King coconut is a type of coconut fruit cultivated in Sri Lanka where it is known as Thembili. It is sweeter than regular coconuts. There are several varieties of "Thembili" as "Tembili", "Ran Thembili"(රන් තැබිලි), "Gon Thembili"(ගොන් තැබිලි) etc.
King coconut is short in stature and commonly found in Sri Lanka, and the nuts of which Sri Lankans regard as a "living pharmacy" is the most versatile and medically practical form of the coconut plant available. Sri Lankans sell and consume thousands of them on a daily basis.
In almost every Sri Lankan home irrespective of class, a king coconut palm is a common sight. Another familiar sight are the bunches of king coconuts displayed for sale in many wayside kiosk throughout the country.
These nuts come in many varieties, the most commonly found being the "red dwarf" (kaha thambili, commonly referred to as gon thambili). The other variety is "ran thambili", a smaller variety containing about forty nuts in a bunch.
"Kurumba", the green coloured young coconut that is easily available in the villages is cheap and popular.
This "aralu brew" according to Sri Lankan ayurvedic practitioners (also known as veda mahattayas) has the necessary properties to "expel heat from the body" therefore resulting in a feeling of freshness.
The water of the king coconut is naturally sterile and therefore it is a good substitute for saline. In World War 2 both American and Japanese military doctors injected king coconut water into a patient’s veins instead of sterile glucose solutions.
Sri Lanka has now started to package the palatable coconut water into tetra packs that are being exported.