Fractionated Coconut oil is a carrier I use a lot of. Its long shelf life means that it won’t go rancid and it is particularly helpful for use in topical massage. Once I started using this oil for massage, my sheets were much easier to clean. I also had the added benefit of not having to regularly throw them out because they had a rancid oil smell.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
Family: Areaceae (Palmae)
Description: The coconut is a large palm tree growing to around 30 meters (98 feet) tall with pinnate leaves and a fibrous root system. The tree continuously produces both male and female flowers (with the female flower being much larger than the male flower) on the same stem. The coconut is its fruit and grows in clusters. Actually, coconuts are technically not a nut but a drupe.
History Folklore: The name Coconut is said to be derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word ‘coco’ which means ‘head’ or ‘skull’. It has also been suggested that it comes from the Portuguese word ‘coquo’ meaning a ‘goat kid’. Apparently, they thought that the three indentations on the coconut shell looked like facial features.
Cultivation: As these palms need warmth and moisture all year round in order to grow well and produce fruit they are generally cultivated in hot and wet tropical climates. They are grown in many different parts of the world. Although the palms start producing fruit around 5 – 6 years after being planted, full production is only reached once the palm is around 12 years old. Once the flower is pollinated it takes around 12 months for the coconut to fully ripen.
Harvest: The coconuts are produced all year round and are generally harvested by hand when they are fully ripe at around 11 – 12 months. Coconuts may be refrigerated and stored for up to two months, but only last around 2 weeks at room temperature. Coconuts produce several edible products including coconut milk, coconut water, the white flesh, called copra and the oil. When harvested for their fibrous husks, which can be used for making mats, brooms and brushes, the coconuts are taken before they are fully mature.
Extraction: Cold pressing the meat of the coconut produces a greasy, semi-solid white waxy oil. This has a bland taste and a characteristic aroma. Fractionated Coconut oil is obtained by applying a second process. This hot extraction process which removes the long-chain fatty acids from the coconut oil. Fractionated coconut oil is liquid and virtually odorless. It is a lighter than the semi-solid oil and provides very good slippage for massage. It is also often used in massage applications because it does not stain the linen.
Shelf Life: Indefinite shelf life
Cautions: Although used for all skin types, there have been occasions when it has been found to irritate sensitive skin.
Actions: This oil can be used on all skin types. It has anti-aging, antibacterial, anti-dandruff, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, cicatrizant, emollient and moisturizing properties.
Uses: Used on all skin types. Very helpful for dry, mature and sun-damaged skin as well as oily skin, acne, and dermatitis. Often used for wound healing and in acne preparations and particularly helpful for overnight spot treatments. A helpful carrier for dry, itching conditions. Coconut oil also has some antimicrobial properties. This makes it helpful in dealing with fungal skin conditions such as ringworm, athlete’s foot or nail infections.
References Stacey Dugliss-Wesselman, The Home Apothecary, 2013 Jan Kusmirek, Liquid Sunshine, Vegetable Oils for Aromatherapy, 2002 Julia Lawless, The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Sourcebook, 2017 Susan M Parker, Power of the Seed, Your guide to oils for health & beauty, 2014 Len Price, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, 1999 Danielle Sage, the Aromatherapy Beauty Guide, 2017