Sunday, February 20, 2011

Healing Values of A Cucumber

Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus, and belongs to the same family as watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, and other types of squash.

Early History

Cucumbers can be found growing in the Cook Islands. It is thought to originate over 10,000 years ago in southern Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India. Early explorers and travelers introduced this vegetable to India and other parts of Asia. Evidence indicates that the cucumber has been cultivated in Western Asia for 3,000 years, and was probably introduced to other parts of Europe by the Romans. Records of cucumber cultivation appear in France in the 9th century, England in the 14th century, and in North America by the mid-16th century.

This fruit was very popular in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome, whose people used it not only as a food but also for its beneficial skin healing properties. The cucumber is also listed among the foods of ancient Ur and the legend of Gilgamesh.

Some sources also state that it was produced in ancient Thrace, and it is certainly part of modern cuisine in Bulgaria and Turkey, parts of which make up that ancient state. From India, it spread to Greece (where it was called “σίκυον”, síkyon) and Italy, where the Romans were especially fond of the crop, and later into China.

(While it is unknown when the pickling process was developed, researchers speculate that the gherkin variety of cucumber was developed from a plant native to Africa. During ancient times, Spain was one of the countries that was pickling cucumbers since Roman emperors were said to have imported them from this Mediterranean country...)

Greenhouse cultivation of cucumbers was originally invented during the time of Louis XIV, who greatly appreciated this delightful vegetable.

The Roman Emperor Tiberius had the cucumber on his table daily during summer and winter. The Romans reportedly used artificial methods (similar to the greenhouse system) of growing to have it available for his table every day of the year. The Romans are reported to have used cucumbers to treat scorpion bites and bad eyesight.

It's Healing Property

Cucumber has become widely known for its natural skin healing properties, since the work of the English herbalist John Gerard.

As a cosmetic, Cucumber is excellent for rubbing over the skin to keep it soft and white. It is cooling, healing and soothing to an irritated skin, whether caused by sun, or the effects of a cutaneous eruption, and Cucumber Juice is in great demand in various forms as a cooling and beautifying agent for the skin. Cucumber soap is used by many women, and a Cucumber wash applied to the skin after exposure to keen winds is extremely beneficial.

Cucumber also contains Caffeic acid and vitamins A, C, and E and minerals such as Magnesium, Potassium and Silica, all of which are very good for the skin.

Treating Rosacea with Cucumber:

Take some slices of cucumber, lie back and place them on the affected areas.

(1) Puree some cucumber with a blender, about 6 slices. Then add 4 table spoons of natural yogurt and mix. Take the mixture and apply it to the parts of your face that are affected, leave it on for about 10 minutes and wash it off with cool fresh water. It should bring immediate relief from the itching and heat!

(2) Blend a whole cucumber with a glass of cream, a spoonful of honey and olive oil. Refrigerate and when the mixture is cool apply it to the affected parts of your face. Leave it for 10 - 15 minutes and wash off with cool fresh water.

Acne Treatment

Other than acne treatments that make use of herbs in the healing process, some fruits are also great natural substances to counter the occurrence of acne. Fruits such as mango, papaya, apple, grapefruit and even raisins can be used by applying them directly and making masks by mashing them.

You can even make your toner using parts of cucumber juice, apple cider vinegar and tea tree and distilling them in mineral water.

Cucumber juice is a natural way to calm and cool the skin. People in the Middle East and Central Asia are known for drinking this natural, watery, yet nutrient-filled drink. This is known to be great for the skin, and you can even use it to treat acne.

What You Need:

Carafe or Glass to hold juice

1. Choose dark green cucumbers that have a bumpy surface.
Choose organic cucumbers if available.
3. Peel off skin, cut in thin slices, and put them in a carafe.
Fill the carafe with water, either room temperature or cool down with ice.
Allow the cucumbers to soak in the water for about an hour. The nutrients, such as vitamin A, potassium and chlorophyll will fill the water.

Sift the cucumbers from the water, and you have your juice.

You can also wash your face in the juice, as it makes for a great cleansing agent to accompany your usual acne cleanse.

Take 2-3 cucumbers, was and peel the skin off
Slice the cucumbers into thin slices
Blend the slices in a blender
Apply over the skin and let it dry
Rinse with cold water

You can also apply thin slices of cucumber on your skin and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. You can also make your own cucumber face pack or eat it raw.

But as with all forms of alternate treatments, cucumber may give positive results only in some people. It is always best to try out this treatment to see if it works for you. If it doesn't, then consult your GP or Health Specialist and get treated for acne.

Things To Know:

Do not add anything to the cucumber juice, such as sugar.
Drink juice with every meal in place of soda or fizzy drinks.
Don't use cucumber juice alone to combat acne. See your dermatologist, and use it alongside a program of prevention and treatment.

