Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut Oil: From Tree to Pharma

What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is a type of edible oil that is extracted from coconut kernel. Generally, virgin coconut oil is processed without chemical processing that is used to obtain RBD coconut oil. Hence, virgin coconut oil could retain its phytonutrient content and coconut aroma more than RBD coconut oil.

Virgin Coconut Oil Phytonutrient Content

First, what is phytonutrient? Plant foods contain myriad natural chemicals. These chemicals are called phytonutrients or phytochemicals. The word phyto comes from the Greek word for plant. Phytonutrients are beneficial in protecting plants from germs, bugs, and other threats.

Is phytonutrients beneficial for humans too? Yes. Although it is not required to keep humans alive, phytonutrients may help prevent disease by acting as antioxidants.

Virgin coconut oil contains many phytonutrients, including polyphenol, phenol, and tocopherol. The best extraction method to get the most phytonutrient content of virgin coconut oil is Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE).

VCO vs RBD Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil retains slight coconut aroma, while RBD coconut oil does not. However, it is possible to have partly refined coconut oil with coconut aroma intact. Usually, this happens to coconut oil that only has underwent the Bleaching (B) process, not the complete RBD process.

One can also distinguish VCO from RBD coconut oil by its colour. VCO is transparent, while RBD coconut oil has yellowish colour. RBD coconut oil is produced from copra or dried coconut kernel, while VCO is made from fresh coconut meat (when produced through wet method). To understand more about the difference between virgin coconut oil and RBD coconut oil, see the following explanation of VCO extraction techniques.

Virgin Coconut Oil Fat Content

Like RBD coconut oil, virgin coconut oil contains about 50% of lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid which is also present in human breastmilk.

How to Make Virgin Coconut Oil? (Cold Pressed Coconut Oil Extraction)

Two main methods of VCO extractions are dry method and wet method. Dry method uses copra or dried coconut kernel as raw material. On the other hand, wet method uses fresh mature kernel (about 12 months old), which is later processed into coconut milk. Basically, the word dry and wet refers to the VCO raw material. VCO does not went through chemical refining, bleaching, and deodorizing process that refined coconut oil undergone.

Our factory process VCO using the wet method. The objective is to demulsify coconut milk. In other words, coconut milk needs to be ‘separated’ into coconut pulp (locally called blondo) and virgin coconut oil. The separation can be processed with or without heat.

There are many ways to break down or demulsify coconut milk without heat (cold extraction process or cold pressed coconut oil), such as:

Induced fermentation

induced fermentation is one of the wet process in making cold pressed coconut oil

Coconut milk emulsion can be broken down by probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus sp. inside bioreactor. The bacteria works by adjusting the pH or acidity to destabilize coconut milk emulsion. This process is time consuming, could take from 24 to 48 hours. Although it yields high amount of cold pressed coconut oil, the resulting oil may exude fermented odour. This process can be combined with centrifugation process.


centrifugation is one of the wet process in making cold pressed coconut oil

Centrifugation simply means swirling the emulsion at high speed. The process will separate cold pressed coconut oil from its by-product. Apart from the raw material, there are three main factors affecting centrifugation result, namely temperature, rotation speed, and length of time required.

Chilling, freezing, and thawing

chilling freezing and thawing is one of the wet process in making cold pressed coconut oil

Coconut milk is a very stable emulsion. It can be de-stabilized using extreme temperature change. Chilling and freezing uses temperature of 10⁰ and -4⁰Celcius for roughly 6 hours. Then, thawing process is carried out in a water bath at 40⁰C until the cream reaches the room temperature of 25⁰C. The chilling, freezing, and thawing process can also be combined with centrifugation.

Enzymatic extraction

Enzymatic extraction is one of the highest VCO-yielding method. Cell wall consuming enzymes can be utilized to extract coconut oil contained within plant cells. Many enzymes can be used for this purpose. According to 2022 research from University of Gadjah Mada Indonesia, pineapple waste enzyme can be utilized in virgin coconut oil production. Pineapple waste contains the enzyme bromelain that can break down protein emulator in coconut milk cream.

enzymatic extraction is one of the wet process in making cold pressed coconut oil. Pineapple's enzyme bromelain can be used to process virgin coconut oil

It is paramount to implement the right enzyme ratio to achieve quality cold pressed coconut oil. Another research from Muhammadiyah University of Palembang Indonesia shows that the percentage of FFA (free fatty acid) and peroxide number in the resulting virgin coconut oil is highly influenced by the amount of pineapple hump extract added to the mixture. Ideally, low percentage of FFA is desired.

Nevertheless, the resulting cold pressed coconut oil obtained from the right enzyme ratio and temperature fulfils the standard of Asian Pacific Coconut Community, Indonesian National Standard, and Codex.

How to Choose Quality Virgin Coconut Oil?

To choose quality virgin coconut oil, one must see the certificate of analysis or lab test of said oil. The following is the quality standard of VCO developed by Asian Pacific Coconut Community (APCC).

