Cucurbita sp. / Pompoen

CUCURBITA PEPO L. monografie uit cursusboek Herboristen opleiding 'Dodonaeus'
Pompoen 

Algemene en Botanische Informatie 

Familie: Cucurbitaceae - Kalebasachtigen. 
Naam: Courge, Citrouille (Fr.), Kürbis (D.), Pumpkin (E.). 
Soorten: 5 hoofdsoorten met vele ondersoorten 
1. C. pepo L. - Courgette, 
2. C. moschata POIRET, 
3. C. maxima DUCHARTRE - Winterpompoen, 
4. C. ficifolia BOUCHÉ, 
5. C. mixta PANG. 

Ondersoorten volgens Grebenscikov 
a. Rankende ondersoorten (= longicaules). 
- C. microcarpina (kleinvruchtig), 
- C. citrullinina (middelgrote vruchten). 
b. Niet rankende ondersoorten (= brevicaules). 
- C. giromontiina (grove beharing, groot blad), 
- C. patissonina (zachte beharing). 

Andere verwante geslachten 
Komkommer - Cucumis sativus, 
Augurk - Cucumis sativus L. 
Heggerank - Bryonia dioica L. 

Teelt: Eenjarige plant, zaaien in mei buiten, in april binnen, vorstgevoelig 

Materia Medica, gebruikte delen van Cucurbita sp. 

Cucurbitae semen, de rijpe zaden van vooral Cucurbita pepo L. convar. citrul linina I. GREB. var. styriaca I. GREB., een soort met zachtschillig zaad. Ook de andere vermelde soorten kunnen gebruikt worden. 
Oogst: oktober 
Beschrijving: Groenige, platte eivormige zaden, dubbel zo lang als breed, zowat 7-15 mm lang (C. maxima tot 24 mm lang). 
Smaak: olie-achtig en zoet. 
Vervalsing: Vergissing met andere Cucurbitaceae. 

Samenstelling, inhoudsstoffen van Cucurbita sp.

** Steroïden 1 % o.a.: 24-ß-ethyl-5-a-cholesta-7,25(27)-dien-3-ß-ol (1) 
* Sterolglucosiden: fytosterine (2) 
** Cucurbitacinen - cucurbitine. 
- Cucurbitine: amino-3-carboxy-3-pyrollidine = aminozuur verwant aan kaïninezuur (uit Diginea, een roodwier) met anthelmintische werking. 
- De concentratie kan sterk verschillen(van 0 tot 2 %); volgens Schilcher - Wichtl niet aanwezig; volgens Meere en Van Hellemont wel. 
**Lignanen zouden ook van belang zijn voor de werking (incontinentie, prostaat)
* Vette olie 30 tot 50 % met veel linolzuur tot 50 % 
* Proteïnen 30 % 
** Tocoferolen: vitamine E 
** Sporenelementen: selenium 0,08-0,04 g, mangaan, zink, koper. 
* Pectine 30 %. 

Farmacologie, algemene fysiologische werking 

** Prostatotroop. 
- Invloed op spier- en bindweefsel van de prostaat. 
- Anti-oedeemwerking op prostaatweefsel o.i.v. fytosterine, tocoferolen en selenium 
- beïnvloedt de omzetting van testosteron (enzymen: 5-alpha-reductase en aromatase) 
** Anthelminticum: cucurbitine verlamt lintworm 

Pumpkin seed extract may have antiandrogenic and anti-inflammatory activity. 
A protective effect on testosterone-induced prostatic hyperplasia was seen in rats fed pumpkin seed oil.
Trials are limited and the results conflict. A large clinical trial (N = 476) found an improvement in symptoms associated with BPH as determined by the International Prostate Symptom Score, but no change in objective measures, such as p-vol or post-void residual urine. 24 Another clinical trial found that a preparation of C. pepo (curbicin) improved certain parameters of BPH, including urinary flow, micturition time, residual urine, and urinary frequency versus placebo.
Dreikorn K. The role of phytotherapy in treating lower urinary tract symptoms and benign prostatic hyperplasia. World J Urol . 2002;19(6):426-435.
Gossell-Williams M, Davis A, O'Connor N. Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil. J Med Food . 2006;9(2):284-286.
Carbin B, Larsson B, Lindahl O. Treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia with phytosterols. Br J Urol . 1990;66(6):639-641.

