Pumpkins as Medicine
Pumpkins other uses
Pumpkins Side effects
The pumpkin is a very large,
orange to greenish colored fibrous familiar fruit. It is a herbaceous running plant
belonging to the melon family. The pumpkin fruit grows annually on vines up to 26 ft in
length. Pumpkin possesses some really top quality essential nutrients that are
required for many processes in the human body and can serve as effective herbal medication.
Many important disease fighting nutrients are also found in large quantities in the flesh and
pulp as well as the seeds of the pumpkin, these includes the essential
mineral potassium, the vitamin pantothenic acid, the essential mineral magnesium, and the important vitamins C
and E aside from many other nutrients. Due to the presence of a synergistic combination of the class
of organic compounds known as carotenoids in the pumpkin, the pumpkin
is considered to be one of the super foods.
The cultivation of pumpkins is carried out worldwide due to its
widespread use in many cuisines, medicine , seeds oil and a perfect food.
Hindi - Petha, Raksa
English - White pumpkin, white guard melon, Ash Gourd
Latin - Ben incasa Hispida
Family : Cucurbitaceae
Sanskrit - Kusmandah
Marathi - Kahala
Gujarati - Bhurun Kohalu
Tamil - Pusanikkai
Telgu - Budidagummadi
The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 B.C., were found in
Mexico. A popular festival, Weigh-off competitions for giant pumpkins
, the world record held at 208.65 kilograms before 1981.Howard Dill broke the record with a pumpkin near 226.80 kilograms in 1981. By 1994, the
Giant pumpkin crossed the 1,000-pound (453.59-kilogram) mark. The current world record holder is Chris Stevens's 1,810-pound Atlantic
Giant pumpkin, which in October 2010 surpassed Christy Harp's 1990 record of 1,725 pounds.
Plant: A pumpkin is a gourd like squash. In general, pumpkin stems are more rigid, prickly, and
angular (with an approximate five-degree angle) than squash stems.
Leaves: The pumpkin has large green leaves
Flowers: Pumpkins having both male and female flowers on the same plant. The female flower is distinguished by the
small ovary at the base of the petals. These bright and colorful flowers have extremely short life spans and may only open for as short a time as
one day. The color of pumpkins is derived from the orange pigments abundant in them. The main nutrients are lutein and both
alpha and beta carotene ,the latter of which generates vitamin A in the body.
Fruit: Pumpkins are a squash like fruit that range in size from less than 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) to over 1,000
pounds (453.59 kilograms). The pumpkin varies greatly in shape, ranging
from oblate to oblong. The rind is smooth and usually lightly ribbed. Although pumpkins
are usually orange or yellow, some fruits are dark green, pale green, orange-yellow, white, red and gray.
Seed: Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are small, flat, green, edible
seeds. Most pumpkin seeds are covered by a white husk, although some pumpkin varieties produce seeds without them. Pumpkin seeds are a
popular snack that can be found hulled or semi-hulled at most grocery stores.
Pumpkin active ingredients include essential fatty acids, amino acids, phytosterols
(including beta-sitosterol), minerals and vitamins. Seed kernels of pumpkinare rich in fat soluble vitamins, oil and protein,
containing considerable amounts of P, K, Mg, Mn, and Ca. Roasted
pumpkin contains a significantly high amount of carotenoids, especially zeaxanthin.
Pumpkin seed kernel flour has high values of chemical score, essential amino acid index, and in vitro protein digestibility.
Pumpkin Seed Oil has high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids with linoleic
and oleic acids as the major acids. Pumpkin posses an unusual amino acid known as cucurbitin, which has been chemically defined as
Soils: Pumpkin prefer a well-drained sandy loam with high organic matter and a
pH of 6.0 to 6.5. The conditions necessary for growing pumpkins require that soil
temperatures three inches (7.62 centimeters) deep are at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius) and soil
that holds water well.
Climate- Pumpkins are warm-season annuals, preferring 75° to 86° F daytime and
64° F nighttime temperatures. The seeds germinate most rapidly when the
soil temperature is 86° F. Winter squash and pumpkins can be direct-seeded as soon as the soil temperature reaches 60° F. They need
90 to 120 frost-free days to reach maturity. Plastic mulches of various
colors can be used to increase the soil temperature and speed early-season plant growth.
Irrigation: Pumpkins need lots of water. Try to keep the soil moist, not wet,
at all times. It is also important to avoid getting the leaves wet.
Fertilization: Pumpkins prefer a very rich soil, with lots of compost and manure. Fertilize on a regular basis.
Use a high nitrogen formula in early plant growth. It requires fertilizer high in Phosphorous just before the blooming period.
Pests and Diseases: A variety of diseases affect pumpkins, most notable is powdery mildew.
Apply fungicides at the first sign of a problem. Better still, apply
them before plant disease problems occur. Hot, humid weather encourages pumpkin diseases.
Harvest: The fruits are ripe when they turns a bright orange
color The fruits must be picked before over maturity.
