Origins of cucumber
The cucumber plant is thermophilic, as it requires a warm, mild climate and heliophilous thriving best in full sun. Evidence indicates that it has been cultivated in India for more than 3,000 years. From India, it spread to Greece and then Italy, and the Romans became especially fond of the crop. Later in reached China and then the UK and the entire developed world.
Anti-inflammatory properties of cucumber
Inflammation is a complex biological phenomenon and is the body’s natural response to harmful stimuli. While inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to initiate the healing process, inflammation, which runs unchecked, can lead to a host of diseases and can be then classified as acute or chronic. Swelling, due to an increased flow of fluids into the tissue, is typically associated with inflammation. At a vascular, molecular level, inflammation is the result of the so-called pro-inflammatory cytokines cascade, of which the starting mediator is scientifically known as TNF-α.
Cucumber fruits contain many phytochemicals that exhibit various pharmacological beneficial activities. Cucumbers and cucumber extracts have long been recognized as having anti-inflammatory properties, and its use as a skin soothing and healing properties is, probably, the most famous application.
Cucumber extracts for endurance sports training
Cucumber extract obtained in mild conditions, using the most modern purification technology does exhibit exciting properties. Any physical activity is linked to some inflammatory response and an increase in inflammatory and oxidative stress markers. More so in endurance sports and strenuous exercise training where the increased load and demand on muscle and joints can produce acute and chronic inflammation states. It has also been scientifically documented that the action of inflammatory mediators slows the post-exercise recovery, reduce muscle strength and impair subsequent efforts to train.
Sport nutrition with pure botanical extract from cucumber
To date, there is only a company that introduced a pure botanical extract from cucumber in its sports nutrition products. Crownhealth, a Swiss-based company, has collected scientific evidence to prove the positive effects of cucumber in endurance sports like marathon, triathlon, swimrun, ultra cycling, trail running, XC ski, and more.
ActidoTM is a proprietary cucumber botanical extract for which an International Patent Application has been filed. According to the CEO of Crownhealth, Simona Ino "Actido performs a strong soothing action and through University lead research it has been possible to link its efficacy to the reduction of the TNF-α expression".
Results of clinical trials on cucumber extracts for sports
The cucumber extract has been the subject of intense scientific screening culminating in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. A USA based study, showed cucumber’s ability to enhance muscle recovery, reduce the inflammatory biomarkers and improve exercise performance. The post-training recovery period was reduced and this translated into enhanced muscle strength, allowing for longer and more frequent workouts. These effects are particularly positive and very desirable for endurance athletes as cucumber extract does improve their ability to train and recover. Non–athletes and the general population suffer from similar phenomena, sometimes leading to impairment to their daily routines. They also might gain benefits from regular assumptions of the unique natural and pure cucumber extract.