Indicaties, medisch gebruik van pompoenzaden

Prostaat, Hormonaal evenwicht (3, 4, 5, 8) 
** Prostaathyperplasie stadium I en II, 
** Spierzwakte en ontsteking van de prostaat + Echinacea e.a. 
* Bedwateren bij kinderen zie ook o.a. Capsela bursa pastoris en Hypericum perforatum
* Stressincontinentie bij vrouwen na menopauze
* Haaruitval (pompoenpitolie inwendig) 

Anthelminticum 
** Taenia sp. (lintwormen) vooral bij kinderen. ook Papaya e.a. 
* Helminthes sp. (spoelwormen). 

Gebruik pompoenvlees, soep ed
** diabetes
** sport, verbetert prestaties (ergogeen)

Andere toepassingen 
* Pompoen als groente in soepen 
* Zaden als versnapering. 
* Olie van de zaden (Pompoenolie) 
* Sommige soorten als spons 

Receptuur en Bereidingswijzen 

Semen: 1-2 eetl. (15-30 g) 2 x daags bij prostaathyperplasie, adenoom 50-100 g nuchter 's morgens. 
Dos. en gebr.: Kinderen boven 5 jaar 40 g, beneden 5 jaar 15 g. 
5 u na  inname: 2-3 eetl. ricinus olie voor volw., 1-2 theel. voor kinderen. Ind.: Lint- of spoelwormen 

Species: R./ 
Cucurbitae sem. pulv. 30 
Tanaceti fl. pulv. 30             Dos.: 1 eetl. 2 x d. + honing of water. 
Frangulae cort. pulv. 40      Ind.: Lintwormen (Taenia sp.) of spoel wor men (Ascaris) 

Geschiedenis en Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek 

Noord-Amerika al lang bekend als anthelminticum en diureticum 
Dodonaeus, Matthiolus: «De bladeren van Kauwoerden1 van buiten op de borsten der vrouwen gelegt, verdrogen het zog». 
Nylandt P.: «De zaden worden mede onder de 4 grote koude zaden gerekend». 

Referenties
  • Sucrow W. e.a.: Phytochemistry 15/1533 - 1976. 
  • Rauwald H.W. e.a.: Phytochemistry 24/2746 - 1985.
  • Lutzelberger H. e.a.: Arztl. Praxix 76/3278 - 1974. 
  • Haefele H.: Arztl. Praxix 79/3321 - 1977. 
  • Nitsch R., Fitz, e.a.: Erfahrungsheilkunde 28/1009 - 1979. 
  • Shanghai Institue of Materia Medica. Isoleerde cucurbitine, de stof met anti-wormwerking. Bij dierproeven werd de groei van Schistosoma japonicum met 43 tot 68 % geremd. 
  • Zeitschrift fur Phytotherapie 1 - 1986 overzicht Schmidlin B. - Cucurbita pepo. Moglicher Einfluss auf hormonelle Ungleichgewichte bei Inkontinenz. Phytotherapie 3, 2003. Doc. M. Godefridi. 
  • Bombardelli, E. and P. Morazzoni. 1997. Curcubita pepo L. Fitoterapia 68(4). 
  • Murkovic, M., A. Hillebrand, J. Winkler, W. Pfannhauser. 1996a. Variability of vitamin E content in pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita pepo L.). Z Lebensm Unters Forsch 202(4):275–278. 
  • Suphakarn, V.S., C. Yarnnon, P. Ngunboonsri. 1987. The effect of pumpkin seeds on oxalcrystalluria and urinary compositions of children in hyperendemic area. Am J Clin Nutr 45(1):115–121. 
  • Cucurbita Seed AB txt. - doc. M. Godefridi
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23047485 Molecules. 2012 Oct 9;17(10):11864-76. doi: 10.3390/molecules171011864. Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) fruit extract improves physical fatigue and exercise performance in mice.

