What’s All This About Coconut Oil?

natural coconut walnut oilThese days, when it comes to coconut oil, all this is quite a lot. It might not be Starbucks, but coconut oil  is everywhere enough that it’s developed its own backlash.

Missing the Point
The problem with backlashes is – for the sake of a snappy headline and a hip take on cultural trends – they miss the point of trends. They miss seeing that the popularity of coconut oil coincides with a general cultural reassessment of traditional food and diet beliefs. As high as coconut oil is in saturated fat, nutritional thinking until recently would connect it only to raising bad HDL cholesterol and therefore bad for the heart. The popularity of coconut oil is evidence of questioning conventional beliefs, looking beyond the surface for more substantial science.

Traditional Food Wisdom Wasn’t Enough
soap and oil bottles and wood table 151x151The truth is, coconut oil is also especially potent at raising good HDL cholesterol. Nothing was as simple as it seemed on the surface. It wasn’t just bad anymore. It was also, well, good. Plus, as an oil, it wasn’t just fat. It was high in anti-oxidants. It might actually contain its own balance.

Coconut Oil in Soapmaking
As popular as coconut oil is in food, soapmaking discovered it long ago. And once it was discovered, coconut oil became a standard.

As a soapmaking oil, coconut is many things at once. Some oils contribute only one characteristic to soap – fluffy lather, bar hardness, or nourishing capability. Coconut oil has a part in them all. And because it contains mainly medium-chain fatty acids, unlike most other oils, coconut oil enhances a soap’s interaction with water, adding to its Bottle of fir tree essential oilcleansing properties.

From the Beginning
Coconut oil has been a part of Botanie soap from the beginning. With all it contributes, it’s been at the heart of our base oil blend for 18 years. Which, indirectly, speaks to its current popularity. Cultural cycles run so quickly in our era of social media and instant news that backlash is nearly always on the heels of popularity. Trends often seem no more than that, here then gone, when in fact many have much to contribute to the present and the future.

Though it has for some, coconut oil will never replace beauty products in everyone’s bathroom. Even though it’s most often solid at room temperature, it won’t be replacing butter in everyone’s kitchen. But judging from its history in soapmaking, and its reconsidered status as a food, coconut oil seems much more likely to find its sweet spot as a future food tradition rather than disappear as a trend.