Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo)
Pumpkins are part of the squash family. Native to North and Central America, this popular annual vine is now cultivated all over the world. This long vine blooms with single large yellow flowers that then grow into large fruit. In Peru, the plant was used as food and as an offering to the gods. These, along with other species of squash, were among the three main food crops, which also included beans and corn, in early American civilizations. The plant is also important in China, where it is considered a symbol of fruitfulness and prosperity.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Pumpkin seeds will rid the body of worm infestations for both children and adults. The herb contains cucurbitin, an amino acid, that is very efficient at killing intestinal parasites like tapeworms and roundworms. The seeds contain a large amount of zinc, which is a good treatment for an enlarged prostate and for sexual function. The seeds are a calming diuretic and can help inflammations of the bladder.
Seeds also contain an amino acid known as myosin, which is a primary protein ingredient for almost all the muscles in the body and is very important to the chemistry of contracting muscles. The seeds can relieve nausea, motion sickness and travel sickness. High in fiber, the seeds are promising to play an important part in defending the body against disease of the digestive tract. Seeds have also been useful for people suffering from gout. Eat the seeds to help clear up acne.
Externally Pumpkin seed oil can be used to heal burns, chapped skin and wounds. Pulp can be used as a poultice for burns and other external problems.
Other Uses Pumpkin is used in cooking and they are traditionally carved at Halloween as jack o'lanterns.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Combine the seed oil with saw palmetto to reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Seeds The seeds are used medicinally, as is an oil made from the seeds. The pulp is also used.
There are currently no known contraindications or drug interactions with the herb.
Preparation and Dosage
If you use commercially prepared capsules, take two once or twice a day with water at meals.
To make an herbal tea to help gout, boil 5 cups of water and add 1-1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds. Leave the pot uncovered. Simmer on low for 25 minutes. Cool and strain the tea. Keep it in the refrigerator. Take one cup of this herbal tea every two or three hours.