Written by Leslie Burgess, N.D., Naturopathic Doctor, Calm Spirit Acupuncture and Massage, Arvada, Colorado
Three facts about pumpkin (Curcubita pepo) you may not know about
#1 Cucurbitacins are constituents found in some plants, one of which is Curcubita pepo. These constituents are lettered from A to T and depending on their configuration have been shown to inhibit proliferation of cells and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death). Because of this finding, some researchers are considering their potential use as a treatment to target cancer cells.
Alghasham AA. Cucurbitacins – a promising target for cancer therapy. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2013 Jan;7(1):77-89.
#2 Curcubita pepo seed extract was shown to improve symptoms related BPH, reduce growth of the tissue, and improve quality of life. One potential mechanism of action is by reduction of the enzyme named 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme is responsible for conversion of testosterone to DHT. DHT is primarily responsible for prostate cell growth. By partially inhibiting this pathway, you will expect to see a slower growth of prostate tissue.
In addition, 10g of pumpkin seed oil a day for 12 weeks reduced symptoms related to an overactive bladder not related to an enlarged prostate.
The role of Cucurbita pepo in the management of patients affected by lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia: A narrative review. Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2016 Jul 4;88(2):136-43. doi: 10.4081/aiua.2016.2.136.
Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil. J Med Food. 2006 Summer;9(2):284-6.
Pumpkin Seed Oil Extracted From Cucurbita maxima Improves Urinary Disorder in Human Overactive Bladder J Tradit Complement Med. 2014 Jan-Mar; 4(1): 72–74.
#3 Curcubita pepo seeds may be used an antihelmenthics (agents against parasites) against some parasites.
Evaluation of Anthelmintic Activity and Composition of Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) Seed Extracts-In Vitro and in Vivo Studies. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Sep 1;17(9). pii: E1456. doi: 10.3390/ijms17091456.