Cucumber- proven health, beauty benefits and uses

The scientific name of cucumber is Cucumis sativus. Other names include

CHINESE: Huang kwa, wong gaw, qing gua, tseng kwa
BURMESE : Thakhwa.
DANISH : Agurk.
DUTCH : Komkommer.
FINNISH : Kurkku.
FRENCH : Concombre, Concombre commun, Concombre vert long, Concombre blanc long
GERMAN : Gurke.
ITALIAN : Cetriolo
HINDI : Kheera, Kakri, Kakdi, Tihu.
JAPANESE : Kyu uri, Kyu uri, Moro kyu.
KHMER : Trâsâk.
KOREAN : Oh ee (oi).
LAOTIAN : Tèèng.
NEPALESE : Asare kankro, Airelu kankro, Kakro, Khira.
SINHALESE : Pipinya (Pipingha), Pipingkai.
SPANISH : Pepino, Cohombro.
SUNDANESE : Bonteng.
THAI : Taeng kwaa , Taeng om (ChiangMai), Taeng raan (Northern Thailand).


– Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, glycosides, steroids, saponin, flavonoid, and tannin.

– Fruit contains dextrose (0.11 to 0.98%); saccharose (0.05 to 0.13%); fixed oil (0.11-0.98%).

– Seed contains fixed oil (Gurken oil) 25% consisting of oleic acid (58%), linolic acid (3.7%), palmitic acid (6.8%), stearic acid (3.7%); phytine; and lecithine.

– Aerial parts contain a 14a-methyl D-phytosterol.

– Pulp yields shikimate dehydrogenase.

– Leaves contain urea and an alkaloid, hypoxanthine.

– Study yielded two new megastigmanes from the leaves of C sativus – cucumegastigmanes I and II with other known compounds.

Medicinal properties of cucumber

– Seeds are antihelminthic; also, cooling, diuretic, and strengthening.

– Active ingredient of the essential oil is considered aphrodisiac in nature.

– Checkmate dehydrogenase from the pulp is considered a facial skin softener; also cooling and a natural sunscreen.

Parts used

Fruit, seeds.

Edibility / Nutritional

– Peeled raw fruit is peeled, sliced thin, served with vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and calamansi makes a good vegetable side dish.

– Common salad ingredient; also boiled in stew dishes.

– Seed kernel is edible.

– A variety is used for making pickles.

– In Malaya, young leaves are eaten raw or steamed.

– Good source of calcium and iron, vitamins B and C.

Healthy cucumber recipes

Cucumber beauty face mask recipes 

Folkloric traditional remedies and uses of cucumber

– Juice of leaves used as an emetic in acute indigestion in children.

– Ripe, raw cucumbers said to be good for sprue.

– Bruised root applied to swelling from the wound of hedgehog quill.

– Raw cucumbers used for dysentery.

– Cucumber salve used for scalds and burns.

– Seeds used as taeniacide (1 – 2 oz of seed thoroughly ground, with sugar, taken fasting, followed in 1-2 hours with a purge). Also used as an emetic with water.

– In Indo-China, immature fruit given to children for dysentery.

– In India, used as diuretic and for throat infections. Pulp considered healing and soothing, used to keep facial skin soft; is toning and soothing on damage skin and provides a natural sunscreen.

– In Bangladesh, fruit used with cumin seeds for throat infections.

Others uses

Cosmetic: Fruit is excellent for rubbing over the skin for softness and whiteness.

– Cooling, healing, and soothing to the skin irritated by the sun or raw from effects of eruptions

– Used in the manufacture of cucumber soap.

– Cucumber scent, one of a few others, linked to female sexual arousal.


Scientific proven health benefits and uses of cucumber

Phytochemicals / C-Glycosides:

Study yielded the following C-glycosides from the leaves: isovitexin 2″-O-glucoside, isovitexin, isoorientin, 4′-X-O-diglucosides of isovitexin and swertiajaponin. Flowers yielded kaempferol 3-O-rhamnoside and 3-O-glycosides of kaempferol, quercetin, isoramnetin was revealed.

Hypoglycemic / Anti-Diabetes:

In Mexico, one of the edible plants with hypoglycemic activity.


Antihyperglycemic effect of 12 edible plants was studied in healthy rabbits. Cucumis sativus significantly decreased the area under the glucose tolerance curve and the hyperglycemic peak. Study suggests the integration of a diet that includes edible plants with hypoglycemic activity.


