2 citations; last updated May 19, 2014

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In 1831, a gentleman by the name of J. W. Bennett had printed in London, at his own expense, a small book by the charming title of, "A Treatise on the Coco-nut Tree, and the Many Valuable Properties Possessed by that Splendid Palm." He described himself as a fellow of the Linnaean & Horticultural Societies, many years a resident of Ceylon. Mr. Bennett, in all probability, has the distinction of having written the first book in the English language devoted solely to the subject of the coconut. Cited by Hay, 1972. The chapter dealing with medicinal uses reads as follows: 

"The root of the Coco-nut tree is considered by the native doctors so efficacious in intermittent and remittent fevers that it is almost invariably employed by them. Small pieces of it are boiled with dried ginger and jaggery, and the decocture is given to the patient at stated periods; in which, however, much attention to regularity is requisite.
"When used as a gargle, the decocture is mixed with the oil of the nut, freshly made, a very few applications of which generally affords considerable relief to the patient. It is attended with equally good effect in cases where pustules have formed in the mouth or glands of the throat.
"In hemorrhoids, the expressed juice of the leaves, mixed with fresh oil of the Coco-nut, is considered a sovereign remedy.
"In ophthalmic complaints, the external application of the expressed juice of the nut, mixed with new milk (cow's milk, if to be had; if not, buffalo's will answer the purpose) mitigates, if it does not entirely remove, inflammation.
"The taste of the flower is of so astringent a nature, that the moment one bites through the corolla, the inside of the mouth is affected the same as if a small lump of allum had been allowed to dissolve in it; in consequence of which peculiar property it is considered a never-failing specific in that most distressing and debilitating disease, in tropical climates, Lues Gonorrhea. The expressed juice of the flower, mixed with new milk, and taken in small quantities, not exceeding a wine-glass full, but at regular periods, affords almost immediate temporary relief, and, if persevered in, effectual cure.
"A powerful oil is extracted from the bark of the Coconut tree, which, when applied as an ointment in cutaneous diseases, is considered by the Singalese doctors eminently efficacious, provided that, in such cases, a free use of the Green Coconut, as the principal article of diet, be strictly adhered to.
"The shell of the ripe Coco-nut reduced to charcoal, and pulverized, makes an excellent dentifrice.
"To the water of the Green Coco-nut is ascribed that inestimable property to the fair sex, of clearing the face of all wrinkles, and giving it a delightful fresh colour! "

Another section of Mr. Bennett's book deals with toddy, a sweet juice which can be gotten from the coconut flower once it is bound tightly to prevent it from opening. One palm can yield an average of 3 pints per day. According to Mr. Bennett's account: "Europeans prefer Toddy before sun-rise, when it is a cool, delicious, and particularly wholesome beverage, acting as a gentle aperient; but the natives prefer it after fermentation has commenced (which takes place in about three hours more or less); in that state, bread-bakers use it as yeast, for which it is an admirable succedaneum; and the bread made with it, remarkably light and good. Toddy is seldom used by Europeans during the rains, unless it be by those wet souls, to whom Claret and Madeira are not sufficiently stimulating, and who, to use the nautical phrase, 'would drink the sea dry! ' Soldiers consider the addition of gunpowder and capsicums to Toddy -- a mixture they designate by the term 'blaze' -- an improvement."