Many cultivated varieties of the pumpkin plant render fruit weighing from half a kilogram to more than fifty.
Pumpkin Plant Scientific Facts
- Similar species: Curcubita melopepo L., Curcubita ovifera L., Curcubita verrucose L., Curcubita maxima Duch.
- Scientific synonyms: Cucurbita pepo L.
- Other names: Field pumpkin.
- French: Citrouille
- Spanish: Calabacera, zapallo.
- Environment: Some varieties are native to the Middle East, other to America. It grows in humid, hot climate soils. At present, it is cultivated worldwide.
- Description: Annual plant of the Cucurbitaceae family, with climbing or creeping stem growing up to 8 m high. It has large leaves covered by urticant hairs and exuberant yellow flowers.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The fruit (seeds and flesh).
Healing Properties and Indications
The seeds of the pumpkin plant, and especially the germ, contain up to thirty-five percent of oil, proteins rich in essential amino acids, and cucurbitacin, an active component that presents the following properties and indications:
- Antiprostatic. The most frequent prostate affliction, adenoma (benign tumor), manifests itself in mature aged men through loss of strength in urinating, pollakiuria (an urge to urinate often in only small amounts), especially at night and after traveling seated, and in severe cases, complete inability to urinate.
Cucurbitacin in pumpkin seeds acts mainly on the prostate, reducing its inflammation and slowing its hypertrophy (enlargement). This is because cucurbitacin blocks the division of glandular prostate cells (antimitotic properties), thus retarding the enlargement of this vital gland.
However, one has to remember that while the seeds of the pumpkin plant can hinder prostate enlargement and thus alleviate the discomforts mentioned above, they can never reduce the already formed excessive growth.
- Urinary anti-inflammatory. The active component of pumpkin seeds also acts on the urinary bladder, reducing its inflammation and relaxing it. Hence, pumpkin seeds are recommended for cystitis, urinary infection, urinary incontinence, cystocele (protrusion of the urinary bladder), neurogenic urinary bladder (an irritation that manifests itself via a constant urge to urinate).
- Vermifuge. Cucurbitacin acts by detaching the head of taeniae (tapeworms) from the intestine walls. It is also effective against other intestinal parasites, such as ascaridae. Once the worm is detached, a purgative substance must be taken to promote the expulsion of parasites.
This effective vermifuge action of pumpkin seeds lacks any risk. Therefore, pumpkin seeds are ideal for children suffering from intestinal parasites, and especially from tapeworms or roundworms.
The flesh of the pumpkin plant, roasted or boiled, is rich in sugars (carbohydrates). It has soothing properties on the whole digestive system and mild diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is therefore recommended for people suffering from the following afflictions:
- Digestive disorders, such as dyspepsia, stomach acidity, constipation, and intestinal fermentation or putrefaction.
- Hemorrhoids, because of its soothing and mild laxative properties.
- Renal disorders (always as a complementary treatment), such as renal insufficiency, nephritis or glomerulonephritis, edema (retention of fluids), and kidney stones.
How to use Pumpkin Plant
- The SEEDS can be taken when fresh, dry, or cooked, in an amount of 50-100 g, two or three times a day.
- When used to combat intestinal parasites, we recommend following this method:
– Fast for twelve hours (consuming only water) from the evening before starting the treatment.
– Weigh 200-400 g of seeds with rind (adults can take up to 800 g). Once peeled, mash them in a mortar. Some sugar can be added to the resulting paste.
– Distribute the paste into three equal portions for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Do not eat anything else during the whole day, except carrot, which also has anthelmintic properties.
– One hour after the third meal, administer a purgative substance (for instance, tinnevelly senna, cascara sagrada infusions, a couple of spoonfuls of castor bean oil, or fruit salts).
– Observe feces. If parasites have not been expelled, repeat the whole process in two or three days.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 605, 606. Print.