6 Uses for Cucumbers and A Cucumber Toner Recipe

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Cucumber For Acne

Last weekend I had a rare Saturday morning free to myself. Since I almost never get to go to the farmer’s market as a patron, I decided to visit with my kids. While my husband worked our booth I wandered slowly (ignoring my whining child-anchors) and enjoyed samples of fresh produce, smelled the flowers and pet a few dogs.

At our friend’s organic farm booth I stopped to taste some fresh cucumbers they had out on a plate. They were delicious, crisp and sweet. I HAD to have some and it got me thinking about all the ways I would work them up for us to use this week. I knew I would HAVE to make my cucumber toner, the recipe I’m sharing with you in this post. I began to wonder how many people know how beneficial the cucumber (Cucurbita longa) can be. Here are some reasons you should grab up the cucumbers at your local market while they are available:

Six Uses for Cucumbers

Note: If you haven’t already tried, it’s easy to pickle your cucumbers.

Eye Wash

Hot, dry eyes with discharge can be greatly soothed with the application of cucumber juice. This is the origin of the use of cucumber slices over the eyes at a spa. They act to reduce the redness in and around the eye.


A supreme skin soother after too much sun, the cucumber can be applied in a couple different ways. Either grind it up and apply the pulp directly to the skin, or juice your cucumber and repeatedly dab on with a soft cloth. (If you’re looking for sunscreen, check out our homemade sunscreen recipe.)

Water Retention

Puffiness, bloating, and water retention, regardless of the reason, can be greatly eased by eating cucumbers or drinking cucumber juice. The seeds have always been the focus for this use of the cucumber, so don’t go looking for the seedless varieties.

Summer Lung Congestion

Cucumber is cool energetically. It is actually one of the more obvious and easy to conceptualize when we talk about food having energy. We tend to feel cooler just having eaten a cucumber. This vegetable has been used for congestion in the lungs, but it tends to be best for “hot” congestion such as summer allergies.


As I said, cucumber is cooling. It can be very effective as a compress or poultice on the forehead or as a tonic that is taken internally to bring down a fever.

Cucumber for Acne, Rashes, Red Skin

Perhaps my favorite way to use cucumber is on my face! I use cucumber juice all summer long as a toner in my skincare routine. I make this toner for my herbal skincare classes throughout the summer and there are always oohs and aaahs. The cool feeling on a hot summer night before bed not only keeps my skin looking great, but also helps me sleep well.

Fresh Cucumber Toner Recipe

(Makes about 4½ ounces of astringent)


  • ¼ c fresh cucumber juice
  • 2 Tbsp distilled water
  • 2 Tbsp witch hazel or vodka


Juice your cucumber, or alternatively, process it and put it through a strainer to isolate just the juice. Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into a clean bottle. This is fabulous when kept in the refrigerator!


About Dawn Combs

Dawn is a wife, mother, farmer, author, ethnobotanist, professional speaker, and educator. She has over 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics. Dawn is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm. Her books include Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local.

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  1. Kathy Harpster says

    I do not have a juicer. Can I use a blender, then strain the juice? And is it possible to make a facial and/or body creme with cucumbers?

    • Dawn says

      Yes, you can use a blender and then strain out the solids. Yep, cucumber could be the liquid portion of a cream… just make sure that you compensate with preservatives and wax for the increased liquidity.

  2. Brenda says

    HI. I’ve been reading about the cucumber toner. Would this help my face if I am experiencing, what I think is, acne? My face is just really broke out. Thank you! 🙂

  3. Nicole says

    What a great-timed post since I have more cucumbers than I know what to do with coming out of my garden right now! I’d love to make this toner but do you know about how long it will keep in the fridge for? Thanks!

    • Dawn Combs says

      I’ve actually had it last for months and months. I would recommend you plan to make enough to last only 3-4 weeks for best results….and for sure to share with a couple friends.

    • sandra says

      I too have more cukes than I know what to do with. ;), So, I freeze it. I juice cucumbers, then put in tuna cans to freeze, when frozen, I put it sealed bags to freeze.

  4. cyndi says

    How do you make cucumber juice? Any chance you could elaborate a little bit more on some of the ideas. Like the fever poultice, congestion etc.

    • Dawn Combs says

      For the poultice/compress- you would very simply make the juice (see the toner recipe and omit the water and witch hazel/vodka) and soak a cloth OR crush up the cucumber and apply the pulp. I would chill either of them first for best results.

      For congestion- this is either as a juice or as the fruit itself, eaten freely. It tends to loosen up congestion in the body and help to release it. Part of its action is as a diuretic, helping to move waste out of the body through fluid balance.

  5. Dawn Nicol says

    Great article! Is there a recipe for the cucumber juice used as an eye wash? Or is it straight up cucumber juice? Do you use eye droppers? or an eye wash container? I have been trying Castor Oil drops for dry eyes at night for the last two nights and not sure what I think of that yet so would like to try the cucumber.


    • Dawn Combs says

      For the dry eyes I also would highly recommend chamomile tea and/or eyebright tea. I can get you the latin names of either if you need them… right now my memory fails on the eyebright (thinking euphrasia?). Anyway, to make the cucumber juice you just want to follow the instructions in the toner recipe and then don’t add the water or witch hazel/vodka. You’ll get a green liquid that you can splash or drip into your eyes. If you have an eye cup that’s even better.
      Another note- for your dry eyes… take care of your kidneys. Sounds like you might want for a bit of a natural diuretic (chickweed, dandelion or cleavers would be awesome). Look into that and see what you think, but a tea might be really helpful to get the water balance of your body back up and running properly!

      • Dawn Nicol says

        So drink the tea or soak a cloth in it and place the cloth on eyes or put the tea in my eyes? I have also purchased a fruit infusion pitcher and have cucumber, mint leaves, lemon and a bit of lime in it hoping that will help with the diuretic some. But I do drink a lot of water and was told my dry eyes have to do with the Lasek surgery I had over 14 years ago and my age (51). I will look into the items you mentioned as well. Thanks for the eye drop recipe.

  6. Dolores Farrell says

    I’m just about to make use of your fresh cucumber recipe, because I am hot and sticky from processing fresh cherries with sugar, and I don’t know of any messier job in the kitchen!

    I love your website, and always read it with enjoyment even if I don’t make use of some of them.
    Thank you from Ireland