Weblinks



Pompoen vergroot uithoudingsvermogen en spierkracht

Over vijftien jaar laden duursporters voor een wedstrijd niet meer op met pasta, brood en rijst, maar met pompoensoep. Of ze gebruiken supplementen met een extract uit de pompoen. Die voorspellingen baseren we op een dierstudie van onderzoekers van Providence University in Taiwan, die verscheen in Molecules. Volgens dat onderzoek heeft in ieder geval de muskaatpompoen - wetenschappelijke naam: Cucurbita moschata - ergogene kwaliteiten waarvan elke rechtgeaarde bedenker van duursportsupplementen een beetje gaat kwijlen.

Gezondheidseffecten van pompoen
Hoewel mensen al duizenden jaren pompoenen eten, is er niet zoveel bekend over hun gezondheidsbevorderende werking. Maar die is er wel, weten we dankzij Japans onderzoek. [Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 May;73(5):1033-41.] In pompoen zit, behalve alpha- en gamma-tocopherol, betacaroteen, cryptoxanthine, luteine en zeaxanthine ook relatief veel nicotinezuur en trigonelline. Die stoffen verbeteren de opname van glucose door spiercellen. Pompoen doet kennelijk iets met insuline.
 Koreaanse onderzoekers ontdekten daarnaast dat een andere stof in pompoen, de secundaire metaboliet dehydrodiconiferyl-alcohol, de opname van glucose door vetcellen saboteert. [J Biol Chem. 2012 Mar 16;287(12):8839-51.] In reageerbuizen remt de dehydrodiconiferyl-alcohol de aanmaak van PPAR-gamma in vetcellen.
De Taiwanezen vermoedden op basis van de beschikbare gegevens dat pompoen sportprestaties zouden kunnen verbeteren. Ze maakten een alcoholextract van het gedroogde en zaadloze vruchtvlees van muskaatpompoen en gaven dat aan muizen. De dieren kregen 14 dagen elke dag 0, 50, 100 of 250 mg extract per kg lichaamsgewicht.

Resultaten
Na die periode testten de onderzoekers de spierkracht in de voorpoten van de muizen met een grip strength test. Daarbij bepaalden de onderzoekers met hoeveel kracht de dieren zich konden vastklampen aan een metalen pijpje. De suppletie met pompoen maakte de dieren sterker.
De onderzoekers bepaalden ook het uithoudingsvermogen van de dieren. Ze bonden een gewichtje aan de staart van de dieren, gooiden ze in een aquarium en keken vervolgens hoe lang de muizen konden blijven zwemmen. De Taiwanezen zagen dat pompoen het uithoudingsvermogen van de dieren verbeterde.
Hoe het extract van pompoen precies werkt blijkt uit de concentratie ammonia [NH3] en glucose in het bloed van de dieren. In rust had pompoen geen effect, maar pal na de zwemsessie vonden de Taiwanezen minder ammonia en meer glucose in het bloed van de dieren die pompoenextract hadden gekregen.
In de spieren en de lever hadden de muizen die pompoenextract hadden gekregen in rust meer glycogeen.

Conclusie
"These results indicate that Cucurbita moschata extract has anti-fatigue activity and can elevate exercise performance", schrijven de onderzoekers. "Although the exact bioactive phytocompounds and detailed anti-fatigue mechanisms of Cucurbita moschata remain to be elucidated, this study provides science-based evidence to support that Cucurbita moschata could be a promising anti-fatigue agent and an ergogenic aid."

Bron:Molecules. 2012 Oct 9;17(10):11864-76.



Use and indication in traditional medicine
The first evidence on the cultivation of pumpkin comes from Mexico and North America and dates back to at least 14,000 B.C.E. 
Pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita pepo L.) have been used for a variety of conditions ranging from anthelmintic to the treatment of various urinary tract conditions in the traditional medicine of North and Central America.

