King coconut (Cocos nucifera) is a variety of coconut, native to Sri Lanka where it is known as Thambili (Sinhalaතැඹිලි). Sweeter than regular coconuts, there are several sub varieties of the king coconut-the most common being the "red dwarf" (kaha thambili, commonly referred to as gon thambili). The other variety is "Ran Thambili", a smaller variety containing about forty nuts in a bunch. The king coconut tree is shorter than coconut trees, and are found commonly growing wild in many areas of the country.
King coconut water has been used in Ayurveda (herbal medicine). One of the most common uses is a mixture of Aralu powder (Myrobalans) added to the water of one king coconut.
Sri Lanka now exports packaged king coconut water in a variety of brands.
The King Coconut trees are abundantly grown freely throughout the coastal belt of Sri Lanka with little or no human intervention and also are a common sight in most Sri Lankans’ homes.
The main constituents of the King Coconut water are easily digestible sugars, minerals and vitamins. The minerals are potassium and sodium, the ‘serum electrolytes’ of which potassium is found in much higher concentrations than sodium.
The King coconut water also contains other key minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. It also contains vitamin C and some vitamins of the B-complex group such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, pyridoxine and folate.
Laden with such vital nutrients; the King Coconut water has multiple health benefits and the Sri Lankans treasure this thirst-quenching nature’s gift. Some of its benefits are outlined below:
· As it is rich in serum electrolytes, it is used as a rehydrant fluid and energy booster especially after physical activities.
· The vitamins in the King Coconut water are required as coenzymes essential for cellular functions.
· Cytokinins in the King Coconut water are believed to reduce the risk of degenerative and age-related diseases and also helps to fight against cancer.
· The minerals in this water helps to regulate the blood pressure levels and also promote the general wellness of our being.
· As King Coconut water contains higher dietary soluble fibre and naturally occurring bioactive enzymes; it aids in digestion and improves constipation. It is useful in treating diarrhoea and cholera and other gastrointestinal diseases.
· King Coconut water acts as a diuretic and flushes our toxins and drugs from the body. It is also effective in the treatment of bladder infections as well as kidney and urethral stones.
As it is isotonic with human blood, it had been used during World War II for emergency plasma transfusion; being a natural substitute for saline solution.
· Since the King Coconut water contains more sugar, it is tastier and sweeter when compared to water of other varieties of coconuts although its sugar content is much lesser than other aerated drinks and processed fruit juices.
Thus, the King Coconut water brimming with nutrition and vitality is considered to be a ‘pharmaceutical wonder’ or a ‘living pharmacy’ by Sri Lankans. And in recent years, Sri Lanka has been packing this ‘fluid of life’ into tetra packs and bottles and widely exported to other countries wherein consumers have adopted the coconut water as ‘Mother Nature’s Sports Drink’.
The craze and virtues of coconut water appeal to the health-conscious people who are increasingly preferring it over fizzy drinks and packed juices; the King Coconut water is surely making waves further from its native Sri Lanka.