Scientific Name/Common Name: Cucurbita pepo / Pumpkin
Part(s) Used: Seed
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Per 100 g: 19 g fat (primarily omega-6 and omega-9); 54 g carbohydrates (of which 18 g is fibre); 19 g protein; excellent source of magnesium (262 mg)and potassium (919 mg); good source of iron (3.3 mg).
Overview: Pumpkin has been cultivated as a food for at least the last 16,000 years, based on archaeological evidence in Mexico and North America. The seeds were used by many different aboriginal groups for expelling intestinal worms, for killing tapeworms, and as a diuretic. Scientific studies have confirmed these indications and have documented the efficacy of the seeds for eliminating both tapeworms and roundworms. Pumpkin seeds are still widely used in Eritrea to treat tapeworm. The German Commission E recommends pumpkin seeds for treating urinary and prostate conditions, backed by many studies. The therapeutic use and safety of pumpkin seed was recently tested in a multicentric clinical trial. The study involved 2,245 patients suffering from benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH stage I&II). Patients received 1-2 capsules of a pumpkin seed extract per day for 12 weeks. The International Prostate Symptom Score questionnaire (American Urological Association (I-PSS)) was used to record urinary symptoms and a quality of life questionnaire (LQ Index) was used to record the treatment's influence on quality of life. Results showed that during therapy, the I-PSS decreased by 41.4% and life quality improved by 46.1%. More than 96% of the patients reported no undesired side effects.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: To support prostate health; diuretic; for benign prostatic hyperplasia; anthelmintic to treat intestinal worms.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Copyright American Botanical Council. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications, 1029 Chestnut Street, Newton, MA 02464. Pp. 322-325. Friederich M, Theurer C, Schiebel-Schlosser G. 2000.