Weekly Herb Review #15-Pumpkin Seed

Common Names: Pumpkin, Pepitas

Scientific Name: Curcubita pepo, C. maxima, C. mixta (Cucurbita comes from the Latin word meaning a?gourda)

Family: Cucurbitaceae a the gourd family, which includes cantaloupe, cucumber, and squash.

Parts Used: Seeds (with or without the husk)

Harvesting: Pumpkins are ready for harvest in the late summer and early fall. It is very easy to grow your own. If you are interested in the a?husklessa seed, try growing the a?Lady Godivaa variety, which have anakeda seeds. (Picture shown above.) Store the seeds in an airtight container in the fridge. They lose their peak freshness after 1-2 months. They can go rancid, so smell them before buying them, if possible. Raw seeds are best, as cooking can destroy some of the nutrients, but I never pass up on an opportunity to roast my Halloween pumpkin seeds!

Constituents/Nutrition:

  • Zinc and Magnesium – prostate protectors and important minerals for bone health. Zinc normalizes Testosterone production. Men with chronic prostatitis and prostate cancer show low levels of zinc.
  • Pumpkin seeds are also high in Manganese, Potassium, Iron, Copper, Protein, Tryptophan, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Monounsaturated Fats.
  • Cucurbitacins are amino acids responsible for preventing the conversion of Testosterone into Dihydrotestosterone.
  • Phytosterols (plant cholesterol) are also present in Pumpkin Seeds. They are believed to decrease cholesterol levels, decrease inflammation, enhance immune response, and decrease the risk of certain cancers.

Properties/Actions: Anti-inflammatory, Anthelmentic, Mucilaginous, Antioxidant, Diuretic, Antibacterial, Bladder Tonic.

Uses/Indications: Primarily used as a prostate tonic and for the expulsion of worms. The seeds and oil may also be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, for bone health, in the treatment of prostate cancer (as they contain some cytotoxic compounds), to soothe bladder irritation, and as an aid in childhood bedwetting.

Folk History/Magical Uses: Native to the Americas, Pumpkins were used as food and medicine by Native Americans. Some of the medicinal uses include: an emulsion of pumpkin seeds and watermelon seeds to heal wounds, to ease urination, and to expel worms. Seeds have also been eaten by the Maya to help get over grief from a broken heart.
Pumpkin seeds were transported back to Europe by early explorers.
Used by the Eclectics for Urinary disorders.

According to one of Aesopas fables, there was a man sitting under a great oak tree and he was criticizing Creator for putting such a tiny acorn on such a huge tree, and such an enormous pumpkin on a dainty vinea| So, an acorn fell off the oak tree and hit him in the nose.

Research:
Treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia with phytosterols.
In a randomized, double-blind study, the preparation Curbicin, obtained from pumpkin seeds and dwarf palm plants (Cucurbita pepo L. and Sabal serrulata), was compared with a placebo in the treatment of symptoms caused by prostatic hyperplasia; 53 patients took part in the study, which was carried out over a 3-month period. Urinary flow, micturition time, residual urine, frequency of micturition and a subjective assessment of the effect of treatment were all significantly improved in the treatment group. No untoward side effects were noted. Br J Urol. 1990 Dec;66(6):639-41.

Cautions/Side Effects: None Known

Preparation/Dosage:
All pumpkin and squash seeds are edible.
Up to 1/2 cup/day of seeds would be beneficial. They can be added to yogurt, cereal, cookies, sautA(C)ed vegetables, and to top off salads.

Pumpkin Seed, Pygeum, and Saw Palmetto would be a good prostate combination.

Pumpkin seed oil can be used raw on Vegetables, pasta and other foods. It has good proportions of Omega-3as and Omega-6as, nourishes the GI tract, rids the body of parasites, supports the prostate, and decreases dental caries.

Recipe:

Half a fluid ounce of oil of pumpkin seeds, taken upon a fasting stomach, repeated in 2 hours, and in another 2 hours followed by a dose of castor oil containing 1/2 fluid ounce of the pumpkin-seed oil, has been effectual in removing tapeworm.
a Kingas American Dispensatory

Bibliography:
Arvigo, R. & N. Epstein (2001). Rainforest home remedies. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishing.

Gladstar, R. (2001). Rosemary gladstaras family herbal. North Adams, MA: Storey Books Publishing.

Green, J. (1991). The male herbal: health care for men and boys. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press.

Kokopelli Seed Foundation. Retrieved on March 29, 2006 from
http://www.kokopelli-seed-foundation.com/actu/upload/04-50-4.jpg

Magic and medicine of plants. (1990). New York, NY: Element, Shaftesbury.

Onstad, D. (1996). Whole foods companion. Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Pepo (U. S. P.)aPumpkin Seed. Retrieved on March 29, 2006 from
http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/cucurbita-pepo.html

Pumpkin Seed. Retrieved on March 29, 2006 from
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?pfriendly=1&tname=foodspice&dbid=82

4 thoughts on “Weekly Herb Review #15-Pumpkin Seed

  1. So will the pumpkin you pictured above produce those greenish seeds you always see at the store?

    I’ve always wondered why my pumkin seeds always looked so different from the ones you find in the bulk isle.

  2. Yup, supposedly so, although, I imagine commercial pumpkin seed manufacturers just have a way of taking off the husk, ’cause I don’t think the “lady godiva” is the only pumpkin used for seeds.
    I am going to try to grow some this year though. They are very pretty!

  3. They are pretty! I wonder if the flesh would be tasty in, say, a pumpkin soup or risotto or pie as well?

    We like to toast our pumpkin seeds in a skillet with just a teensy bit of oil, then toss with salt and Indian spices. Very tasty, indeed!

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