the mature coconut water significantly attenuated
hyperglycemia and oxidative stress, indicating the
therapeutic potential of coconut water in diabetes
42
. In
support to the above finding Eze K. Nwangwa1 et al has
shown that coconut water has a hypoglycaemic effects and
coconut milk has a regenerative effect on the pancreatic
cells of alloxan induced diabetic rats
43
. The finding also
suggests that coconut water play a role in the decrease in
the treated rats’ weight as previously reported that coconut
water promotes weight loss.
44
Functional foods with preventive and therapeutic effects on
metabolic disorders are very helpful for the improvement of
lifestyle-related diseases. The bioactive phytochemicals
have become a very significant source for nutraceutical
ingredients
45
Coconut water is a natural nutritious beverage
can be considered as a functional food/ nutraceutical as it
contains several biologically active components. Studies
conducted by Preetha et al have clearly revealed that the
mature coconut water has beneficial effect against diabetes
induced complications and its effects were comparable to
that of standard drug, glibenclamide
46
.
Interestingly, a study has shown that the regular
consumption of either coconut water or mauby (a liquid
extracted from the bark of the mauby tree, Colubrina
arborescens), or particularly, a mixture of them, is effective
in bringing about the control of hypertension
32
.Prathapan et
al have evaluated that, Tender coconut water treatment had
a better antioxidant effect than streptokinase, while its
antithrombotic effects were comparable to that of
streptokinase. It was found that tender coconut water can
reduce oxidative stress and thrombosis, which are the two
main factors involved in the pathogenesis of myocardial
infarction. TCW treatment had a better antioxidant effect
than streptokinase, while its antithrombotic effects were
comparable to that of streptokinase
47.
Sandhya et al have
demonstrated the beneficial effects of tender coconut water
on lipid metabolism. Research has shown that Coconut
water supplementation increased hepatic bile acid and fecal
bile acids and neutral sterols (P<0.05). Coconut water has
lipid lowering effect
48
.
The overall results suggest that, Tender coconut water
treatment could prevent and reverse high blood pressure
induced by high fructose diet probably by inhibition of lipid
peroxidation, upregulation of antioxidant status and
improved insulin sensitivity
49
.
Interestingly A. A. Bakare et al has demonstrated the
fertility enhancing properties of coconut water by regulating
estrous cycle pattern. The study clearly depicts that green
coconut water is a promising substance in reversing
infertility induced as a result of high prolactin. It has been
reported to be a source of estrogen and may be responsible
for reversing infertility
50
. Studies by Nisaudah R have
demonstrated that the oral intake of Young coconut juice
significantly reduced the number of degenerating cortical
Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 6(4): October-December, 2014, 195-201
200
neuronal cells, which was induced by overiectomy. It has
further provided evidence that the young coconut juice has
neuroprotective effects in conditions that mimic menopause
in humans
7
.Coconut water also contains folate also known
vitamin B9. It was identified in the late 1930s as the
nutrient required in reducing anemia in pregnancy which
also help to prevent mitochondrial toxicity induced by
methanol metabolites
31
. Coconut water has been proved
beneficial in preventing kidney damage in diabetic patients.
The renal cyto-architecture has shown a protective/
regenerative effect following treatment with coconut
water
51
. Other health benefits of coconut water include its
use in the treatment of kidney stones, improving
complexion, acne, heart burn in pregnancy etc.
Other nonmedical uses:
Coconut water is an important additive in the tissue culture
media of several plants, including orchids and traditional
Chinese medicinal herbs. The cytokinins found in coconut
water support cell division, and thus promote rapid growth.
They are mostly used to propagate protocorm-like bodies of
orchids in plant industries. However, cytokinins cannot
completely substitute coconut water’s effects. This is due to
the presence of other phytohormones (such as auxin and
gibberellins or even undefined chemical components which
may exert synergistic effects with cytokinins. One
advantage of coconut water is that it results in considerable
plant cell proliferation without increasing the number of
undesirable mutations
52
.Non medical uses include the usage
of tender coconut water in lotions, for adulterating milk and
for manuring or composting. Fermented coconut water is
used as a rubber coagulant
23
Panchagavya is a concoction prepared by mixing five
products of cow. The three direct constituents are
cow dung, urine, and milk; the two derived products
are curd and ghee. These are mixed in proper ratio and then
allowed to ferment. The mixture which is made using yeast
as a fermenter, bananas, groundnut cake, and the water of
tender coconut, is a potent organic pesticide and growth
promoter.
Contraindications:
However, in patients with hyperkalemia such as renal
failure, acute adrenal insufficiency and in patients with low
urine output, the tender coconut water should be avoided.
When the coconut water is injected intravenously, in view
of its high potassium level (290 mp %) it may cause
hyperkalaemia (high level of serum potassium) in patients
with poor kidney function. Hence, it is best avoided in
patients with hyperkalaemia such as renal failure, acute
adrenal insufficiency and in patients with low urine output
due to haemolysis following blood transfusions and in case
of viper bite in whom serum potassium is usually very
high
53
.
DISCUSSION:
Modern research has in many ways rediscovered with
greater clarity, what ancient Ayurvedic classics have
mentioned. Tender coconut water is a gift of nature and best
remedy for thirst and providing better health. Analysis of
coconut water reveals that it contains 95.5% water, 4%
carbohydrates, 0.1% fats, protein and mineral salts.
