Sunday, July 29, 2012

Home Remedies using Cucumbers

Source: Cucumber closeup
Cucumbers were first discovered growing in abundance in India nearly 3000 years ago.

Eventually this long green vegetable made its way into countries like China, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Spain, Mexico, the Ukraine, Japan, Indonesia, and the U.S (Florida and California).

Cucumbers belong to the Cucurbitaceae family and its biological name is Cucumis sativus.

Slicing, pickling and burpless (seedless) cucumbers are the three common types cultivated and eaten.

‘Slicing’ cucumbers don’t require any cooking and can be eaten raw.

‘Pickling’ cucumbers are called pickles, gherkins or wallies. These type of cucumbers are usually soaked in brine or vinegar and have a sweet and sour taste.

‘Burpless’ cucumbers are milder in taste, less bitter and do not cause one to burp when eaten like most other varieties do.

The bitter taste found in cucumbers is due to the presence of the compound Cucurbitacin. Burpless cucumbers have less cucurbitacin in it.

Cucumbers contain:
  • Vitamin A – needed for healthy eyesight, bone growth, reproduction and cell division
  • Fiber – vital for digestion and to prevent constipation, colon diseases and hemorrhoids
  • Vitamin C – protects against colds and needed for healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin C combined with zinc is effective in healing wounds.
  • Potassium – lowers blood pressure, hypertension and helps in maintaining the nervous system.
  • Silica – Keeps the tissues of the skin, hair, nails and eyes firm and strong.
Cucumbers have been used in cooking and in treating many ailments since ancient times. It’s known to have a cooling effect on the body. Cucumbers are also used in beauty treatments since it has healing and antiseptic properties which help in promoting healthy hair, skin and nails.

Cucumbers are made up of about 95% water and is effective in getting rid of the toxins in the body and keep the skin blemish free plus soft and supple.

Actress Liv Tyler once revealed in an interview the secret to her beauty was ‘lots of conditioner, clean nails and cucumber juice.’

How to Make Cucumber Juice
  • Sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Water – 2 cups
  • 1 Cucumber peeled and grated
Place the sugar and water in a pan. Place the pan on the stove and heat the sugar and water mixture till it boils. Then add the grated cucumber and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from fire and pour into blender. Blend till smooth. Strain into cups. Chill before serving.

Cucumber Juice to Treat Sunburn 

Peel and grate ½ a cucumber. Strain the juice using clean cheesecloth. Dab the sunburn areas with the juice.

Homemade Cucumber Toner for Oily Skin

Peel and grate ½ a cucumber. Strain using clean cheesecloth. Apply the juice on clean face. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off with cold water. Pat dry.

Homemade Cucumber Face Mask for Blemishes
  • Peeled Cucumber – ½
  • Instant nonfat dry milk powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Plain Yoghurt – 1 tablespoon
Put the above ingredients in a blended and blend till smooth. Apply on clean face and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.

Cucumber Treatment to Reduce Dark Circles Under Eyes

Peel and grate ¼ of a cucumber. Apply under the eye area and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cold water. Do this treatment thrice a week.

Cucumber Varieties ideal for Growing in Pots
  • Bush Champion
  • Bush Crop
  • Salad Bush Hybrid
  • Spacemaster
*Sow seeds around the middle of spring and when the temperature outside is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

© Suranee Perera 2012

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