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Pumpkin Plant

Pumpkin Plant

Botanical Description & Habitat

Cucurbita pepo

Family
Cucurbitaceae

Common names
Pompion

Habitat
Native of tropical Africa and also found in North America and South Asia. It is an annual plant that prefers rich soil.

Description.
The pumpkin plant has green, hairy, creeping stem that grows 10 to 30 inches in length. It bears large, dark green leaves with prominent veins and pointed, toothed lobes. Large, yellow flowers grow from the leaf axils. The fruit is the large, round, orange pumpkin. It is 10 to 20 inches in diameter, and contains numerous ovate seeds.

Medicinal parts
Seeds, ripe, dried

Historical Properties & Uses

The primary use of pumpkin seed is as an anthelmintic and vermifuge in doses of 50-200 grams. The seed has been used by many cultures as diverse as native American Indian and native African.

Pumpkin seed has a reputation for being a non-irritating diuretic, and is valued as a soothing treatment for the treatment of enlarged prostate gland. Several unpublished clinical trials confirmed the mildness of this herb's diuretic action. Pumpkin seed possesses a cytotoxic principle useful in combatting cancer-enlarged prostate. No harmful effects from ingesting pumpkin seed have been noted clinically.

Pumpkin seed has approval status by the German Commission E for irritated bladder conditions and micturition problems of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

Pumpkin seed embryo contains an isoprenoid compound, which is at least partially responsible for its anthelmintic properties. This chemical arrests cell division at metaphase, and can therefore be used to fight cancer in cases of hypertrophy of the prostate gland.

Anthelmintic properties against Allolobophora fetida are found in watery emulsions of the fresh seed, and anthelmintic properties have also been found in the oil (which is high in both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, including oleic, palmitic, stearic, and linoleic), and in the whole seed.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Possible Interactions
Mineral oil, by sequestering pumpkin, may reduce its anthelmintic effect. The same may be true, to a lesser extent, of antacids.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Pumpkin seed has proven a mixed blessing for livestock owners: on one hand, it is very nutritious, containing large amounts of vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, oils, and other nutritious substances; on the other hand, there are reports of animals on a diet containing large amounts of pumpkin seed (cattle, sheep, poultry, and ostrich) developing a kind of inebriation that involves loss of coordination in the extremities. The inebriation becomes a habit that is difficult to break.

No human toxicity data is available, but the seed has apparently been used by several cultures around the world without incident.

Pumpkin seed has approval status by the German Commission E.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Preparation & Administration

Seed
50-200 grams

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany are as follows:

10 g of seed.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

Am Hospital Formulary Service. Am Soc of Hosp Pharm. Wash, D.C.

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Bressler, R., M.D. Bogdonoff & G.J. Subak-Sharpe. 1981. The Physicians Drug Manual. Doubleday & Co, Inc. Garden City, NY. 1213 pp.

Burtt, D.J., Transv. Agric. J., 2, 96, 278, 1903-1904.

Committee on Pharmocopaeia of the Am Institute of Homeopathy, The Homeopathic Pharmacopaeia of the United States. 8th ed., Vol 1. Otis Clapp and Son, Agents, Boston, l981.

Goodman, L.S. & A. Gilman. 1975. Pharm Basis of Thera. Macmillan, NY.

Hansten, P.D. 1979. Drug Interactions, 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phila.

Hyde, F.F. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Assoc: West Yorks, England, 1983

Kastrup, E.K., ed. 1981. Drug Facts and Comparisons, 1982 edition.

Lewis, Walter H. and Elvin-Lewis, Memory P.F. Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man's Health, John Wiley and Sons. New York, l977. Facts and Comparisions Division, J.P. Lippincott Co, Phila(St. Louis).

List, P. & L. Hoerhammer. 1969-1976. Hagers Hanbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, vols. 2-5. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Martin, E.W. 1978. Drug Interactions Index, 1978/79. J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Rath, E. Archiv. Experimental Path. Pharmak., 142, 157, 1929.

Sanfillipo, G. Bollitino Soc. Ital. Biol. Sper., 6, 490, 1931.

Schaumberg, P. & F. Paris. Guide To Medicinal Plants. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats Publishing, 1977.

Steyn, D.G. Onderstepoort J. Vet Science, 5, 79, 1935.

Stuart, D.M. 1968. Drug metabolism Part 2. Drug interactions. PharmIndex, 10(10). pp. 4-16.