Street vendors selling green coconuts have reported a sharp rise in sales in the last two weeks with the number of chikungunya cases rising.
Municipal bodies have recorded 1,057 cases and the death toll from the mosquito-borne disease has climbed to 10.
Coconut water is recommended for chikungunya patients since it keeps the body hydrated and supplies essential electrolytes.
The coconut sellers at Bhogal market in south Delhi and Bengali market in central Delhi said their daily sales have doubled.
“We get around 200 customers daily. The stock that took four days to finish, is now being consumed in two days,” said a seller who stations his cart in Bhogal market.
A fruit seller in Bengali market said, “These days a customer buys 10 to 12 coconuts. They say that several members of their family are down with chikungunya.”
The rates have also gone up.
“We used to buy a coconut for R26 and sold it for R30. Now, our buying rate has gone up to R38 in view of the high demand. We are forced to sell a coconut R40 to R45,” said Satinder, a fruit and vegetable shop owner in Bhogal market.
Doctors say coconut water acts as an oral re-hydration solution as the fever dehydrates the body.
Rommel Tickoo, senior consultant of internal medicine at Max Super-speciality hospital, Saket, said, “It can be a great natural option to quickly replenish electrolytes as it contains high amounts of potassium and moderate amounts of magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride and phosphate. It also contains smaller amounts of amino acids, iron, vitamin C and B complex vitamins.”
Nand Lal, a taxi driver who has just recovered from chikungunya said coconut water helped him.
“I was unable to move for 15 days. People recommended coconut water and it helped me recover,” Nand Lal said.