Coconut (Narikel or nariyel)
It is a tree of the palm family (Arecaceae). It is one of the most important crops in the tropics. The slender, leaning, ringed trunk of the tree rises to a height of upto 80 ft. (25 metres) from a swollen base and is surmounted by a graceful crown of giant, feather-like leaves. Flowering begins in trees five-year-old and is continuous thereafter. Fruits require a year to ripen; the annual yield per tree may reach, 100 but 50 is considered good. Mature fruits, ovoid or ellipsoid in shape, 100 to 450 millimetres (12 to 18 inches) in length and 150 to 200 millimetres (6 to 8 inches) in diameter, have a thick, fibrous husk surrounding the familiar single seeded nut of commerce. A hard shell encloses the insignificant embryo with its abundant endosperm, composed of both meat and liquid.
Coconut palms flourish best close to the sea or low lying areas a few feet above high water where there is circulating ground water and an ample rainfall. The harvested coconut yields copra; the dried kernel or meat from which Coconut oil the world's high ranking vegetable oil, is extracted. Coconut oil has many uses like manufacture of soaps and shampoos, detergents, edible oils, margarines, vegetable shortenings, synthetic rubber, glycerine, hydraulic fluid and plasticizer. Copra meal is a livestock feed and fertilizer and shredded coconut is a familiar item on grocer's shelves. Besides the edible kernels and the drink obtained from the green-nuts, the husk yields coir, a fibre highly resistant to salt water and used in the manufacture of ropes, mats, baskets, brushes and brooms.
Other useful products derived from the coconut palm include toddy, palm-cabbage and construction materials; The liquid inside green nuts offers a refreshing drink during hot summer months which keeps the body cool. It subsides pitta and prevents sun-stroke, heat-stroke and vomiting. It is given in thirst, fever and uninary disorders; it is a blood purifier and checks travel sickness and nausea. The milky juice expressed from the pulp of the immature nut is nutritive and anthelmintic. It is very useful in malnutrition, general debility, fevers and urinary disorders. The liquid inside the ripe nut is highly diuretic and so should be taken only in small doses.
Benefit and uses of Coconut.
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