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Want to know how the coconut got its name? The Spanish are responsible. They felt that the coconut looked like the face of a monkey and therefore named it ‘monkey face’ in Spanish. Obviously, the name has caught on. But the silly origin story aside, coconut oil has been in use for thousands of years not only in India but also in most of the regions where the coconut palm grows.

Now, if you’re wondering how old the coconut itself is, well, fossils of coconut palms have been found in places as far apart as New Zealand and Bangladesh and these fossils are thought to be as old as 15 million years. Is it any wonder that coconut oil is an essential part of different cultures? Let’s take a look.



As Indians, we are familiar with the use of coconut oil for hair. But did you know that it is much more effective than other oils because it penetrates to the shaft of the hair? In addition, Ayurveda has considered coconut oil an important part of its healing processes. 

Papua New Guinea

People in Papua New Guinea use the oil to moisturise their skin and treat their hair. But that’s not all. They have also been using it to treat skin conditions and even illnesses and injuries.


Jamaicans use coconut oil as a health tonic and believe that it is very beneficial for the heart. In fact, so strongly do they believe in its healing properties that if you fall ill there, the first thing they’re going to make you drink is coconut oil.


People living here see coconut oil as something that can prevent illnesses and drink a glass of the oil to ward off sickness. They, like the Jamaicans, also believe that drinking coconut oil when you are sick ensures a speedy recovery.


While Samoans also use coconut oil for injuries and illnesses, they also massage children with this oil. It is believed that it can make a child’s bones strong and ensure that the skin is healthy and free of blemishes.


The Filipinos believe that using coconut oil for one’s hair allows hair to remain black, thick and shiny well into one’s old age. It also gives relief from aching muscles and joints.


Indonesian women use coconut oil as a moisturizer not only for skin but also for their hair.

Did you know that the coconut is mentioned in the Sri Lankan Mahawamsa which dates back to the 4th century BC? It also finds itself mentioned in the Mahabharat, Ramayan and even the Puranas. The ancients certainly knew what they were talking about when it comes to this particular nut.


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