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How Effective Is Coconut as a Laxative?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The use of coconut as a laxative is not common or highly effective. This fruit can be used to rehydrate the body, cleanse the gastrointestinal tract of harmful bacteria and parasites, and improve the functioning of the metabolism. Too much coconut water can cause watery bowel movements in some individuals, though not for everyone. When this occurs, doctors typically recommend that those users decrease their consumption until bowel movements return to normal.

A coconut is a fruit with a hard, fibrous outer shell which is removed prior to preparation and eating. The portions of the coconut which are suitable for consumption include the soft, white fleshy meat found along the interior of the seed, and the water which naturally occurs inside the meat and the seed. When the meat has been ground and pressed, it produces a white liquid known as coconut milk. This milk can be used alone, or combined with the coconut water of the seed. Coconut meat and milk are high in oil content, and this oil is often pressed from the organic materials and sold separately as a cooking additive or dietary supplement.

The meat of the fruit contains the most fiber out of all of the edible portions. One serving of this fibrous, white tissue can contain as much as seven grams of fiber. Fiber is the portion of food which cannot be digested by the body. It often causes an individual to feel full faster, remain satisfied, and exits the body without depositing fat. Eating coconut meat can increase the body's bowel movements during the course of a day, though it is unlikely to create a laxative effective. The consumption of the meat of a coconut as a laxative is typically not advisable for those suffering from chronic constipation as it may worsen the bloating, cramping, and gas associated with this condition.

The milk, water, and oil of the coconut are equally beneficial for improving an individual's overall health, though they do not tend to contribute to the use of coconut as a laxative. These portions of the fruit are significantly lower in calories than the meat of the coconut, and contain some essential vitamins and nutrients. They may be extracted from fresh coconuts or purchased in pre-packaged bottles in local grocery stores. Coconut milk has been shown to improve the functioning of most metabolisms, giving users an energy boost and causing their bodies to use calories more efficiently.

The content and composition of coconut water is similar to that of plasma found in blood. For this reason, this type of water is used in some tropical areas as a re-hydration fluid. It is commonly given to young babies and children with intestinal discomforts, and to those suffering from intense diarrhea, to maintain the balance of fluids in the body. When this milk is extracted without exposing it to any outside environmental factors, it can be administered directly into the blood stream. This was practiced during World War II and Vietnam by military doctors when they did not have access to intravenous plasma solutions for wounded soldiers.

The consumption of too much of this type of water can cause a negative effect on the bowels of some individuals. This amount of water necessary to achieve this differs on a case by case basis. This occurrence is not common enough to validate the use of the water of the coconut as a laxative. Doctors frequently recommend that patients who do use coconut water do so based on their own bowel tolerance. When their stools become watery, users should decrease the amount of coconut water they are drinking in a day.

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Discussion Comments
By anon988162 — On Feb 08, 2015

For some freaking reason, I have lately started eating more coconut than normal, and it is true that natural coconut stimulates the bowels powerfully! Therefore I just googled it, and found that others thought so too. I made this dessert with coconut milk, not that much, and I feel rather barfy now. However, you know, if you had dried up impacted fecal matter issues, it would be good to know!

By anon962447 — On Jul 23, 2014

I live in Texas and it is not. So I decided to drink coconut water every day or every other day. Just 8 ounces. Well, after my third day I got very loose stools and some diarrhea for a day or two. Also some aching, etc. I went off of it, got better and then went back on. Same thing again. It wasn't severe, but there you have it. I guess it just depends upon your system.

By anon352459 — On Oct 23, 2013

I ate a half cup of dried coconut and got a really painful gut ache, then had explosive diarrhea for 10 hours.

By anon328055 — On Apr 01, 2013

I ran the meat of a small mature coconut through my twin gear juicer last night to obtain fresh coconut cream. I mixed this with the coconut water and drank it. In retrospect, I shouldn't have consumed so much.

Last night was terrible. I woke up three times with diarrhea. I threw up. Then, when I woke up I found out that I lost control during the night. I think it just oozed out. Now I'm afraid next time I check my underwear I'll have another surprise. That was my experience anyway.

By burcinc — On Nov 22, 2012

@turkay1-- I think that's right because homeopathy practitioners have people take coconut oil to cleanse their system.

By ddljohn — On Nov 21, 2012

@cloudel, @DylanB-- I think there is some confusion here. The part of the coconut that has fiber is the meat, not the water. Coconut milk is made from the meat of the coconut so that will have some fiber as well.

Also, the more processed the coconut is, the less fiber it retains. So fresh coconut meat will have the most laxative effect, whereas the shredded or creamed versions will not have as much.

Remember folks, it's the fiber that increases bowel movements. Fiber isn't digested so it moves out of the stomach and into the bowels where it pulls water into the intestines triggering a bowel movement. You cannot get a laxative effect from a part of the coconut that doesn't have fiber.

What some of you might be experiencing with coconut water and milk might be a sensitivity to coconut or a digestion problem.

By candyquilt — On Nov 20, 2012

I don't know about coconut itself, but coconut oil does have a stool softening effect. I don't think it's a laxative, it doesn't make you go to the restroom more often, it just makes things easier.

I noticed that coconut oil had this effect when I was in India where they cook a lot with coconut oil.

By disciples — On Oct 28, 2012

I have used coconut as a laxative successfully many times. I like it because it is a true natural alternative to the chemical medicines that they sell over the counter. Why use something that has tons of unintended side effects when you could use something that comes directly from nature?

By DylanB — On Oct 21, 2012

I eat coconut in desserts all the time, but I've never had diarrhea from it. I love coconut cake, and shredded coconut on top of ambrosia is excellent.

By wavy58 — On Oct 21, 2012

@orangey03 – It really doesn't taste that much like coconut. You can detect a hint of it, but unless flavors are added to it, it's a little bland.

I drink coconut water for the electrolytes, but it really doesn't do anything for my bowel movements. It definitely doesn't act like a laxative.

You may be disappointed if you drink this hoping for better bowel regulation. If you drink it for the health benefits, you'll really get something out of it, though.

By orangey03 — On Oct 20, 2012

I've heard that coconut water is really good for you. Even if all it does is keep your bowel movements regular instead of acting as a laxative, this would be good.

I know that it has a ton of potassium. It has other nutrients that we need, as well, and it's being marketed as a type of sports drink.

What does coconut water taste like? Does it have a powerful coconut flavor, or it is more like water?

By cloudel — On Oct 19, 2012

I am sensitive to the laxative effect of coconut, so I can't drink coconut milk or water. I once ordered a bowl of soup from a Thai restaurant that was made with coconut milk, and I had diarrhea for hours!

However, my friend was unaffected by it. I found that strange. It had such a powerful cleansing effect on me that I had to drink lots of water just to remain hydrated!

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