2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Pumpkin (cucurbita) Seed

What Is It?

Numerous species of the Cucurbita genus are native to North America. Their fruits (mostly squash) have long been used for food, and their seeds for healing. Well-known Cucurbita species include autumn squash, butternut squash, China squash, crookneck squash, summer squash, and the famous Halloween squash and adornment: the pumpkin (C. pepo).

All Cucurbita plants are relatively large and grow on vinelike stems, producing yellow flowers and flattened, oval seeds. Many varieties are cultivated around the world. In health-food stores, cucurbita seeds are often sold as pumpkin seeds.

Health Benefits

The seeds of cucurbita plants are particularly nutrient-dense, providing notable stores of protein, fiber, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous, as well as the amino acids arginine and glutamic acid. The seeds also contain calcium, potassium, zinc, selenium, folate, and niacin.

The seeds of certain Cucurbita varieties, including the pumpkin, contain linolenic acid, a nutrient believed to help prevent hardening of the arteries.

Eating a ground-up mixture of the seeds–or simply snacking on a small handful of seeds once or twice a day–can calm the irritated and overactive bladder occasionally associated with bedwetting. Germany’s Commission E has approved using pumpkin seeds for bedwetting and other bladder problems.

Specifically, cucurbita seeds may help to:

Eradicate intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms and roundworms. Perhaps the most enduring folk use for cucurbita seeds is to eliminate intestinal parasites, a use largely explained by the eventual discovery of an unusual amino acid called cucurbitin in the seeds. This active ingredient is believed to paralyze the worms over time, forcing them to loose their grip and get expelled from the body.
To confuse matters, however, the concentration of cucurbitin in Cucurbita plants varies widely, which may explain why some herbalists have had positive experiences in treating intestinal parasites with the seeds while others have not.

Prevent and relieve symptoms of prostate enlargement. Several years ago, researchers noted that men who live in countries where cucurbita seeds are a regular part of the diet suffer lower rates of prostate problems. And many men who take on a therapeutic regimen of eating cucurbita seeds say that their symptoms of prostate enlargement have improved.
The use of cucurbita seeds for prostate symptoms can be traced back to Native American healers. Today, a number of European countries (including Germany) approve of their use for lessening urination problems in men with early stage (I or II) benign prostate enlargement, medically known as benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH. The exact mechanism for the seeds’ effectiveness is uncertain but it may involve a fatty oil in the seeds that promotes urine flow. (The fatty oil appears to block the action of the hormone dihydrotestosterone on the prostate gland).

In one of the few clinical trials on cucurbita seeds (pumpkin specifically) for BPH, significant improvements in such symptoms as post-void dribbling, weak urine flow, and time spent urinating were reported in many of the participants. Fifty-three men with BPH took part in this three-month, double-blind study completed in 1990.

Preliminary findings also indicate that the seeds may reduce hormonal damage to prostate cells, possibly reducing the future risk of developing prostate cancer.

Dosage Information

Special tips:

–Cucurbita seeds are sold in the shell and shelled, roasted and raw. They can be found in health-food stores and some supermarkets.

–The oil in cucurbita seeds can easily go rancid, so store them in the refrigerator or freezer and be sure to discard them by the date indicated on the package.

For anti-worm actions: Make an emulsion by grinding up the seeds, mixing them with some sugar (or honey) and some milk (or water). Sip this mixture in three daily doses, ingesting a total of about 2 ounces of the emulsion. Alternatively, make a tea with the ground seeds by infusing them in hot water; allow the brew to cool slightly before straining and sipping. Don’t take more than 16 ounces at one time.

For preventing and treating prostate enlargement (in early stages): Chew a handful of cucurbita seeds every day.

Guidelines for Use

You can “harvest” your own cucurbita seeds from fresh pumpkins or other squash, then roast the seeds on an oiled baking sheet in a slow oven until crisp.

General Interaction

There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with cucurbita seeds.

Possible Side Effects

There are no known side effects associated with the use of cucurbita seeds.

Cautions

If you are experiencing bothersome or troubling symptoms of possible prostate enlargement (weak urine flow, frequency, post-void dribbling and backwash, for example), see your doctor.

Keep in mind that although the seeds may relieve the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, they have not been proven to actually reduce the size of this gland.

If you suspect that you have intestinal parasites of any kind, consult your doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Then you can discuss your desire to treat the condition with cucurbita seeds.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops


**Winter Solstice Celebration: An evening of Acupuncture and Shamanic Healing
Tuesday, December 17, 5:45–7:30pm
Hosted by Katie Oberlin, HTCP and Mari Stecker, LAc

Course Fee: $75.00

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enter the stillpoint of the Winter Solstice, reflect on the lessons of 2019, and set intentions for the new year. This will be an evening of individual and group healing, ceremony, and celebration. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • Ten Drugs Doctors Should Consider De-Prescribing

    Physicians use the word polypharmacy when a patient is taking five or more prescription drugs daily. A recent survey showed that half of women Medicare recipients were taking five or more drugs daily, and 12% of them were taking ten (!) or more. New patients frequently arrive at WholeHealth Chicago carrying bags stuffed like piñatas with prescription drugs and nutritional supplements, the latter recommended by Read More

  • Toxic Metals, Heart Disease, and Chelation Therapy

    In last week’s Health Tip I reviewed the well-researched health dangers of environmental toxic metals (also called heavy metals). They’ve always been a serious health risk, but with the Trump Administration’s recent rollbacks of clean air and water regulations we can expect even more trouble ahead. Statisticians predict an astonishing 160,000 unnecessary deaths over the next decade from the reversals of clean air and water Read More

  • Heavy Metal Toxicity and Your Health

    For those who were otherwise preoccupied that day long ago in high school chemistry, the heavy metals refer to a group of especially dense metals or metal-like substances (called metalloids) found in the environment. These metals–specifically lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum–can all be absorbed by your body and stored there. Our environment is already quite toxic (Trump’s EPA deregulations aren’t helping) and it’s getting Read More

This month, save 20% off all Metagenics Medical Foods

UltraMeal
UltraInflamX
UltraClear