You could however apply only cucumber juice to your face and leave that on overnight.

Cucumber has been used in beauty treatments for centuries. It has a soothing effect on the skin. When placed on the eyes, it reduces puffiness and lightens dark circles.

Cucumber juice can also be used as an astringent. It cleans the pores and takes out the dirt and bacteria in the sebaceous glands. It is an alternate from of treatment that can be used instead of other treatments.

Cucumber is very effective for sunburn and acne as it cools the skin and has a soothing effect.

Cucumber is very high in water content. This helps in moisturizing the skin and keeping it hydrated in a natural and safe way.

Cucumber also has anti-aging properties. It is rich in amino acids and minerals that help in regenerating skin cells. It has been claimed that cucumber also helps in reducing wrinkles.

Raw cucumber, when applied on the skin, can help reduce heat and inflammation.

The diuretic, cooling and cleansing property of cucumber makes it good for skin.

Fresh cucumber juice can provide relief from heartburn, acid stomach, gastritis and even ulcer.

Daily consumption of cucumber juice helps control cases of eczema, arthritis and gout.

Cucumber has been found to be beneficial for those suffering from lung, stomach and chest problems.

The potassium in cucumber makes it useful for the problem of high and low blood pressure.

Cucumber contains Erepsin, the enzyme that helps in protein digestion.

Cucumber juice is said to promote hair growth, especially when it is added to the juice of carrot, lettuce and spinach.

Cucumber juice, when mixed with carrot juice, is said to be good for rheumatic conditions caused by excessive uric acid in the body.

Cucumber can prove to be beneficial for those suffering from diseases of the teeth and gums, especially in cases of pyorrhea.

Being rich in minerals, cucumber helps prevent splitting of nails of the fingers and toes.

Cucumber has been associated with healing properties in relation to diseases of the kidney, urinary bladder, liver and pancreas.

Those suffering from diabetes have been found to benefit from the consumption of cucumber/cucumber juice.

Cucumber Recipes

While the seeds are edible and nutritious, some people prefer not to eat them. To easily remove them, cut the cucumber lengthwise and use the tip of a spoon to gently scoop them out.

Use half-inch thick cucumber slices as petite serving "dishes" for chopped vegetable salads.

Mix diced cucumbers with sugar snap peas and mint leaves and toss with rice wine vinaigrette.

For refreshing cold gazpacho soup that takes five minutes or less to make, simply purée cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers and onions, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Add diced cucumber to tuna fish or chicken salad recipes.

Always wash cucumbers bought from your local store as conventionally grown cucumbers, like other fragile vegetables, may be waxed to protect them from bruising during shipping. Plant, insect, animal or petroleum-based waxes may be used. Carnauba palm is the most common plant-source wax. Other compounds, such as ethyl alcohol or ethanol, are added to the waxes for consistency, milk casein (a protein linked to milk allergy) for "film formers" and soaps for flowing agents. Or you can choose organically grown cucumbers.

The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water but also contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. Cucumbers'hard skin is rich in fiber and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium.

The silica in cucumber is an essential component of healthy connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone. Cucumber juice is often recommended as a source of silica to improve the complexion and health of the skin, plus cucumber's high water content makes it naturally hydrating—a must for glowing skin.

Cucumbers are also used topically for various types of skin problems, including swelling under the eyes and sunburn. Two compounds in cucumbers, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, prevent water retention, which may explain why cucumbers applied topically are often helpful for swollen eyes, burns and dermatitis.

Adding a crunchy cool cucumber to your salads is an especially good way to increase your fiber intake because cucumber comes naturally prepackaged with the extra fluid you need when consuming more fiber. Plus, you get the added bonus of vitamin C, silica, potassium and magnesium.

High in potassium, magnesium and fiber, and high in it's water content, it is a good nutritious food for people with high blood pressure. The phrase "cool as a cucumber" is not without merit. This vegetable's high water content gives it a very unique moist and cooling taste.

Storing Cucumber

As cucumbers are very sensitive to heat, choose ones that are displayed in refrigerated cases in the market. They should be firm, rounded at their edges, and their color should be a bright medium to dark green. Avoid cucumbers that are yellow, puffy, have sunken water-soaked areas, or are wrinkled at their tips. Thinner cucumbers will generally have less seeds than those that are thicker. While many people are used to purchasing cucumbers that have a waxed coating, it is highly recommended to choose those that are unwaxed, so the nutrient-rich skin can be eaten without consuming the wax and any chemicals trapped in it.

Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator where they will keep for several days. If you do not use the entire cucumber during one meal, wrap the remainder tightly in plastic or place it in a sealed container so that it does not become dried out. For maximum quality, cucumber should be used within one or two days. Cucumbers should not be left out at room temperature for too long as this will cause them to wilt and become limp.

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