In English we have the phrase 'cool as a cucumber,' referring to the marvelously cooling properties of this medicinal vegetable. The coolness of cucumber has been revered in Ayurveda since ancient times, indeed, one of the Sanskrit synonyms of cucumber is sushitalam--very cooling. Cucumber is not only a delicious food for late summer and the warm days of fall--it also has many medicinal uses.
Latin Name: Cucumis sativus L.
Sanskrit name: Trapusam; synonyms kantikphalam, sudhāvāsa, sushitalam
The cucumber is native to the Himalayan foothills in the Indian subcontinent, where it forms a key part of cuisine and home remedies to this day. It was popular in the ancient world. Cucumber is listed among the products of ancient Ur and the legend of Gilgamesh describes people eating cucumbers. In the book of Numbers in the Torah, the Israelites, during their wandering in the desert, dining on manna, hanker after the foods they enjoyed in Egypt. "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic." Cucumbers were also an important food in ancient Rome and were a favourite food of Emperor Tiberius, according to Pliny the Elder. The phrase 'cool as a cucumber' is first found in John Gay's New Song of New Similes, written in 1732.
Pert as a pear-monger I'd be,
If Molly were but kind;
Cool as a cucumber could see
The rest of womankind.
Rasa: Astringent, sweet, slightly bitter
Virya: Shita (cooling)
Guna: Laghu (light)
- Suppresses thirst
- Relieves fatigue
- Relives burning sensations
- Controls haemorrhage
- Pacifies difficulty in urination.
Cucumber seeds are cooling, drying, diuretic and relieve diseases of pitta and blood.
Cucumber Home Remedies
- Sunburn: Blend some cucumber and apply the pulp to the burned area. The cool astringency of cucumber will heal all but the worst burns.
- Sunburn: Cucumber milk. Blend together a medium cucumber, half a cup of organic whole milk and half a cup of pure water. Apply this topically to sunburn or irritated skin for instant relief and drink the rest.
- Summer heat: Blend together a medium cucumber, a handful of mint leaves, half a cup of organic whole milk and half a cup of pure water and drink to alleviate thirst and heat stress.
- Cystitis: Drink cucumber juice to relieve burning urination.
- Gout and high uric acid: drink a cup of carrot, beet cucumber juice daily. All three of these vegetables reduce uric acid; however carrots and beets tend to have a heating energy, so adding cooling cucumber to the juice blend brings balance.
- Sore throat: sip cucumber juice for its cooling and antibacterial effect
- Puffy eyes, dark circles: Apply a slice of cucumber to each eyelid and relax for ten minutes.
- Acne, pimples: Grate ¼ cup of cucumber. Stir in1 tsp. besan flour (available from Indian grocery stores). Apply as a cooling face pack to relieve acne.
- Cucumber yoni cleanse: In the Taoist White Tigress tradition of sexual health a cucumber yoni cleanse is performed weekly to maintain a clean, fresh, smelling yoni and healthy vaginal microbiome. The part of the cucumber to be inserted vaginally is peeled to allow the healing juices to seep into the vagina, while the lower part is left unpeeled to serve as a handle.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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