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Cucumber’s Nourishing Medicine

Cucumber’s Nourishing Medicine

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We return to our regularly schedule program of sharing the medicine of local, seasonal food. Yes, food is your best medicine. When we nourish our bodies with good food, this keeps our cells and organs healthy, and we rarely need the silver bullets of modern chemical medicine.

Following the seasonal harvest, eating food as close to harvest time as possible (backyard growing, local farm stands, CSA subscriptions, Coop local produce choices, etc.) provides the table and your belly with the deepest nutrition possible.

Cucumbers are a luscious, juicy way to cool the body down on hot summer days. Cucumbers are very high in water content. Water, the flowing stuff that comes from our sink taps or is encased in juicy foods, supports keeping our bodies hydrated and our bodily fluids flowing. Well hydrated blood, lymph, and cellular fluids support the movement of oxygen, nutrients, hormones and natural chemicals and enzymes around the body and also supports the movement of waste products out of the body.

Cucumbers have been studied for medicinal impacts in the body. They may have an impact on blood sugar levels, supporting the healing of type 2 diabetes, they have anti-inflammatory effects, (inflammation is a factor in most ill health processes) that may support the reduction of pain in the body, may have positive effects on the prevention and healing of liver disease and cancers, and cucumber’s fiber and water content support regular and healthy bowel movements. The Cucurbitacins inside these tasty and juicy fruits may prevent atherosclerosis. The Cucurbitacins are the constituents in cucumbers thought to also impact diabetes, cancer, and inflammation.

Let’s talk skin health and beauty impacts. Cucumbers cooling effects reduce skin irritations. Rubbing a cucumber on sun burnt skin brings relief. Couple this with aloe, if you have a potted plant in your home, doubles the soothing impact on sun irritated skin. Traditionally cucumbers have been used in many ways to enhance beauty and skin health: facial masks, relief of eye irritation and dark circles, and applying the juice to skin for wrinkle prevention.

Cucumber is widely used in Ayurvedic treatment for improving urination (increases urine flow), relieving excessive thirst (diabetes related?), headache, insomnia, and is being researched in liver cancer treatment. Cucumbers are cooling, reducing heat in the body as stated above. In Ayurvedic medicine and nutrition, they are used to balance overheated constitutions and to balance the heat in meals, think raita in Indian cooking and tzatziki in Greek cooking. Cucumbers are considered a yin food, cooling, in Traditional Chinese Medicine and are used for medicinal and nourishing purposes.

Food IS Healing Medicine.

*Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Large cucumber to grate about a cup of cucumber. Some people like less cucumber to yogurt ratio, feel it out for yourself.
  • Cup of yogurt: I prefer an organic yogurt from pasture raised animals. You can use a cheese strainer to strain the moisture out of the yogurt to make it thicker like real Greek yogurt. To get a cup of strained yogurt, you will have to start with at least a cup and ½. Save the liquid to drink with the cucumber juice. Most commercial Greek yogurt is just thickened with various fillers and is not true Greek strained yogurt. Goat and sheep yogurt is delightful to use as well.
  • Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Tablespoon high quality olive oil
  • Pinches of unrefined sea salt
  • Clove garlic, pressed or chopped
  • Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • Tablespoon chopped fresh mint; this is often optional but I love it in the recipe.
  1. Grating a large cucumber on the largest holes of a box grater. Grate into a colander or large metal strainer that is over a bigger bowl to catch the cucumber juice.
  2. Using your hands, gently squeeze the pile of gratings to remove more of the cucumber juice. Make sure you are catching the juice in a bowl so you can drink this anti-inflammatory liquid nourishment.
  3. Stir squeezed cucumber into about a cup of yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and herbs, and chill until you’re ready to use.

That’s it!

Enjoy with pita bread, lamb, chicken, beef, veggies, curried food, etc.

*Cucumber Garden Salad

Ingredients:

  • Cucumbers sliced into thin slices; I recommend leaving the skins on as they are very nourishing
  • Thin sliced fresh tomatoes
  • Thin sliced fresh onion, purple is perfect, or chopped up fresh / raw green onions
  • Garlic scapes, if still available, are wonderful chopped up in this
  • Really any thin sliced veggies you have available fresh from the backyard, your farmer, or the Co-op’s local selections: radishes, red or yellow peppers, etc.

When everything is sliced up and placed in a bowl or shallow dish, add an herbed olive oil and vinegar dressing made with fresh garden herbs: rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro, etc.

  • Cup olive oil
  • Cup raw & real apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp of yellow mustard
  • Tablespoon local raw honey or maple syrup
  • Chopped fresh herbs of choice

Drizzle over the cucumbers and veggies, cover and let sit for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of dinner. Serve with sheep milk feta, found in the cooler section at the Co-op.

Serve on a bed of greens if you like.

Serve it differently every time!

*I always recommend using organic foods, you can assume this with my recipes.

1 Comment

  1. Kathy Scharf

    Great article and recipes!

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