Scientific evidence
Scientific studies have demonstrated evidence of the current health properties of pumpkin seeds and preparations thereof. The plant is described in several official standard works like the German Commission E and the ESCOP Monographs and it has obtained a traditional herbal medicinal product monograph (THMP) by the European Medicines Agency. 
According to these phytopharmaceutical references, pumpkin seed preparations can be used for treatment of irritable bladder and micturition disorders in benign prostate hyperplasia stages I and II.
Our proprietary scientific resultsEFLA®940 demonstrated a 40% reduction in nocturnal micturition among elderly men with pollakiuria.
EFLA®940 in combination with soy bean germextract demonstrated significant effectiveness in key symptoms of female overactive bladder syndrome and achieved a high level of patient satisfaction overall.
EFLA®940 effectively reduced in-bladder pressure and urinary frequency in-vivo study. 
EFLA®940 positively influenced α-reductase levels in in-vivo study, which has a positive influence on patients with benign prostate hyperplasia.

Product information
Standardized on Adenosine ≥ 0.1 % Phenolic derivatives (as Enterodiol)  ≥ 2.0-4.0 % Type of extract Powder
Dosage 500 mg extract/day



Pumpkin Seed Oil Consumption May Improve Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia 
by Laura M. Bystrom, PhD
HerbalGram. 2015; American Botanical Council

Reviewed: Cho YH, Lee SY, Jeong DW, et al. Effect of pumpkin seed oil on hair growth in men with androgenetic alopecia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial [published online April 23, 2014]. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. doi: 10.1155/2014/549721.

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a form of hair loss common in older men that is linked to both genetic factors and effects of androgenic hormones. Standard drug therapies used to treat AGA often produce adverse side effects. This has led researchers to explore alternative treatments, such as natural products that block the action of androgenic hormones or the enzyme 5α-reductase, which is involved in the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. Studies have suggested that pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo, Curcurbitaceae) seed oil (PSO) may exhibit some of these effects, but it had not been investigated as a treatment for AGA. The aim of this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of PSO for male patients with mild-to-moderate AGA.

This 24-week study was conducted in Busan, South Korea. Patients had moderate hair loss that was classified as Norwood-Hamilton type II, III, III vertex, IV, or V. A total of 76 adult males (aged 20 to 65 years) participated in the study. Criteria for inclusion were mild-to-moderate AGA, no use of any hair-loss treatment for three months prior to the study, liver enzymes aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels less than 60 mg/dl, and creatinine levels below 1.5 mg/dl.

Patients were divided randomly into either the intervention group (n=37) — which consumed two capsules of 100 mg PSO (Octa Sabal Plus®; Saerona Co., Ltd.; Daegu, South Korea) twice per day, 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner — or the control group (n=39), which received the same number of identical placebo capsules. No information about the supplement or placebo was provided.* Safety and compliance were evaluated by reports of adverse side effects and pill counts, respectively, at each clinic visit after one, four, and 12 weeks of treatment. At baseline and at 24 weeks, blood samples were obtained after 12 hours of fasting. Fasting blood glucose, serum AST, serum ALT, γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT), creatinine, and testosterone levels were determined from the blood samples.

Patients rated their observations using a visual analog scale (VAS; from worst to best: 0-10) for hair growth improvement and satisfaction with the treatment. Pictures of the patients’ scalps (vertex and superior frontal scalp) were taken at baseline and 24 weeks. Blinded investigators assessed these photos and rated changes in scalp appearance from baseline to 12 and 24 weeks using a seven-point rating scale (from worst to best: -3 to +3). Hair counts and hair diameters were measured at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks by phototrichography (a technique in which a close-up image of a well-defined scalp area is taken and analyzed using special software). The hair changes were evaluated by a technician who established the most severe site of baldness as the region for all subsequent measurements.

There were no significant differences between the intervention and placebo groups’ demographic data, body measurements, or clinical characteristics at baseline. At 12 weeks, there were no significant differences between the two groups for self-rated improvement (P=0.514) or self-rated satisfaction (P=0.214). However, self-rated improvement was significantly higher (P=0.013) in the intervention group (3.4 ± 2.9) compared to the placebo group (2.1 ± 2.0) after 24 weeks. Self-rated satisfaction also was significantly higher (P=0.003) in the PSO group (3.5 ± 2.9) in comparison to the placebo treatment (2.3 ± 2.0) at 24 weeks.

