There are as many uses for steam distilled coconut oil as there are limbs on the tree of life. However, with our line of products, its most valuable use is to dilute and “carry” essential oils.
There is one huge difference between steam distilled coconut oil and other carrier oils. The process of distillation has caused its molecular size to be the same as essential oils. Therefore they blend perfectly, they never separate; and, this special oil never turns rancid to ruin your valuable essential oils. Just as importantly, it does not interfere with the penetration of essential oil into your skin. It spreads so smoothly over your skin it will distribute just a few drops of essential oil over a large area of skin. So, it extends the life and value of your precious essential oils.
The History and the Facts:
Steam distilled coconut oil was first developed about 40 years ago by physicians who needed to find an omega-3-rich oil that could be digested easily by critically ill patients and newborn babies. In the plant kingdom there is no better or healthier source of omega 3 than coconut oil (not to mention many other benefits).
What scientists discovered is that fresh coconut meat can be steam-distilled, much like essential oil. At this level of heat one of the mid-chain triglycerides, the one which results in saturated fat, disappears. What then condenses is pure clear liquid oil. Nothing is added to the oil, and no chemicals are used in the process—just steam distillation. This fractures the molecular structure and the remaining components of the oil are in a fluid form that can be more easily digested and assimilated by the body. It has a milder taste and smell, which I personally prefer for cooking since most recipes outside the tropics can be easily overwhelmed by the dominant flavor of coconut. It is especially wonderful in salad dressings, and does not go “solid” in the refrigerator! It still possesses an extremely high grade source of omega 3.
All coconut oil is refined, and is normally a saturated fat that goes solid at temperatures under 76 degrees. Ours will remain liquid under all conditions. In reality good options have their place. Fractionated coconut oil is especially good for absorption through the skin. The healing and beauty value of coconut oil is legendary. However, if you can’t spend your days feeling like a well-oiled sun-bather there is not much practical application. The large molecular size of saturated coconut oil meant that absorption through the pores of your body would be endlessly slow, and you would probably tissue off most of it with impatience to get dressed or lay you head on the pillow. Not to mention the fact that saturated fat can clog one’s pores and contribute to whiteheads. So it’s not surprising that soon after this form of coconut oil was developed as a special food source, high-end cosmetic companies learned to value its place in their lotions and for skin therapy. The small molecular size of fractionated coconut oil permits a light application of it to be absorbed to a satiny finish within ten to fifteen minutes, and it is non-comedogenic. The health, anti-aging, and beautification results are simply amazing.
So, why have you not heard about this before? Well, first of all it has been very expensive until recently. Secondly, it has been a closely guarded “trade secret.’ And, it has had very few advocates in the open market. Whole food campaigners will say it’s no longer a whole food. Technically, they’re right. If whole-food therapy is why a person would consume coconut oil they should stay with the beautiful white solid saturated fat. However, beware that not all coconut oil is created equally. Only a small amount is actually made from raw fresh coconut meat into a clean pure oil known as “virgin” or “extra virgin.” (I’ve attached more information about the “coconut story” for those who are interested.)
For us—and for you, our customer—the most important thing to present here is the relevance of this wonderful product for our line of essential oils. Fractionated coconut oil is the only carrier oil that is compatible in molecular size with essential oil so it will never “separate.” It will also never turn rancid or spoil your precious essential oils. On top of that it is wonderful for your skin. With one drop of essential oil in a few drops of our special distilled coconut oil you can easily glide a beautiful healing fragrance over both hands and arms.
As I have said so often, “less is often more” with essential oil, because it is so potent it can overwhelm the senses. Our best recommendation to have a softer and gentler experience was to use a diffuser. Now there is another choice.
This story is full of both good and bad news. A consumer of coconut oil would be wise to read it all. One thing we can be comforted by is there are no GMO varieties of coconuts, and there are very few pesticides used on coconut trees. Coconuts grow wild, as they have for millions of years, very high up in the air, so they are never sprayed. The biggest liability with most coconut oil is the industry of refining it.
Coconut producing countries have a large sustainable industry based on the production of copra. Copra is dried coconut flesh, which is then refined into basic COCONUT OIL. It is a completely different form of oil compared to Virgin or Extra Virgin Coconut Oil which is the form most valued in our western market.
It all begins as harvesters gather wild coconuts that have fallen on the ground, after which they cut the nuts in half and remove the white coconut meat. For their personal use the villagers will keep a small quantity of the fresh meat and refine it into what we would label “Virgin Coconut Oil.” However, most of the coconut meat is dried on a rack over a fire (they call them copra smokers) which helps to dry out the coconut meat and it turns a grey color with a very rancid smell. The biggest and most abundant amounts of wild coconuts are found in remote villages scattered across the Pacific and Asia. Sometime it can take up to 3-4 months before the villagers can get their bags of smoked copra to the big copra mills in town. The mills are usually situated 100’s of miles away from these villagers. The copra mills resemble a smaller version of a sugar crushing mill and processing of the copra is similar to that found in the sugar mills. The copra is pressed, and because the coconut is very smoky or rancid, they use chemicals to bleach and clean the oil. This is the reason why this style of coconut oil processing (from copra) came to have such a bad reputation, and why one should not assume that all coconut oil is wholesome.
Copra-based refined coconut oils are usually referred to as “RBD coconut oils.” RBD stands for: refined, bleached, and deodorized. If no description is given and just the plain term “coconut oil” is used on the label, it is probably an RBD coconut oil. It should be noted that copra is also exported to the United States by container loads, where companies refine it into non-edible uses.
Let’s turn now to “virgin coconut oils”. The common denominator that should exist in all virgin coconut oils is that they start with fresh coconut and not copra. Extracting and gently refining coconut oil from freshly squeezed coconut meat is an ancient tradition in tropical countries. Virgin coconut oil is derived through a “wet-milling” process. With this method, the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat without drying the coconut meat first. “Coconut milk” is expressed first by pressing it out of the wet coconut meat. The oil is then further separated from the water. Methods which can be used to separate the oil from the water include boiling, fermentation, refrigeration, enzymes, mechanical centrifuge, and steam distillation.
Steam-distilled coconut oil is more refined. However, the process demands that it begins fresh wet-milled coconut from which it can be distilled. It is derived from the purest coconut meat with no chemical processing whatsoever. Granted, the product is no longer a whole food since one of the mid-chain fatty acids disappears in the process. However, it meets all the high standards of essential oil creators, as well as satisfying rigorous demands of the medical profession to provide specialized fats for severely critical patients. Dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, and high-end cosmetic manufacturers love it for its marvelous benefits to the skin. You will be the judge of what’s right for you, but we highly recommend its consideration.