Unguentum Cucumis.—Ointment of Cucumber.
Preparation.—Take of green cucumbers (suitable for table use), 7 pounds; pure white lard, 24 ounces; selected veal suet, cut in pieces, 15 ounces. The unpared cucumbers, after being washed, are to be reduced to a pulp by grating, and the juice expressed and strained. The suet is to be heated over a salt water-bath until the fat is fused out from the membranes; then add the lard, and, when liquefied, strain the mixture through muslin into a wide-mouthed earthen vessel capable of holding a gallon, and stir it until it commences to thicken, when one-third of the cucumber juice is to be added and beaten with the ointment, by means of a wooden spatula, until its odor has been almost wholly extracted. Then allow it to stand until the fluid separates, which must be removed by decantation, and add another third of the juice. This must be beaten in like manner until exhausted, then decanted, and finally the last third added and similarly treated. The jar is then to be closely covered and placed in a water-bath, where it must remain an hour, or until the fatty matter entirely separates from the enveloped juice. The green albuminous coagulum which floats upon the surface is then to be skimmed off, and the jar put aside in a cool place, that the ointment may solidify. The crude ointment is then to be carefully separated from the watery liquid on which it floats, melted by a gentle heat, and strained—part in a jar, and closely sealed for keeping—the remainder into a mortar, and triturated with a little rose water, until it is very white and creamy, for present use. It is usual to keep this ointment in nearly-filled glass jars, and to cover it with rose water to prevent the access of air. Thus prepared, cucumber ointment readily keeps from season to season (W. Procter, Jr.).
Action and Medical Uses.—This forms an emollient application, very useful for chapped lips and hands, irritated or excoriated surfaces, etc.