Blinded investigators determined that treatment with PSO significantly increased hair growth compared to the placebo group at both 12 and 24 weeks (P<0.001). Based on measurements with phototrichography, it also was found that at 12 and 24 weeks the hair count percentages (change from baseline) were significantly higher (P<0.001) in the intervention group (30% and 40% after 12 and 24 weeks, respectively) compared to the placebo group (5% and 10%). Conversely, there were no significant differences found for change in hair thickness at 12 and 24 weeks (P=0.991). Most of the patients did not report any adverse side effects, although one patient from each group complained of a whole-body itching sensation. One patient in the intervention group also reported mild abdominal discomfort. No major toxicity issues were observed in this study; liver enzymes, creatinine, testosterone, blood pressure, and glucose were not significantly altered.

The authors conclude that PSO may be a promising treatment for AGA but also mention that the mechanisms of action of PSO were not investigated. Although this was the first time a clinical study evaluated the efficacy and safety of PSO for the treatment of AGA, a previous 12-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study demonstrated that a similar dose of PSO was a safe and effective treatment for patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).1 The present study not only confirms the safety of PSO, but also suggests that the mechanistic effects of PSO may involve inhibition of 5α-reductase, which could explain the effects associated with the treatment of BPH and AGA. Future studies should evaluate the potential mechanistic effects of PSO and confirm the efficacy of this treatment for AGA.

*Editor’s note: Unfortunately, as is too often the case with pharmacological and clinical trial publications on botanical extracts and related phytomedicinal preparations, the researchers did not provide a description of the tested material, which makes it difficult to assess the results. The CONSORT document on reporting of botanical clinical trials calls for adequate descriptions of such chemically complex preparations.2

References
1.         Hong H, Kim CS, Maeng S. Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nutr Res Pract. 2009;3(4):323-327.
2.         Barnes J, Bombardier C, Boon H, Gagnier JJ, Moher D, Rochon P. Improving the quality of reporting randomized controlled trials evaluating herbal interventions: implementing the CONSORT Statement. HerbalGram. 2006;71:50-56.



Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbitaceae)

History and Traditional Use
Cucurbita pepo is a species in the gourd family which includes many varieties of winter squash and summer squash. Any round and orange fruit yielded by any variety or cultivar (there are many cultivars) of the species is usually called a pumpkin, even though the word has no real botanical meaning.1,2 The species is characterized by sprawling, coarse vines and climbing tendrils that are flexible, hollow, and prickly to the touch with large, oval-shaped leaves.3 Cucurbita pepo flowers are bright yellow or orange with rounded lobes that angle outwards.
The species can produce a wide variety of fruits of different shapes, sizes, and colors, but pumpkins are spherical in shape, covered by a firm, ribbed, thick layer of orange or yellow skin. Inside the skin, the fleshy part of the pumpkin is mildly sweet and grainy. Each fruit contains a large quantity of seeds, which are flat and ovate-elliptical shaped, dark green in color and enclosed in a creamy white husk. The seed has a fibrous texture with a subtle sweetness and nuttiness. Pumpkins range in size from less than a pound to over 1,000 pounds, but average 7-10 pounds.4 Cucurbita pepo is native to Central America, and evidence of cultivation and use dates back to 5500 BCE.5 The United States is the top producer of pumpkins, followed by Mexico, India, and China, respectively.6

Phytochemicals and Constituents
Several bioactive constituents in pumpkin exhibit medicinal properties, such as anti-diabetic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, hypotensive, and antioxidant actions.3,7 The pumpkin fruit is low in fat and has protein-rich seeds, which make it a nutrient-dense food. Specific peptides and proteins found in pumpkin seeds have demonstrated broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity.7 For example, two of these proteins, alpha-moschin and beta-moschin, have exhibited inhibitory activity against fungal infections caused by Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium oxysporum, and Mycosphaerella arachidicola. Additionally, pumpkin proteins display a synergistic effect with antibiotics for the inhibition of the fungus Candida albicans, which can cause mucous membrane infections, such as thrush, in humans.

