Monday, February 6, 2012

Coconut Oil and Pink Eye

Update: This post has been getting a lot of traffic and many questions. I love the questions and I'm thankful for the interest! I just wanted to kindly remind my readers that as stated in my disclaimer, I am not licensed to diagnose or treat any condition. I'm simply a mom looking for natural ways to take care of  my family. I will share my advice and experience, but that's all it is. Thanks for understanding!
This past week our family got hit with pink eye (conjunctivitis). I don't even remember the last time any of us had pink eye. Aside from some stuffy noses and the occasional brain tumor, we've kept relatively healthy around here. But, in the past few weeks we've been slammed with some stubborn viruses that pop up with a fever and then one with pink eye. (Thank you, Jesus, for sparing us from the pukies or anything bathroom related.)

Knowing the kiddos were bouncing around stuffy noses, coughs, and fevers, we figured this virus had to work itself out. But, if you've ever had pink eye you know that gritty feeling can be pretty unbearable. So, I thought of our trusted organic coconut oil. Why organic coconut oil? Organic coconut oil boasts antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, and pretty much antizombieapocalyptic properties. One reason is because of this beautiful thing called lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid/triglyceride with antiviral properties that is found in just a few things besides coconut oil. One of those things is breast milk.
The lauric acid in coconut oil is used by the body to make the same disease-fighting fatty acid derivative monolaurin that babies make from the lauric acid they get from their mother's milk. The monoglyceride monolaurin is the substance that keeps infants from getting viral or bacterial or protozoal infections. Until just recently, this important benefit has been largely overlooked by the medical and nutrition community. 1
Pretty interesting, right? So, here's what I did. I took a small spoonful of coconut oil and placed it in a small bowl. (It's consistency is based on the room temperature, so it's solid these days.) Then I placed the smaller bowl into a larger bowl filled with hot water. I chose not to nuke any of the coconut oil's good properties. When it was melted, I took an infant medicine dropper and used it to place two drops in each eye. My oldest said his eye felt fine just a few moments later. I continued with the drops and he experienced no more discomfort the rest of the time. His eyes cleared up and the goop didn't stick around past those first few applications. It wasn't an instant cure, but the comfort he experienced was outstanding. He was so surprised by the difference that he kept remarking, "My eye just feels like a normal eye now!" For our younger lot, I applied some coconut oil to a tissue and wiped it all along the eyelid, eyelashes, and into the corners of the eye. If you're going to do this, obviously use a different tissue or swab for each eye so as not to spread the infection. I even gave it to those who didn't yet have pink eye (after a day or two where I hadn't thought of that). Our sweet little princess with a trashed immune system didn't even get it!

We are big fans of coconut oil around here. We cook and bake with it. We use it on eczema, mosquito bites, and as a light sunscreen. (But, we like Vitamin D, so we don't want to completely block out our exposure to it!) We use it as lotion, moisturizer, hair product, and diaper rash ointment. So, it's always fun to me when I find new uses for it. My husband laughs at me that I seem to always be enthusiastically shouting, "I bet coconut oil would work on that!" I do think he has to give me some credit for this one, though. :)


A New Look at Coconut Oil by Mary G. Enig, PhD

Virgin Coconut Oil and Viruses