Wait a minute! Cucumbers aren’t herbs are they? Actually the term “herb” is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:
1. a seed-producing annual, biennial, or perennial that does not develop persistent woody tissue but dies down at the end of a growing season
2. a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities
So technically, a vegetable could also be an herb. Cucumbers are one of my favorite summertime vegetables, and they also provide many health benefits:
- Eating cucumber or drinking cucumber juice is an old folk remedy for brittle and splitting nails.
- Cucumber juice is also used as an effective treatment for kidney and bladder problems. Herbalists often recommend cucumber and carrot juice as a way to remove excess uric acid from the system, a common problem for those suffering from gout.
- Want to lose weight? A large cucumber only has about 45 calories! Try munching on cucumber slices instead of potato chips.
- High blood pressure? Cukes are high in potassium and might therefore help reduce blood pressure.
- Are allergies bothering your eyes? Lie down with a slice of cold cucumber over your eyes to relieve the itch, redness and puffiness. You’ll feel refreshed and look younger too!
- Cucumbers are high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.
- They also contain lignans, which have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers like breast, ovarian, and prostate.
Even if you’re perfectly healthy, cucumbers are a great way to rehydrate after a run in the sun or a day at the beach. And what’s better than cool crisp cucumber salad or cucumber sandwiches on a hot summer day? I like to add cucumber slices to my smoothies and even to my iced water.
Copyright © by Bobbi Mullins, originally published June 10, 2014
Grieve, A Modern Herbal (©1931)
Tierra, The Way of Herbs (©1980)