Identity characteristics
– Relative density0.915-0.920
– Refractive index, 40°C1.4480-1.4492
– Moisture, max0.1-0.5%
– Insoluble impurities, max0.05%
– Saponification value, min250-260
– Iodine value4.1-11
– Unsaponifiable matter, max0.2-0.5%
– Specific gravity0.915-0.920
– Acid value, max0.5
– Polenske value, min13
Fatty acid compositions
C 6:00.4-0.6%
C 8:05.0-10.0%
C 10:04.5-8.0%
C 12:043.0-53.0%
C 14:016.0-21.0%
C 16:07.5-10.0%
C 18:02.0-4.0%
C 18:15.0-10.0%
C 18:21.0-2.5%
C 18:3 – C 24:1< 0.5%
Quality characteristics
– Colourwater clean
– Free Fatty Acid≤ 0.5%
– Peroxide Value≤ 3meq/kg oil
– Total Plate Count< 10cfu
– Odour and tasteFree from foreign and rancid odour and taste
– Matter volatile at 105⁰C0.2%
– Iron5mg/kg
– Copper0.4mg/kg
– Lead0.1mg/kg
– Arsenic0.1mg/kg

Industrial Use of Virgin Coconut Oil

Food Products

Virgin coconut oil can be utilized as a replacement for other vegetable oil in food products. A study conducted by Mela and Bintang from University of Jendral Soedirman Indonesia detailed the following list of food products that can be made from VCO.


Margarine is an emulsion of vegetable fat, water, and salt with a ratio of 80:18:2. The oxidation resistant VCO is a great ingredient for margarine fat, as it can be easily mixed. One can use only VCO or a mixture of VCO and other vegetable oil such as palm oil to make margarine. Emulsifier and stabilizer are necessary additives to ensure stability of margarine.

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Mayonnaise uses vegetable oil, salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar, water, emulsifier, and stabilizer in its mixture. Usually, the main material for mayonnaise is soy. VCO can be used as the vegetable oil content for mayonnaise.

Salad dressing

Salad dressing contains about 30% vegetable oil. The oil is usually corn oil, but can be substituted by virgin coconut oil.

virgin coconut oil, cold pressed coconut oil

Peanut butter

VCO may be mixed into peanut butter as well. Peanut butter is a combination of cooked peanut, sugar, salt, margarine, and VCO.

Red bean paste

Paste contains lower fat than butter or margarine. Oil content accounts to 40% of paste.

Ice cream

According to Indonesian National Standard (SNI), ice cream is a semi-solid food which contains minimum 5% of fat. Both vegetable oil and animal fat can be made into ice cream. Because virgin coconut oil has a desirable melting point due to its saturated fat content, it is a perfect mixture for ice cream.


VCO can be mixed with flour, egg, and other ingredients into homogenous cream, which will be oven-heated into biscuit.

Chocolate bar

Chocolate bars are often made with CBS (cocoa butter substitute). RBD coconut oil, virgin coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil can be processed into CBS. CBS from virgin coconut oil will give chocolate bar a glossy appearance.

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Cosmetics and Skincare Products

According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, VCO-infused cosmetic products can greatly benefit its customers.


Coconut oil has stable saturated medium chain fatty acid that is beneficial for skin. Its hydrophobic characteristic makes coconut oil able to lock moisture inside skin. Moreover, coconut oil or VCO’s high lauric acid content adds antiseptic effect to the moisturizer.

Shampoo & Hair Care

VCO based shampoo is reported to be free from sulphate, that might cause drying effect to hair. Shampoos made of VCO are beneficial in stimulating hair growth, hydrating hair, and protects against ticks or lice. It may be used as material for pet shampoos as well.

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Lip Balm

VCO’s moisturizing and antimicrobial qualities makes it a fantastic ingredient for lip balm. It may reduce the need of petroleum and paraben additives to lip balm. VCO-infused lip balm and lipstick has excellent properties such as smoothness, spreadability, and stability when stored under room temperature.


VCO is an excellent raw material for soap making as it provides the lathering and active cleaning properties. It also hydrates the skin. Additionally, VCO also has a natural deodorizing property that can remove body odour.

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Pharmaceutical Products

Antimicrobial properties of VCO’s lauric acid is beneficial in pharmaceutical industry. Lauric acid can be further processed into monolaurin. Monolaurin is used in treating colds, flu, herpes, swine flu, shingles, and other infections. It can also treat chronic fatigue syndrome and boost immune system.

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VCO can also be used as base material for propranolol coldcream. Propranolol is used to overcome cardiovascular disorder. A study by Wulandari and Binarjo of Ahmad Dahlan University Indonesia shows that VCO-based propranolol coldcream has better spreadability and dissolution compared to olive oil-based propranolol coldcream.

Get Your Cold Pressed Coconut Oil at Oilcocos.com

VCO is a versatile oil, a great raw material for plenty of products. It also can be sold in retail packaged. If you are looking to purchase bulk VCO for your industry, or selling them in retail with your own brand, contact us for inquiry.

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