Last year, my daughter had a terrible case of eczema. I followed the doctor's instructions to a T. I rarely bathed her and never used soap. I lotioned her religiously, but no matter what I did, it wouldn't go away. In fact, it spread from her back to her chest, arms, and legs.
Finally, out of desperation, I tried adding coconut oil to her bath water and smearing coconut oil all over her body. Within a few days, the eczema was gone.
Since then, I've learned that raw virgin coconut oil is super healthful. It's chockful of lauric acid (a key component of breast milk). It has antimicrobial, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It also stimulates the thyroid gland, and it's easy to digest.
A few months ago, I saw that Dr. Oz featured coconut oil on one of his shows. I don't really watch his show, but he apparently recommends coconut oil topically as a moisturizer as well as internally for ulcers. He also says it can help with weight loss. (You can view video clips from his show if you like -- Coconut Oil Super Powers Part 1 and Coconut Oil Super Powers Part 2.)
Of course, all these benefits are true ONLY for raw virgin coconut oil -- NOT the processed (refined) kind.
I use quite a lot of coconut oil these days. Wherever I can, I try to substitute coconut oil for all or part of the fat in a recipe. I also use it as a moisturizer, in the bath, on my hair -- I even give myself facials with coconut oil.
I guess coconut oil is becoming mainstream because I can find it at my local supermarkets. That's where I got my first (rather pricey) jar. However, because coconut oil doesn't really go rancid like olive oil, I now purchase it by the gallon from Nutiva. (I also get a better deal that way.)
I know this all sounds interesting, but you're probably wondering how it tastes, right? Raw virgin coconut oil has a really lovely light coconut aroma and flavor.
If you've never tried it before, I highly recommend it. It can really give recipes a new flavorful dimension. And if you don't like it, you can always bathe in it. Your skin will thank you for it! :-)
If you have used coconut oil, I'd love to hear what you think about it. How do you use it?