Ethanolic extract of C sativus exhibited a potent activity against tapeworms comparable to the effect of piperazine citrate.

Skin Whitening / Melanin Inhibition:

Six plants parts of C sativus were studied for its inhibitory effect on melanogenesis. Leaves and stems showed inhibition of melanin production. Of 8 compounds isolated, lutein was a potentially skin whitening component.

Hepatoprotective (protects liver) / Antioxidant:

Studies have isolated isovitexin and isoorientin, two C-glycosylflavones. Isoorientin has exhibited hepatoprotective effect and isovitexin, an antioxidant effect.

Cytotoxicity / Antifungal:

Studies of various extracts of leaves and stems were evaluated for cytotoxicity and antifungal activities. Chloroform extract showed lethality against brine shrimp nauplii. Ethanol and chloroform extracts showed moderate antifungal activity against all tested organisms. Aspergillus niger was most sensitive to the ethanol extract.

Antacid / Carminative:

Study evaluated the carminative and antacid properties of C. sativus fruit pulp aqueous extract. Result showed the extract significant neutralized acid and showed resistance against pH changes and also showed good carminative potential.


Study of C. sativus seed extracts in STZ-induced diabetic rats showed no initial phase effects but showed blood glucose lowering and weight lost after 9 days of continued daily therapy.


Study showed an aqueous extract of Cucumis sativus possessed hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity against CHP (cumene hydroperoxide) induced-cytotoxicity and ROS (reactive oxygen species) formation.

Delayed Caractogenesis:

Study in Sprague-Dawley rats investigated the anti-cataract properties of Cucumis sativus and Cucumbita pepo prior to induction of cataracts using galactose. Both C. sativus and C. pepo significantly delayed cataract formation. Results suggest regular low doses may be effective in delaying cataractogenesis.

Cosmetic Ingredients:

Study evaluated the safety of six ingredients from various extracts of Cucumis sativus (fruit, juice, seed) used in cosmetics as skin conditioning agents. The extracts were found safe in present practices of use and concentration.

Phytochemicals / Antimicrobial:

Analysis of for proximate principles showed cucumber to be high in all nutritional content, with considerable amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin C and crude fibers. Antimicrobial activity of aqueous extract of cucumber with and without peel against Salmonella typhi showed an MIC of 100%.

Antacid and Carminative Properties / Fruit Pulp: Study of C. sativus fruit pulp aqueous extract showed significant carminative properties and antacid effect comparable to that of standard NaHCO3.

Amelioration of Ulcerative Colitis:

Study evaluated the effect of an aqueous extract of fruit of Cucumis sativus in acetic acid induced colitis in wistar rats. Results showed potent therapeutic value in the amelioration of experimental colitis in the animal model by inhibition of the inflammatory mediator.

Antiulcer Effect / Fruit Pulp:

Study evaluated the gastroprotective potential of C. sativus fruit pulp aqueous extract in gastric ulcerated rats. Results showed gastroprotective properties with significant increase in pH, decrease in gastric juice volume, free and total acidity, and lipid peroxide levels. Polyphenols and flavonoids may be responsible for the gastroprotective effect.

Anti-Inflammatory / Seeds:

Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of C. sativus seed in Carrageenan paw edema model and xylene induced ear edema model using albino wistar rats. Results showed significant anti-inflammatory activity, with inhibit on of carrageenan induced paw edema comparable to that produced by indomethacin.

Antimicrobial / Cytotoxic / Leaves: Study investigated various extracts of leaves for antimicrobial and cytotoxic activity. The ethyl acetate, chloroform, and n-hexane extracts exhibited almost the same antimicrobial activity against most of the bacterial test strains, with moderate to good antifungal activity. Cytotoxic potentiality showed significant activity against A. salina.

Antifungal / Cytotoxicity / Reducing Power: Study of ethanol extracts of peels yielded the presence of alkaloids, glycosides, saponins, flavonoids, steroids and tannins. The extracts showed significant reducing power, antifungal activity, and cytotoxicity in the brine shrimp lethality assay.

Antidiarrheal / Leaves:

Study investigated the antidiarrheal activity of crude methanol extracts of leaves. Results showed significant dose-dependent inhibitory activity against castor oil induced diarrhea., with a significant reduction in gastrointestinal motility in charcoal meal test i mice. Effect was probably through an antisecretory mechanism.

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