Over a century ago, American farmers noted that when their livestock munched on pumpkin seeds, they seemed to urinate more often. They weren’t the first to notice the seeds’ effects. The Iroquois had long used pumpkin seed as a diuretic, and the Cherokee gave it to children to control bed-wetting, since it seemed to help empty the bladder before falling asleep.
More recently, Europeans began using the bright green oil from crushed pumpkin seeds for prostate health, and in Germany today, the oil is an approved over-the-counter treatment for enlarged prostate glands. In the U.S. too, the oil is one of the top ingredients in herbal blends for prostate health, says Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council, a nonprofit group based in Austin, Texas, and backed by herbal supplement makers.
Subtly sweet and nutty with a malleable, chewy texture, the roasted seeds from inside your Halloween pumpkin are one of the most nutritious and flavorful seeds around. While pumpkin seeds are available year round, they are the freshest in the fall when pumpkins are in season.
Pumpkin seeds contain fatty acids with linoleic acid being the main component, but also contains various plant sterols and sterol glycosides, a cyclic non-protein amino acid, cucurbitine, as well as tocopherols.
Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They are also a good source of other minerals including zinc, iron and copper. In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and vitamin K.
What are Pumpkin Seeds used for the most?
- It is used as an anthelmintic (to expels intestinal worms), taeniacide (killing tapeworms), as a diuretic, to treat bed-wetting in children and facilitate the passage of urine, while soothing an irritated bladder.
Against cadmium toxicity
- To treat pulmonary ailments
- Depression Treatment: They contain L-tryptophan, a compound naturally effective against depression.
- Natural Anti-Inflammatory for Arthritis sufferers. Pumpkin seeds effectively reduce inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Lower Cholesterol: Pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
- Acrodermatitis enteropathica: Acrodermatitis enteropathica is a rare inherited disorder that results in the inability to absorb adequate amounts of zinc from the diet. Anyone who is severely zinc deficient can develop the symptoms of the inherited form of this disorder. Pumpkin seeds, pecans, and Brazil nuts are all high in zinc. However, people with acrodermatitis enteropathica also need to take zinc supplements.
- Kidney Stones: Two studies have found that eating pumpkin seeds as a snack can help prevent the most common type of kidney stone, called a calcium oxalate stone. Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) seeds appear to reduce levels of substances that promote stone formation in the urine and increase levels of substances that inhibit stone formation. The active constituents of pumpkin seeds responsible for this action have not been identified.
Strong Bones: Pumpkin seeds are high in calcium and magnesium, and zinc, essential for strong bones and prevent bills, especially in old age, moreover, eating pumpkin seeds operate a natural protection against osteoporosis.
Against Bad Cholesterol (LDL): These tiny seeds contain phytosterols, natural compounds that help the body fight high cholesterol and preventing heart disease and stroke.
Help Remove Depression and Anxiety: Pumpkin seeds contain a significant amount of tryptophan, essential amino acid that can help remove signs of depression, insomnia and migraines. Also, the high content of vitamin B6 helps us more easily overcome emotions and anxiety and … smile more often!
Kidney Health: Frequent consumption of pumpkin seeds reduces the risk of developing kidney stones (15 – 20g of raw seeds per day, representing a highly effective protection measure) and, due to the vitamin E , promote bladder health and reduces risk of prostate cancer, due to essential fatty acids contained.
Improving Memory and Beauty of Hair, Nail and Skin: pumpkin seeds in the composition have a significant amount of Omega 3, Omega 6 and vitamins, including vitamin A, which contribute to improving memory, a high capacity memory, strengthen nails, hair and skin looking healthy.
The healing properties of pumpkin seeds have also been recently investigated with respect to arthritis. In animal studies, the addition of pumpkin seeds to the diet has compared favorably with use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in reducing inflammatory symptoms. Importantly, though, pumpkin seeds did not have one extremely unwanted effect of indomethacin: unlike the drug, pumpkin seeds do not increase the level of damaged fats (lipid peroxides) in the linings of the joints, a side-effect that actually contributes to the progression of arthritis.
How to Use Pumpkin Seeds
To expel intestinal worms a preparation is made as follows: grind 200-400 g of dried unpeeled seeds into a pulp, mix with milk and honey until a porridge-like consistency and take on an empty stomach in the morning, followed by castor oil 2-3 hours later. Repeat the next morning.
Pumpkin seed oil can be taken internally (10 drops three times a day) for urinary tract infections, as well as boosting the health of the lungs and mucus membranes. Take for four weeks.
Fall is quickly approaching and one of the best things about fall is pumpkin picking with the family. But what to do with the seeds? Well as you found out above the seeds are a valued nutritious food that has many uses! Why not cook them a fun and easy way for the whole family!
- One medium sized pumpkin
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut open the pumpkin and use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the insides. Separate the seeds from the stringy core. Rinse the seeds.
- In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds. Add a half tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
- Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 10-20 minutes. When browned to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack. Let the seeds cool all the way down before eating. Either crack to remove the inner seed (a lot of work and in my opinion, unnecessary) or eat whole.