Some of the bioactive compounds in pumpkin fruit flesh that offer beneficial health effects are polysaccharides, para-aminobenzoic acid, oils, phytosterols (beta-sitosterol, sitostanol and avenasterol), proteins, peptides, and lignans.3 Anti-diabetic effects are due to protein-bound polysaccharides (PBPP), which have been shown to increase levels of insulin, decrease blood glucose levels, and enhance glucose tolerance.7 Researchers theorize that this happens due to antioxidant activities which are thought to prevent destruction of pancreatic beta-cells, which produce insulin.6 Therefore, PBPP present in pumpkin may play a role in preventing the development and progression of diabetes.7,8
Additionally, the polyamine content of pumpkins may also play a role in optimizing the function of the pancreas.7 Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytoestrogen content (265 mg per 100g), specifically secoisolariciresinol.9 Secoisolariciresinol has been shown to exhibit cholesterol-lowering activity, and produce cardioprotective effects through the formation of new blood vessels and decreased apoptosis (programmed cell death). These effects are thought to be the result of antioxidant properties, which inhibit cell membrane damage and scavenge “free radicals.” Pumpkin seeds also contain beneficial compounds such as linoleic acid, essential amino acids, and vital micronutrients. Linoleic and linolenic acids exhibit oxidative mechanisms to reduce the production of inflammatory products, while oleic fatty acid is known to enhance signaling pathways of vasodilation (expanding blood vessels), promote a reduction in blood pressure levels, and reduce effects of vasoconstriction (narrower diameter of blood vessels). Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of trace minerals including magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium.3

The bright orange color of pumpkin indicates elevated levels of beta-carotene, a vital antioxidant and precursor to vitamin A, which maintains vision and the health and function of bones, skin, and mucous membranes.4,10 Additionally, the fruit contains gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA; a neurotransmitter that has inhibitory effects on the nervous system) and modest levels of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.3

Historical and Commercial Uses
The name “pumpkin” originates from the Greek word pepon, which means “large melon.”4 The French modified this name to pompon and the British changed it to pumpion, which was later changed by the American colonists to pumpkin.6
Pumpkin has a traditional history as a food and medicine. Some Native American tribes dried the skins of pumpkins into strips and wove them together into mats.4 The modern pumpkin pie has its origins in colonial New England, where colonists cut off the top of the pumpkin, removed the seeds, filled the fruit with milk, spices, and honey, and baked the fruit over hot ashes.4,5 Pumpkins are highly valued in Chiapas, Mexico, where they are combined with honey for the preparation of the dessert palanquetas.3
Though native to Central America, the pumpkin was one of the first foods from the “New World” to be brought back to Europe, and cultivation spread quickly thereafter.5 Pumpkins have been used as a medicine in several countries. For example, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Argentina, India, Brazil, and Mexico have traditionally used pumpkins as a treatment for diabetes.11 In addition,7 pumpkin seed oil from a particular variety known as the Styrian pumpkin (C. pepo subsp. pepo var. styriaca) produced in southern Austria and Slovenia is a European Union Protected Designation of Origin product. Nicknamed “green gold,” the dark green oil has culinary and medicinal applications and is an integral part of the local culture throughout Eastern Europe.12 The seeds of pumpkins have also been used as a vermifuge for intestinal parasites and worms. 
In addition to the many health benefits offered by pumpkin, it also is used as an ornamental decoration during the US holidays Halloween and Thanksgiving and has recently become a crop of interest in agritourism (defined broadly, agritourism is the act of visiting any agricultural operation or business in order to be educated or entertained).13 Currently, pumpkin farms in California are considered to be one of the most popular and lucrative agritourism attractions, commonly offered in conjunction with pony rides and corn mazes.

