LATIN NAME: Cucurbita Pepo

FAMILY: Cucurbitaceae

GENUS: Cucurbita

COMMON NAMES: Pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo, Field Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Vegetable Marrow 

DISTRIBUTIVE AREA: originates from Central America and is cultivated in many parts of the world

BOTANICAL INFORMATION: Annual herbaceous plant with erect and branched root. Stem is up to 5-8 m long. Leaves are alternate, long-petiolate, heart-shaped, five-lobed or five-segmented, laminas are up to 25 cm long, covered with short hairs. The flowers are large, single, same-sex, yellow or orange. The fruit is a large, smooth, spherical or oval in shape, fleshy pepo, with numerous seeds, covered with a hard crust. The seeds are broadly elliptical or ovate, from 15 to 23 mm long and from 2 to 3 mm thick, externally of yellowish-white color.

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION: Useful properties of pumpkin are determined by the presence of vitamins and other nutrients in its composition, necessary for the normal life of the organism.

Pumpkin contains:

  • vitamins (A, E, C, group B, folic acid)
  • trace elements (copper, zinc, iron, cobalt, iodine, manganese, fluorine)
  • macroelements (calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium)
  • organic acids
  • simple sugars (fructose and glucose)
  • dietary fiber
  • pectins

The content of provitamin A in a pumpkin is five times more than in carrots and three times more than in a beef liver. Therefore, ophthalmologists often recommend people with visual impairment preparing dishes from pumpkin and drink pumpkin juice.

INDICATIONS FOR USE: Many doctors recommend including pumpkin in the daily diet to people who have the following diseases:

  • chronic and acute diseases of the kidney and urogenital system;
  • hepatitis
  • cirrhosis;
  • hypertension
  • atherosclerosis;
  • disturbance of the cardiovascular system

USEFUL PROPERTIES OF PUMPKIN SEEDS: There are useful properties not only in the flesh, but also in the seeds of the pumpkin. To get pumpkin seeds, you need to cut the pumpkin, take away the seeds and dry them. The most useful are raw pumpkin seeds, because they are very rich in vegetable oils, vitamins and microelements. Pumpkin seeds, unlike pumpkin, do not belong to low-calorie food, they contain 520 kcal per 100 grams.

  • Raw pumpkin seeds are very useful for people with hypertension, as they bring blood pressure back to normal;
  • Pumpkin seeds are a folk remedy from helminthes;
  • Pumpkin seeds are useful in the treatment of liver diseases;
  • Thanks to the large content of zinc pumpkin seeds are useful for acne on the face and body, fatty hair and dandruff;
  • Dried pumpkin seeds favorably influence the work of the reproductive system in both men and women; pumpkin seeds contain a lot of vitamin E that slows down aging and stimulates the functions of the human's sexual glands;

POSSIBLE HARM OF PUMPKIN: Taking pumpkin in its raw form (as, indeed, any other fruits and vegetables) should be carefully with pancreatic diseases and problems with the gastrointestinal tract. The main contraindication and potentially possible harm of pumpkin, as well as its usefulness, is that it possesses properties alkaline in the body. Therefore, the pumpkin is not recommended for stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers, gastritis caused just by the low acidity of gastric juice. In addition, a crude pumpkin is not recommended for severe forms of diabetes mellitus.

Pumpkin juice is forbidden to give to babies, since it can cause them to have methemoglobinemia.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: A raw vegetable can lead to a feeling of discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract. However, the symptoms are usually not long and strong. They pass as the body adapts to the intake of additional fiber.

As for the pumpkin juice, it must be used with greater caution. It is necessary to comply with the dosage: 4 ml of juice per day per kilogram of body weight.

In addition, pregnant women, nursing mothers and elderly people should use juice with caution. In these cases, pumpkin juice often leads to the food allergies, nausea, diarrhea, skin itching.

EXTRACT OF PUMPKIN: A new research by Chinese scientists has shown that pumpkin extract helps to restore pancreatic cells in diabetic rats. Specialists of the University of Colorado have proved that pumpkin extract significantly reduces the ability of reproduction of cancer cells. As a result, the tumor begins to grow one and a half times slower.

“Advice from a pumpkin: be well-rounded, get plenty of sunshine, give thanks for life's bounty, have a thick skin, keep growing, be outstanding in your field, think big”

Ilan Shamir

*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting with a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.