|Sunday, 13 January 2002|
The 'Fluid of Life'
by Dr. D.P. Atukorale
Tender coconut water has several medicinal properties that are beneficial to one's health.
They include the following:
1. Good for feeding infants suffering from intestinal disturbances
2. Oral rehydration medium.
3. Contains organic compounds containing growth promoting properties.
4. Keeps the body cool.
5. Application on the body prevents prickly heat and summer boils and subsides the rashes caused by small pox, chicken pox and measles etc.
6. Presence of saline and albumin makes it a good drink in cholera cases
7. Excellent tonic for the old and the sick.
8. Diuretic (a substance which tends to increase flow of urine).
9. Can be injected intravenously in emergency cases such as cholera and dysentery when other pyrogen-free fluids are not available.
10. Can be used as a blood plasma substitute because it is sterile, pyrogen-free and does not produce heat, and does not destroy blood cells.
11. Aids the quick absorption of drugs and make their peak concentration in the blood easier by its electrolyte effect.
12. Urinary antiseptic and eliminates poisons in case of mineral poisoning.
A word of warning
Prof. K. Rajasuriya and Colleagues were the first to use i.v. T.C.W. to treat diarrhoea in Sri Lanka (CMJ Vol. 2, 1954, 255-261), Prof. C.C. de Silva used intravenous TCW in the treatment of infantile diarrhoea (Paediatric International Rome, 19, 1958, 225) Dr.(Mrs.) N.P. Fernando used TCW as i.v. rehydrating fluid in malnourished children with diarrhoea (J.C.H. Vol. 4, 1955, 57-59).
When TCW is injected intravenously in view of its high potassium level (290mg%) it may cause hyperkalaemia (high level of serum potassium) in patients with poor kidney function.
In cases of patients with dysentery and cholera and other types of severe diarrhoea, in whom, serum potassium level may be low TCW can be used both orally and intravenously. TCW has been used intravenously to treat diarrhoea both in Sri Lanka and abroad by various researchers.
As mentioned earlier TCW is best avoided in patients with hperkalaemia such as renal failure, acute adrenal insufficiency and in patients with low urine output due to haemolysis following blood transfusion and in case of viper bite in whom serum potassium is usually very high.
Sugars in the form of glucose and fructose form an important constituent of TCW.
The concentration of sugar steadily increases from 1.5% to about 5.5% in the early months of maturation and this slowly falls to about 2% at the stage of full maturity.
Sucrose which is a non-reducing sugar, appears in the late stages and this increases with maturity.
So tender king coconut water and 'Wewara' water do not contain significant amounts of sucrose 90% of total sugar in mature coconut is sucrose and hence the different taste of mature coconut water.
Tender coconut water also contains most of the minerals such as potassium (290mg%), Sodium (42mg%), Calcium (44mg%), magnesium (10mg%), Posphorus (9.2mg%), iron (106 mg%), and copper (26mg%), (Source: Satyavate Krishnankutty, 1987).
TCW also contains traces of sulphur and chlorides and small amounts of protein.
Produced by Lake House