Modern Research
Current research on the medicinal possibilities of C. pepo focuses heavily on pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil (PSO). Studies show that pumpkin seeds have therapeutic potential for a variety of conditions, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), urinary tract infections associated with BPH, hypertension, diabetes, and microbial infections.
Researchers theorize that the phytosterol content of pumpkin seeds can prevent testosterone-induced BPH by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.14 Male rats with testosterone-induced BPH given a daily dose of pumpkin seed oil were found to have reduced levels of hyperplasia. This further indicates that PSO may be directly involved in prostate health.

Pumpkin seeds have been shown to be an effective alternative treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) secondary to BPH.13 BPH is characterized by an enlargement of the prostate gland, which commonly results in the constriction of the lower urinary tract in men.15,16 Fifty percent of men over the age of 60 report having BPH, with 15%-30% of these men also having LUTS.16 A 12-month study of men diagnosed with BPH/LUTS was conducted to analyze the health effects of pumpkin seeds.16 Doses of purified pumpkin seed, pumpkin seed extract, or placebo were administered twice daily. Both treatment modalities exhibited statistically significant improvements as measured by the International Prostate Symptom Score screening tool (I-PSS) and quality of life (QoL) scores. Additionally, the pumpkin seed group revealed greater improvements in IPSS-related QoL scores than the placebo group. QoL scores were enhanced 36% for pumpkin seed, 33.4% for pumpkin seed extract, and 29.2% for the placebo treatment group.
Another 12-month study revealed similar results, with I-PSS scores significantly enhanced after administration of 320 mg of PSO twice daily.17 This study also showed a decrease in prostate volume and a significant increase in maximal urinary flow rate. The intervention resulted in an average increase from 14 mL/second at baseline to 17 mL/second after taking PSO for an improvement of 14.9% in urinary flow rate.
Pumpkin seed oil enhances cardiovascular health through its antihypertensive and atheroprotective characteristics.6 Hypertensive rats fed either 40 mg/kg/day or 50 mg/kg/day of PSO for six weeks exhibited cardioprotective effects.18 The study showed that use of PSO resulted in a significant reduction of high systolic blood pressure and proved to be as effective as a common antihypertensive medication (amlodipine) in reducing high blood pressure by producing close to normal levels of nitric oxide.6,18 This mechanism may be a result of the linoleic, linolenic fatty acid and/or oleic fatty acid content of pumpkin seeds.18 PSO also exhibited antioxidant effects by increasing low levels of nitric oxide metabolites back to normal and significantly reduced indicators of oxidative stress known as malondialdehydes (MDAs).
A study of post-menopausal women found that consumption of pumpkin seeds increased levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol by 16% and decreased diastolic blood pressure by 7%.6,9 These effects may be attributed to the high content of the phytoestrogen secoisolariciresinol, which has been shown to exhibit cardioprotective properties through its antioxidant content.9 Subjects also experienced a decrease in severity of hot flashes, decreased occurrence of headaches, and reduced joint pain. These findings provide supporting evidence of PSO supplementation for improved cardiovascular health.

Pumpkin seeds traditionally have been used for their anti-diabetic properties and are a promising area of research in diabetes treatment. Due to the hypoglycemic activities observed in animal and human studies, PSO may eventually be considered as an alternative modality of treatment. Hypoglycemic effects are due to bioactive constituents such as polysaccharides, para-aminobenzoic acid, oils, sterols, proteins, peptides, and macromolecules such as trigonelline, nicotinic acid, and D-chiro-inositol. D-chiro-inositol is classified as an insulin sensitizer and plays a vital role in the anti-diabetic properties of pumpkin.3 A study done on diabetic rats with orally administered polysaccharides isolated from pumpkin fruits revealed improvements in insulin regulation and glucose levels.7 These animal studies offer intriguing evidence of pumpkin’s anti-diabetic properties, though additional research and human clinical trials are needed to support the implementation of pumpkin as a medicinal alternative for glycemic control.11
Pumpkin seed oil has exhibited broad spectrum antimicrobial effects in cell culture studies with the following organisms: Acinetobacter baumannii, Aeromonas veronii biogroup sobria, Candida albicans, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serotype typhimurium, Serratia marcescens, and Staphylococcus aureus.3,7 These findings hold a twofold benefit for developed and developing countries: as antibiotic-resistant bacteria grow more prevalent, scientists are working to identify plant-based compounds with antimicrobial actions; additionally, pumpkin consumption in countries with insufficient health care infrastructures may serve as a protection against harmful organisms that result in infectious diseases.3 Pumpkin and PSO should be further researched to validate these possible uses.

