Cucumber
Cucumber

Background

Cucumber is a type of fruit that grows on a vine. The fruit is commonly used as food. The fruit, seed, and stem are used in medicine.

Cucumber is used for osteoarthritis, high levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia), high blood pressure, and wound healing, but there is no good scientific evidence to support its use for these or other conditions.

Cucumber is also an ingredient in various skin products.
When taken by mouth: Cucumber is LIKELY SAFE when used in food amounts. Cucumber extract up to 20 mg daily and cucumber seed extract up to 500 mg daily are POSSIBLY SAFE when used as medicine, short-term. There isn't enough reliable information to know if other cucumber products are safe to use as medicine.

When applied to the skin: Cucumber is LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin in appropriate amounts. Mild redness and irritation occur rarely.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if cucumber is safe to use as a medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Diabetes: There is some evidence that cucumber seed can decrease blood sugar levels. This might increase the chance of blood sugar levels becoming too low in people being treated for diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Surgery: Cucumber seed might lower blood sugar levels. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using cucumber seed at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Effectiveness

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Osteoarthritis. Early research shows that taking cucumber extract improves pain, stiffness, and function better than taking a combination of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate.
  • High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Early research shows that taking cucumber seed extract slightly lowers levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol and other fats in people with mild hyperlipidemia. It also seems to increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol.
  • Burns.
  • Diabetes.
  • Fever.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Wounds.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cucumber for these uses.

Dosing & administration

The appropriate dose of cucumber depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cucumber. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Cucumber seed might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking cucumber seed along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Cucumber seed might lower blood sugar. If it is taken along with other herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar, blood sugar might drop too low in some people. Some herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar include devil's claw, fenugreek, guar gum, Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and others.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.

Action

Cucumber contains fats in the seeds that might help to lower cholesterol. The fruit contains chemicals that might help to reduce swelling (inflammation) and speed up wound healing.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 23/11/2022 18:07:14 and last updated on 07/10/2020 03:19:59. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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