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

  • Infertility Issues? Start With The Guy

    I’ve lost track of the number of couples we treat at WholeHealth Chicago who are involved in one of the hormone injection/surgical procedure stops on the conveyor belt of infertility centers. Currently, it’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of couples are struggling with infertility, half of them due to male factors. The infertility docs are nice enough and certainly well-meaning, but I note a Read More

  • Issues with Endocrinologists: Thyroid Approaches and Big Pharma

    My beefs with endocrinologists pretty much center on how they manage thyroid gland concerns, though they rarely win prizes for managing adrenal issues either. I don’t know any endocrinologists personally and rarely refer my patients to them. Occasionally, a patient with newly diagnosed hypothyroidism (low thyroid) will want to confirm the diagnosis with an endocrinologist. I suggest she prepare for a scolding if she’s taking Read More

  • Six Beefs With Rheumatologists

    If you find yourself in the waiting room of a rheumatologist, you’re likely there because your joints hurt and have been hurting, often for years. You’ve been getting by on aspirin or Advil for the pain, but with things worsening your primary care doctor suggests you should see a joint specialist, a rheumatologist. And because there’s a shortage of physicians in this specialty, your appointment Read More

Join our Discount Program!

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION