Back in 1597, John Gerard, a famous English herbalist, talked about the healing properties of cucumber, recommending that eating a soup made with cucumber and oatmeal three times a day would combat a fiery and pimply complexion. Since then there has been much anecdotal evidence to suggest that this much used vegetable is helpful in reducing the facial redness and swelling of rosacea. Here I will look at why cucumber is a cool remedy for rosacea and how to apply it to the skin.
History of Cucumber
Cucumber (cucumis sativus) enjoys a long history, being one of the oldest plants known to humankind, cultivated in southern India for the last 4,000 years or so. It is even mentioned in the Bible (Numbers 11:5) where the children of Israel, when leaving Egypt, lamented that they remembered the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic that they had ate freely. The Greeks and Romans were also apparently fond of cucumbers and it has remained a popular vegetable ever since. Since Victorian times the English upper classes have served cucumber sandwiches for afternoon tea and even the Queen of England served them at her garden parties at Buckingham Palace.
Benefits of Cucumber
Cucumber is an ingredient of many creams and lotions because of its astringent, cooling and moistening properties. Their flesh is primarily composed of water, but also contains vitamins A, C, E and caffeic acid, all of which help to soothe skin irritations and to reduce swelling. This is why placing cucumber slices over the eyes helps to reduce swollen eyes. The outer skin contains beneficial minerals including magnesium, potassium and silica. Silica is an essential component of healthy connective tissue which is important to maintain clear and radiant skin.
How to Use Cucumber for Rosacea
There are various ways you can apply cucumber to the skin to help reduce redness and swelling of the face. The first recipe is to puree several slices of cucumber and combine the puree with two to three tablespoons of natural yogurt. Apply to the face, like a face mask, lie back and leave it to work for approximately ten minutes. Wash off afterwards with cool water.
Another method is to simply place whole chilled cucumber slices over the affected areas for ten to fifteen minutes to reduce swelling and redness. This would be particularly useful for anyone suffering with ocular rosacea.
Next let’s look at a remedy that is said to have been used by Cleopatra to improve beauty and could be helpful for rosacea. Slice a whole cucumber and mix it with half a glass of cream, add one spoonful of olive oil, honey and mud and mix together. Nowadays, you can mix all these ingredients in a blender and then put the mixture in the refrigerator to cool. Make sure your face is clean and then massage the mixture into the skin, allow it to dry and leave it for as long as comfortable. If you want to try this recipe, I would suggest using manuka honey (extremely beneficial in healing skin) and Dead Sea mud (full of minerals).
As you can see, the humble cucumber is not only good to eat in salads and sandwiches, but has soothing and cooling properties, all beneficial in treating the symptoms of rosacea.
Vicky Massey has a wide experience of alternative health and healing. She has a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and qualifications in massage, nutrition, healing and yoga.