Can coconut water actually be used for medicinal purposes?
On the January 12 premiere of ABC's new docs-in-the-wild drama Off the Map, supply-strapped M.D.s Ben (Martin Henderson) and Lily (Caroline Dhavernas) pluck coconuts from a tree in the jungles of South America and administer the water intravenously to an ailing patient. Possible?
"Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!" says Dr. Glenn P. Kelley, a cardiologist in Metairie, Louisiana, who confirms that "the liquid inside the coconut, which has high levels of electrolytes, has been used successfully to hydrate patients when conventional intravenous fluids are not available." (Note to medical MacGyver-types out there: The tropical substance can only be used in place of IV fluids like a saline solution, "not as a blood substitute," says Kelley.)
The far-out technique has been documented in a report published about a group of physicians in the Solomon Islands — which is how it became a plot point in the show. "I read about it online when I was developing the pilot, and knew it was a perfect story for Off the Map," says executive producer Jenna Bans. Take two piña coladas and call us in the morning!