Medicinal Plants: Pipa or Green Coconut
Nothing tastes better on a hot summer day than some refreshing "pipa" or young coconut water. Anyone who has ever had the experience of opening up a green young coconut realizes how refreshing and thirst quenching this water from the heavens is.
It is amazing to think that this wonderful tasting water is also very good for our bodies and the environment.
In Costa Rica a young coconut is called a "pipa" (pronounced in English pee-pa). It grows well many places in Costa Rica, especially by the beach. Pipas are the same family as the brown hairy coconuts people are used to seeing. The difference is that green coconuts are younger and so contain less meat than the brown coconuts. However, what they lack in meat, they make up for in water. This water is precisely what is good for us. Pipa water will help hydrate you on a hot summer day. It contains vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients such as copper, manganese, zinc, potassium, sodium, magnesium, and selenium. Research even indicates that pipa water may help fight metabolic syndrome and assists with high blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglycerides, thus making coconut water heart healthy. Some studies also suggest coconut water may help fight kidney stones because it contains potassium.
If you are ever in a place where Pipas grow, we suggest drinking the coconut right from the coconut. Either cut open a coconut, be very careful especially if using a machete to open it up, or purchase one cut. If you purchase one, ask them to cut it open so that you won't have to take a straw (less waste). Simply tell the person you are buying it from, "sin pajilla por favor". That means, without a straw please. Use the coconut shell as a cup. Drink all the water, believe me, you will want every last drop. Then, cut open the coconut and eat the meat (provided it has some meat). Finally, throw the rest of the coconut in the forest or a compost bin so it can continue to feed mother earth. Nature has given us the perfect drink in the perfect package.
Remember, when in a country that has coconuts available, think twice before purchasing sports or soft drinks that are packaged in plastic. With the sports or soft drink you will get an excess of sugars and chemicals in a package that will create waste on the earth. With the pipa you get a delicious nutritious drink that will quench your thirst and will also feed the earth.