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Cucumber

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Cucumber is scientifically named as Cucumis sativus. It is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae and genus cucumis. The cucumber is a creeping vine that roots in the ground and grows up trellises or other supporting frames, wrapping around ribbing with thin, spiraling tendrils. The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit.
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Botanical Names
Cucumis sativus
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Trapusha, Sukasa Hindi : Kakadi Gujarati : Tansali Marathi : Kakadi Tamil : Vellerikka
Chemical Constituents
Cucumber is a source of many chemical constituents. It contains carbohydrates, sugar, proteins, fats, and dietary fibers. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid and potassium. A cucumber contains usually more than 90% of water. The skin of cucumber is rich in fiber that contains variety of minerals such as potassium, magnesium and silica. It is a great source of minerals such as iron, manganese, phosphorous, calcium, and zinc. It also provides vitamin B as pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, and folate (1).
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Cucumber possesses many medicinal properties. It is diuretic, cooling and cleansing in action. Cucumber is best natural diuretic known, secreting and promoting the flow of urine. It also helps in kidney and urinary bladder disease. Fresh cucumber juice can provide relief from heartburn, acid stomach, gastritis and ulcer. Consumption of cucumber juice helps to control cases of eczema, arthritis and gout (2). 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 is said to be good for rheumatic conditions caused by excessive uric acid in the body. Cucumber has been associated with healing properties in relation to diseases of the kidney, urinary bladder, liver and pancreas. People suffering from diabetes mellitus have been found to benefit from the consumption of cucumber (3).
Health Benefits
Cucumber is helpful in settling down the burning sensation in summer seasons. It helps in preventing dehydration in the body. It is good in case of jaundice. It prevents hemorrhages and epitasis. It acts as diuretic and helps in preventing urine related disorders. It also provides strength to the body and relieves from general body weakness. It is also helpful in relieving the mental stress. The potassium content of cucumber makes it highly useful for conditions of high and low blood pressure. Cucumber has cleaning properties that removes accumulated waste and toxins from the body. The high water content of the cucumber helps to keep the body hydrated and regulate body temperature. Cucumber also helps the body to get rid of excess fluids, harmful wastes and toxins. The hard skin of the cucumber is excellent source of fiber, silica, potassium and magnesium (4). Silica also helps to strengthen the connective tissue such as bone, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels. Cucumber juice is a great source of silica (5).
Application in Cosmetics
A cucumber is very helpful to prevent various skin problems. Ascorbic acid and caffeic acid in cucumber are helpful to prevent eye swelling, sunburn and dermatitis. Cucumbers when applied topically help to treat inflamed, itchy and dry skin. There are various benefits of cucumber. The nourishing, hydrant and astringent properties of cucumber can restore skin’s normal pH balance. It can cleanse, cool, soothe and soften the skin. It can relieve stress and reduce our under-eye dark circles.
Research References
1. Kashif W., Qazi M. K. and Muhammad S. J. EFFECT OF DIFFERENT NITROGEN LEVELS ON GROWTH AND YIELD OF CUCUMBER (CUCUMIS SATIVUS L.) J. Agric. Res., 2008, 46(3):259 2. Jing T., Xiangjie M., Hao L., Jianglin Z., Ligang Z., Minghua Q., Xianming Z., Zhu Y., and Fuyu Y. Antimicrobial Activity of Sphingolipids Isolated from the Stems of Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) 3 Molecules 2010, 15: 9288-9297; 3. Mohamed B., Abderrahim Z., Hassane M., Abdelhafid T., Abdelkhaleq L., Medicinal plants with potential antidiabetic activity - A review of ten years of herbal medicine research (1990-2000) Int J Diabetes & Metabolism (2006) 14: 1-25 4. A.H.M.M. Rahman, M. Anisuzzaman, F. Ahmed, A.K.M. Rafiul Islam and A.T.M. Naderuzzaman. Study of Nutritive Value and Medicinal Uses of Cultivated Cucurbits Journal of Applied Sciences Research 2008, 4(5): 555-558. 5. Aref Abu-Rabia Herbs as a Food and Medicine Source in Palestine Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention , 2005 6: 404-407. 6. MARJORIE MURPHY C. Plant Products as Antimicrobial Agents CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY REVIEWS, 1999, 12(4): 564–582.