The familiar Halloween pumpkin is a member of the squash family, native to North and Central America.
Although pumpkin originated in America, is now grown worldwide. It shares its family tree with melons and cucumbers. Seeds of this group used to be ground into a paste and prescribed for fevers, bowel disorders, and urinary complaints.
The seeds of the pumpkin were used medicinally in Native American medicine, primarily for the treatment of kidney, bladder, and digestive problems. From 1863 to 1936, the United States Pharmacopoeia listed pumpkin seeds as a treatment for intestinal parasites.
Coarsely ground Pumpkin Seed is the usual preparation. Whole seeds may also be used. Store away from light and moisture.
Some studies have shown that pumpkin seed, or its constituent curcurbitin, has shown some activity against intestinal parasites.
Two studies performed in Thailand hinted that pumpkin seed snacks might help prevent kidney stones among children at high risk for developing them. However, this research only looked at chemical changes in the urine suggestive of a possible preventive effect, not actual reduction of stones. Furthermore, the design of the studies did not reach modern standards.
Pumpkin Seed has been used for a variety of problems for which its effectiveness is unconfirmed, including kidney inflammation, intestinal parasites – especially tapeworm – and wounds. In Asian medicine it is used to treat worms, diabetes, and water retention. Homeopathic practitioners prescribe it for nausea and seasickness.
Pumpkin Seed is taken orally. The usual daily dosage is 1 to 2 heaped teaspoonfuls of ground Pumpkin Seed with liquid in the morning and evening. Your total daily intake should average 10grams daily.
Pumpkin seeds have long been used by naturopathic physicians in treating prostate disorders. Pumpkin seed oil has become popular today as a treatment, and it was approved for this use in 1985 by Germany's Commission E. The efficacy of pumpkin seeds is thought to be due to their high content of essential fatty acids, zinc and plant sterols.
Pumpkin seed relieves the urinary difficulties that develop when an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer obstructs the exit from the bladder. Although pumpkin seed promotes normal urination, it does not correct the underlying problem, so it is important to pursue other treatments for the condition.
Note, however, that there is no meaningful evidence that pumpkin seed is helpful for this condition. Only double-blind, placebo-controlled studies can prove a treatment effective, and none have been reported for pumpkin seed oil alone.
Pumpkin seed oil may affect the activity of testosterone in the body in a similar fashion to saw palmetto. While pumpkin seed products are under investigation for their beneficial properties so far, no experiments have been reported that directly relate to androgen activity in disease.