Coconut water is misconstrued and continues to suffer from myths and ignorance from people across the world.
However, for Abdallah Rashid, a long serving coconut vendor in Mombasa explained why Kenyans should embrace the use of ‘medicine’ coconut water to cure and prevent diseases.
Coconut water is a liquid that forms naturally inside the fruit and is a common drink in tropic countries and a unique tree where nearly all parts of the tree can be used in some manner or another.
The coconut itself has many food uses including milk, meat, sugar and oil as well as functioning as its own dish and cup.
The husk was also burned for fuel by natives, but today a seed fibre called coir is taken from the husk and used to make brushes, mats, fishnets and rope.
A very potent fermented toddy or drink is also made from the coconut palm’s sap. Coconut oil, a saturated fat made from dried coconut meat, is used for commercial frying and in candies and margarines, as well as in non-edible products such as soaps and cosmetics.
Rashid said his life has solely depended on the sale and use of coconut.
“I have been in this business of coconut water since 2009 and it has helped both my family and myself in terms of living and medicinal use since everyday all my family members drink it,” said Rashid.
Rashid said coconuts take long to mature but the trees bloom up to thirteen times a year.
“So fruit is constantly forming yielding a continuous harvest year-round. An average harvest from one tree runs about 60 coconuts, with some trees yielding three times that amount,” he said.
The coconut’s name is a bit of a misnomer, since it is botanically classified as a drupe and not a nut. It is the largest seed known.
Coconut water is believed to cure kidney disease, according to Rashid.
“My sister was sick and we took her to hospital where she was found to be having a kidney problem. She was given medicine and was encouraged to use 4 glasses of coconut water a day. She has been using it and her health has drastically improved,” said Rashid.
In Kenya, coconut drinks are popular at the Coast but they are slowly making entry to Nairobi, where several vendors have started selling the drink.
Dr. Issa Juma from Coast General Hospital said it has indeed been proven that coconut water has some medicinal value since it contains some organic compounds and other important properties.
“We encourage people to use coconut water. It has medicinal value. In fact, it is so surprising that people who should have utilized the natural coconut water and get healed at home still can come for our assistance at hospital and we treat them with the same medicine carrying variety of content found in the coconut water,’’ Said Juma.
Coconut water is known for less fat and no cholesterol hence better as compared to mil.
During the Pacific War between 1941 and 45, coconuts were extensively used to give plasma transfusions to wounded soldiers.