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Coconut palms are one of the most abundant tropical plants, and its fruits are a staple of the diets for those that live with coconut in the tropics around the world. The Latin name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. Coconut is a member of the Arecaceae or Palmaceae family, along with dates, saw palmetto, and palms. All members of the Arecaceae family are monocots, a term that refers to the first sprout having a single leaf, as opposed to two. Monocot trees are unique in that they do not technically have wood, nor do they create growth rings in the cross-section of the trunk. Coconut’s name is said to originate from the early Spanish explorers who called it ‘coco’, their word for ‘monkey face’, as they found a resemblance between the two. 

It is unknown where coconuts may have originated from, though some researchers believe that coconuts were first cultivated in India and Southeast Asia, and may have either been transported or have floated world-wide. It was an extremely important resource for the early people and civilizations, as coconut provides multiple necessities in one package: potable water, a high-calorie food rich in saturated fats, and fiber that can be made into rope. 


Monolaurin is a naturally-occurring fat present in both coconut oil and breast milkMonolaurin, also known as glyceryl monolaurate, glyceryl laurate, or 1-Lauroyl-glycerol, is a monoglyceride (a single molecule of glycerol attached to a fatty acid) Coconut oil is 48% lauric acid, which is valued for its use in the food and health supplement industries. Lauric acid converts to monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin is used to prevent bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. Allegedly, it also helps with skin conditions, strengthens the immune system and balances bacteria in the gut.  

Since monolaurin is the same size as the fat molecule of the virus, it absorbs into the cell’s fat layer. As it has poor binding power, the skin envelope breaks apart. This prevents the virus from attaching and entering host cells, stopping infection and replication.