Watermelon is believed to date back 5,000 years when it was prized in southern Africa for its water content and being tolerant to droughts. It made its way to Egypt around 1,000 years later and watermelons were made sweeter and thought of as a food source more than water. The Greeks and Romans later considered watermelons to have medicinal qualities mainly as a diuretic and to treat heatstroke.
Today, watermelon is a popular fruit around the world, especially during the warmer months thanks to its refreshing nature and 92 percent water content. China is the number one producer globally, and the US is the seventh. Today, we’re going to look at how to make a DIY watermelon extract for blood pressure. Before I jump into the recipe, here are the health benefits that watermelons offer.
Medicinal Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon contains a number of nutrients that help reduce blood pressure. One of the main components is L-citrulline, the greatest concentration of which is found in watermelon out of all foods. The word citrulline even comes from the Latin word for watermelon. It’s more concentrated in the flesh although the rind still contains some. L-citrulline is an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide production that helps to improve blood circulation and blood pressure by opening up the blood vessels.
It also contains Lycopene which reduces stiff arteries and positively benefits blood pressure. Watermelon’s also rich in potassium which is known to keep blood pressure levels healthy. The magnesium it contains keeps blood vessels relaxed and improves blood flow.
If you are already taking blood pressure medication, this extract is not intended to replace it. If you want to know whether you can use this in combination with prescribed medication then please speak to your doctor.
Other health benefits that watermelon provide include:
- Antioxidants that protect against heart disease and certain cancers such as prostate and colorectal cancers.
- Lycopene, antioxidants, and vitamin C work together to lower inflammation in the body. A high level of inflammation is known to be a precursor to many diseases and illnesses.
- Lycopene may also protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which can cause blindness.
- Several nutrients that watermelons contain improve your skin health by creating and repairing skin cells. They also keep your hair healthier and stronger.
How to Choose the Best Watermelon
If you’re opting to buy a whole watermelon rather than a chunk it can be tricky to know how the flesh is going to be inside. Here are some tips on how to choose the best watermelon.
There are more than 50 varieties of watermelon and they come in all sorts of different shapes from oval to round (and even square in Japan). Whichever type you’re going for, make sure the fruit is symmetrical. Irregularities can indicate that it didn’t receive consistent amounts of water. Check for cuts and dents too as they could mean that insects or fungus are present.
Compare the watermelons for weight by picking them up. The heavier the fruit is for its size, the better. Also, check that it’s firm. The “softer” it is, the riper the fruit and it could be overripe.
There are also visual checks you can do if you can’t pick it up first. The presence of dark spots can signify bacteria or fungus so is best avoided. Look at the field spot, which is where the watermelon would have been resting on the ground. It should be a yellowish color. If it’s white then it’s probably underripe. Another indicator of an underripe watermelon is if it appears shiny. You should actually go for a dull one. Now that you’ve chosen your watermelon, let’s look at how to make the extract.
How to Make This DIY Watermelon Extract
Making this extract is easy but you need to plan for six weeks from the time you mix the ingredients to the time your extract is ready. There will be approximately 3 calories per 1 ml of extract if you use vodka (this will vary slightly depending on how strong your vodka is) and 5 calories if you use glycerin.
- Vodka (minimum 40% alcohol) or glycerin
- Sharp knife
- Spoon (optional)
- Chopping board
- Glass jar or mason jar with a tight lid
- Fine strainer
- Container / bowl
- Dropper bottle/s
- Cut off a chunk of watermelon that’s suitable for your glass jar.
- Further cut this into smaller chunks using a knife or a spoon to dig small pieces out, discarding the rind or using it for another recipe. Place your watermelon pieces into your jar.
- Take your vodka or glycerin and pour it over, making sure that you cover all of the watermelon pieces completely.
- Close the lid tight and place your jar in a cupboard so that it’s away from heat and light and you’re going to keep it there for around six weeks.
- Check on it once a day and shake it up, making sure the watermelon is submerged.
- Once six weeks is up, remove your jar from the cupboard and take a container or bowl to catch the liquid you’re about to strain. Place a fine strainer over the container. Wrap a few layers of cheesecloth over itself and place this over your strainer.
- Remove the lid from your jar and pour all of the contents over the cheesecloth. You can discard your used watermelon pieces.
- Pour your watermelon extract into a dropper bottle or bottles, depending on how much liquid you have and how big your dropper bottles are. Your extract is now ready.
You can take 1ml up to three times a day (spread them out so you take one in the morning, afternoon, and evening). It’s best to take it between meals so food doesn’t slow down absorption. You can simply add it to a large glass of water and drink it. Store your dropper bottle/s in a cool dark place and the vodka extract will keep for up to one year and the glycerin up to six months.