Pumpkins as Medicine
The carotenoids derived from wholesome plant foods such as the pumpkin,
are excellent defenses against the risk of diseases and help fight off all kinds of disorders in the body. Traditionally the medicine
made from the pumpkin were used in the treatment of disorders as kidney inflammation and to eliminate intestinal parasites.
Safe de-worming agent: Pumpkin seeds in herbal medicine is mainly as a natural
and safe de-worming agent, the seeds are able to rid the body of all intestinal helminthes and parasites when used properly. The treatment of
pregnant women and children affected by infestation of tapeworms is effectively carried out using the pumpkin seed.
Intestinal inflammation : Intestinal inflammation can be treated by consuming an herbal decoction made from
the pumpkin pulp.
BPH: Disorders of the prostate gland, as well as problems such as an irritable bladder
are treated using the pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin seed remedy used in the
treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH.
Parasites: Curcurbitin in pumpkin seeds has shown anti-parasitic activity in vi-vitro.
Chinese scientists used pumpkin seeds to treat acute schistosomiasis and tapeworm infestations .
Depression: L-tryptophan in pumpkin seeds are suggested to help remedy depression.
Kidney Stone: In Thailand, people use pumpkin seeds to prevent kidney stone .Pumpkin seeds appear to slow down the stone formation in the urine.
Anti-Oxidant Activities: Pumpkin seeds have long been used for health benefits and the seed oils of
pumpkin may also contain many active beneficial components. The active
beneficial components may protect important biological molecules from
oxidative stress. Pumpkin seed oil is a rich source of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids .
Pumpkins other uses
Uses for cooking:
Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers.
Uses for sweets: Pumpkin is made into pie, various kinds of which are a traditional staple of
the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holiday. In Mexico and the U.S., the seeds are often roasted and eaten as a snack. In the
Middle East , pumpkin is used for sweet dishes; a well-known sweet delicacy is called
"halawa yaqtin". In South Asian countries such as India , pumpkin is cooked with butter,
sugar, and spices in a dish called "kadu ka halwa". Pumpkin is used to make "sambar " in Udupi cuisine. A
sweet form pumpkin in North India is " "Sweet Petha"
Pumpkin is used for sweet Petha
Uses in Vegetables: The leaves and the fruit of the pumpkin plant are consumed as a cooked vegetable
Pumpkins Seeds : Pumpkin seeds have many health benefits, some of which include a good source of protein , zinc, and other vitamins and are even said to
lower cholesterol. One gram of pumpkin seed protein contains as much tryptophan as a
full glass of milk. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium , manganese , phosphorus and phytosterols .
Pumpkin seed oil : Pumpkin seed oil is a thick,
green-red oil that is produced from roasted pumpkin seeds. When used for cooking or as a salad dressing, pumpkin
seed oil is generally mixed with other oils because of its robust flavor. Long believed to be a folk remedy for prostate problems, it has been claimed to
combat benign prostatic hyperplasia Pumpkin seed oil contains essential fatty acids
that help maintain healthy blood vessels, nerves and tissues.
Uses in decorative lanterns: Pumpkins are commonly carved into decorative lanterns called
jack-o'-lanterns for the Halloween season in North America. Throughout Britain and Ireland, there is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables
Pumpkins Side effects
No side effect is reported.
Pumpkins are grown all around the world for a variety of reasons ranging
from agricultural purposes (such as animal feed) to commercial and ornamental sales. The biggest international producers of pumpkins include the
United States , Mexico , India , and China. As one of the most popular crops in the United States , 1.5 billion pounds (680,000,000 kilograms) of
pumpkins are produced each year in USA.
Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking,
sweets, as a food, medicines, seeds, seeds oil and other uses. Its demand and market are increasing..
Scientists have found that the skin of pumpkin a substance with an antibacterial effect against
microbes that cause millions of cases of yeast infections in adults and infants each year .Some disease-causing microbes are becoming resistant to existing
antibiotics. As a result, scientists worldwide are searching for new antibiotics.
In the new study, Kyung-Soo Hahm, Yoonkyung Park and colleagues extracted proteins from pumpkin rinds to see if the proteins inhibit the
growth of microbes, including Candida albicans (C. albicans).That fungus causes vaginal yeast infections, diaper rash in infants, and
other health problems.
One protein had powerful effects in inhibiting the growth of C.
albicans, in cell culture experiments, with no obvious toxic effects. The study suggests that the pumpkin protein could be developed into a
natural medicine for fighting yeast infections in humans. The protein also blocked the growth of several fungi that attack
important plant crops and could be useful as an agricultural fungicide,
the researchers found. The study has been published in the current issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry , a bi-weekly publication.
1 "Pumpkin." The Columbia Encyclopedia. 2004.
2 Pumpkin. (2007). Encyclopædia Britannica -. Retrieved November 28, 2007
3.Wolford, Ron, and Drusilla Banks. "Pumpkins and More". 2008. University of Illinois