Medicinal uses for coconut oil include treatment for thyroid conditions, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, head lice, psoriasis, dry skin and chronic fatigue, notes WebMD. Other conditions it may be used for include irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's disease and high cholesterol. Some people also use it to improve growth and weight gain in premature newborns.
However, more evidence is required to substantiate its effectiveness for these uses. Coconut contains saturated oil, known as medium chain triglycerides. It works differently from other saturated oils and has a moisturizing effect when applied to the skin. It is mixed with ylang ylang oil and anise oil to treat head lice. People use the oil together with ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A to treat psoriasis, but it doesn't seem to be effective. Developing research shows that applying coconut oil twice a day to the skin improves skin moisture, states WebMD.
Coconut oil if safe if used in amounts commonly available in foods. It is also likely to be safe when applied to the scalp together with other herbs. Due to its high-fat content, there is some concern that it might lead to an increase in weight if used in excess. Still, there is no scientific research to ascertain these concerns. It is also safe in pregnant and breastfeeding women if used correctly.