Cucumber

Ayurvedic Diet_Cucumber.jpg

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.

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Sanskrit name: Trapusam; synonyms kantikphalam, sudhāvāsa, sushitalam

Hindi: Khīrā

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)

Reduces Pitta

Karmas

  • Suppresses thirst
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Relives burning sensations
  • Controls haemorrhage
  • Pacifies difficulty in urination.
  • Antibacterial

Cucumber seeds are cooling, drying, diuretic and relieve diseases of pitta and blood.

Cucumber Home Remedies

  1. Sunburn: Blend some cucumber and apply the pulp to the burned area. The cool astringency of cucumber will heal all but the worst burns.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cystitis: Drink cucumber juice to relieve burning urination.
  5. 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.
  6. Sore throat: sip cucumber juice for its cooling and antibacterial effect
  7. Puffy eyes, dark circles: Apply a slice of cucumber to each eyelid and relax for ten minutes.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Enliven your holistic health! Visit Alakananda Ma in Alandi Ashram’s ayurvedic clinic to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and virtual appointments available. Book now!

Apple | Sevam

Ayurvedic Diet_Sevam Apple.jpg

We are all familiar with the adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Indeed, apple is such an important medicinal food that it has found a place in the texts of Ayurveda, where it is known as sevam (or in Hindi seb). When I lived in India in the 1980s, an apple was a rare treat, since at the time they mainly grew only in Kashmir. To be given an apple as prasad (blessed food) instead of the more common banana was a mark of the guru's special favour.

Latin name: Malus domestica Borkh.

Family: Rosaceae (Rose family)

Sanskrit: Sevam, seva, sivitikā

Hindi: Seb

Apples originated in Western Asia, a region that includes today's Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Syria--places where agriculture had some of its earliest origins. 4-5,000 years ago, the ancient Phoenicians were cultivating apples along the Mediterranean coast. In the Song of Solomon, the beloved is compared to an apple tree, "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the young men." Clearly, the sexually rejuvenating properties of apples were well understood at the time, for another verse of the Song of Solomon says, "Sustain me with cakes of raisins, refresh me with apples: for I am sick with love."

Apples were widely grown and eaten in the Roman Empire. In Greek mythology, Paris of Troy presented the golden apple of discord to Aphrodite, goddess of love, setting in motion the cascade of events that led to the Trojan wars.

  The real Johnny Appleseed

The real Johnny Appleseed

The Jewish New Year is celebrated with apples dipped in honey to offer the promise of a sweet New Year.

European colonists brought the apple to America. Apples were spread throughout the Midwestern United States by nurseryman John Chapman, the legendary Johnny Appleseed.

Rasa: Sweet
Virya: Cooling
Vipak: Sweet
Guna: Heavy

Decreases vata and pitta

Karmas

  • Brimhanam (building)
  • Ruchyam (promotes taste and appetite)
  • Shukral (Promotes semen)

Apple home remedies

  1. Debility, convalescence: Give warm apple juice spiced with cinnamon and clove to help restore taste, appetite and strength.
  2. Gastritis, colitis, cystitis: Cool (not chilled) apple juice helps calm burning sensations. A few fresh mint leaves could be added.
  3. Dysentery: Stewed peeled apple with goat milk is a great dysentery recipe; if mother's milk is available it is even better.
  4. Diarrhoea or dysentery: Peel and stew two apples; add a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of saffron and 1 tsp. ghee.
  5. Migraine Headache: eat an apple first thing in the morning, sprinkled with salt. Follow this with warm water. Continue this remedy for a several days at a time to help reduce frequency of migraines.
  6. Depression: Eat an apple dipped in honey and follow with a cup of warm milk spiced with cardamom or saffron. Continue this remedy daily as a brain tonic.

Dr. Lad's honey apple pulp

Good for heart and circulatory tonic, varicose veins, sexual debility, arthritis.

Ingredients:

5 apples
Raw honey to taste
1/8 tsp. cardamom powder
1 pinch saffron
1 pinch nutmeg
10 drops rosewater

Method

  1. Remove the skins and the core from the apples .
  2. Blend or mash to a pulp.
  3. Add honey, spices and rosewater and mix thoroughly. Eat this one hour after your meal.

Sources: Bhavprakash, Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Usha and Vasant Lad

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.

Enliven your holistic health! Visit Alakananda Ma in Alandi Ashram’s ayurvedic clinic to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and virtual appointments available. Book now!