25
Sodium also play a role in the normal irritability of muscles
and cell permeability, while potassium is a major cation of
intracellular fluid involved in protein synthesis. Studies
have shown that most high protein foods are rich in both
sodium and potassium. Thus, the Ayurvedic vision of
indicating narikelodaka in shrama (Fatigue) and shosha
(emaciation) are justified. Rajamohan et al have
demonstrated that coconut water has cardio protective effect
which exemplifies the Ayurvedic concept of hrudya. Study
by Eze K. Nwangwa regarding the beneficial effect of
Coconut water in preventing kidney damage in diabetic
patients and the protective/regenerative effect of the renal
cyto-architecture following treatment with coconut water
has reiterated the Ayurvedic view as bastishuddhikara
(diuretic) Being rich in sodium, potassium and other
electrolytes, tender coconut water is an important
alternative for oral rehydration, thus its indication in
Pipasa(thirst) is justified The findings by Zakaria et al
stating that coconut water has anti-inflammatory,
antipyretic and wound healing activity has scientifically
supported the folklore use of narikelodaka in the treatment
of inflammation, pyrexia and wound. The coconut palm is,
therefore, eulogised as 'Kalpavriksha' (the all giving tree) in
Indian classics, and thus the current review describes the
facts and phenomena related to its use in health and disease
prevention.
CONCLUSION:
Treatment with coconut water appears to be more natural,
less expensive and without any side effects. Thus, it
provides an accessible medicine source for various
disorders like diabetes, coronary vascular diseases, in the
developing countries. With health awareness growing
among consumers, healthy and natural refreshing drink like
tender coconut has great potential and scope in the country
as well as overseas. The market is attracting health
conscious groups with functional food buzz words like
longevity foods, nutritional foods, super foods, pharma
foods, phyto foods, therapeutic foods and others. These
foods contain biologically active components, intended to
enhance health and wellbeing. In the context of global
warming and extended spells of summer, tender coconut
water would be a much sought drink. Consequently, it
provides great profit to the farmers, imparts economical
benefits and also eco friendly too. It may further pave way
for the development of some nutritious soft drink like
products based on tender coconut. Better insights and
understanding of the properties of coconut water will,
therefore, help us to better utilize this marvellous and
multidimensional liquid with special biological properties
from nature.
Research Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 6(4): October-December, 2014, 195-201
201
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... Coconut water is an ancient tropical beverage containing substantial minerals, vitamins, sugars, amino acids, and polyphenol compounds, which is favored by consumers due to its nutritional characteristics and distinctive flavor (11,12). Coconut water not only exerts obvious antioxidant activity but also exhibits various pharmacological activities like anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antithrombotic, and diuresis renal regenerative actions, which play vital roles in health promotion and medicinal application, which could also be injected intravenously in an emergency (11)(12)(13). When used for hypertension treatment, coconut water could significantly decrease the blood pressure and cause frequent urination, which indicates its potential diuretic effects without electrolyte disorder. ...
... When used for hypertension treatment, coconut water could significantly decrease the blood pressure and cause frequent urination, which indicates its potential diuretic effects without electrolyte disorder. Furthermore, the potassium level in the plasma was increased after consuming coconut water termly, which could serve as a crucial factor in the anti-hypertension ability, indicating a potassium-sparing natriuretic (12,13). ...
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Some degenerative diseases of the nervous system have been linked to hormonal imbalance in postmenopausal women. It is argued that young coconut juice (YCJ) could have some estrogen-like characteristics, but this is still debatable. Our aim was to investigate this argument, and to examine whether YCJ has any neuroprotective effects. Four groups of female rats (10 in each group) were included in this study. These included sham-operated, overiectomized (ovx), ovx and receiving estradiol benzoate (EB) injections intraperitoneally, and ovx and receiving YCJ orally. At the end of the five-week study, the rats were sacrificed, and their serum estradiol (E2) level was measured by chemiluminescent immunoassay. Moreover, the rat brains were excised, and the cortical pyramidal neurons were examined using markers of neuronal cell death, namely anti-neurofilament (NF200) and anti-parvalbumin (PV) antibodies. Our results showed that the rat group which received YCJ had its serum E2 level significantly (P<0.05) higher than the ovx group which did not receive any treatment, and the sham-operated group. A similar trend was observed with the group which received EB injections, but no significant difference was present when the latter was compared with the sham-operated group. In addition, a significant reduction in neuronal cell death was observed in the YCJ-treated group, as compared to the ovx group which did not receive any treatment. This was indicated by the significantly (P<0.05) higher number of neurons which were immunopositive for NF200 and PV. Interestingly, the number of these neurons was also significantly (P<0.05) higher in the YCJ group, as compared to the EB group. This study confirms the argument that YCJ has estrogen-like characteristics, and it also adds more evidence to the observation that hormonal imbalance could induce some brain pathologies in females.
Chemical composition of coconut water
  • C C Ibe
  • Osuji
  • Eu Nwabueze
  • Eo Ahaotu
Ibe CC, CN Osuji, EU Nwabueze and EO Ahaotu, 2013. Chemical composition of coconut water. Inter J Agri Biosci, 2(5): 185-187.
Reni Mullukattil Lukose The Chemical Composition of Tender Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) Water and Coconut Meat and Their Biological Effect in Human Body
Reni Mullukattil Lukose The Chemical Composition of Tender Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) Water and Coconut Meat and Their Biological Effect in Human Body. International Journal of Green and Herbal Chemistry (IJGHC), June 2013 – August 2013; Vol.2, No.3; 723-729.
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