Nutrient Profile19
Macronutrient Profile: (Per 1 cup raw 1” cubes [approx. 116 g])

30 calories
1.16 g protein
7.54 g carbohydrates
0.10 g fat
Secondary Metabolites: (Per 1 cup raw 1” cubes [approx. 116 g])
Excellent source of:
Vitamin A: 9,875 IU (197.5% DV)

Very good source of:
Vitamin C: 10.4 mg (17.3% DV)
Potassium: 394 mg (11.26% DV)

Good source of:
Iron: 0.93 mg (5.2% DV)
Phosphorus: 51 mg (5.1% DV)

Also provides:
Folate: 19 mcg (4.75% DV)
Vitamin E: 1.23 mg (4.6% DV)
Thiamin: 0.06 mg (4% DV)
Magnesium: 14 mg (3.5% DV)
Niacin: 0.7 mg (3.5% DV)
Vitamin B6: 0.07 mg (3.5% DV)
Calcium: 24 mg (2.4% DV)
Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g (2.4% DV)
Vitamin K: 1.3 mcg (1.6% DV)
DV = Daily Value as established by the US Food and Drug Administration, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Recipe: Pumpkin-Shiitake Risotto
Ingredients:
4-5 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked Arborio or other short-grain rice
½ cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh or canned unflavored pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, heat the broth until simmering. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
In a large nonstick pan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6-7 minutes.
Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is lightly toasted and coated in oil, about 1 minute. Add the wine and reduce until nearly evaporated.
Ladle 1 cup of the warm broth into the rice and stir constantly until the rice absorbs most of the liquid. Reduce heat, if necessary, to maintain a simmer.
Continue adding the broth in 1-cup increments, each time waiting for the rice to absorb most of the liquid, approximately 20-30 minutes. The rice will slowly become creamy and cooked, with tender grains and a loose sauce.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in the salt and pumpkin puree and heat through. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.
—Hannah Bauman

References
What is the difference between pumpkins, squashes and gourds? Missouri Botanical Garden website. Available here. Accessed October 15, 2015.
Cucurbita pepo. Missouri Botanical Garden website. Available here. Accessed October 15, 2015.
Yadav M, Jain S, Tomar R, Prasad GB, Yadav H. Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: An updated review. Nutr Res Rev. 2010;23(2):184-190.
Pumpkins and More. University of Illinois Extension website. Available here. Accessed September 16, 2015.
Barksdale N. The History of Pumpkin Pie. History website. November 21, 2014. Available here. Accessed September 16, 2015.
Gamonski W. The true potency of the pumpkin seed. Life Extension. 2012;18(10):95-98.
Caili F, Huan S, Quanhong L. A review on pharmacological activities and utilization technologies of pumpkin. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2006;61(2):70-77.
Quanhong L, Caili F, Yukui R, Guanghui H, Tongyi C. Effects of protein-bound polysaccharide isolated from pumpkin on insulin in diabetic rats. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2005;60(1):13-16.
Gossell-Williams M, Hyde C, Hunter T, et al. Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: Pilot study. Climacteric. 2011;14(5):558-564.
Weil A, Becker B. Supplements and Herbs: Facts about Vitamin A. Andrew Weil, MD website. October 29, 2012. Available here. Accessed September 23, 2015.
Adams GG, Imran S, Wang S, et al. The hypoglycemic effect of pumpkin seeds, trigonelline (TRG), nicotinic acid (NA), and D-chiro-inositol (DCI) in controlling glycemic levels in diabetes mellitus. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(10):1322-1329.
Košťálová Z, Hromádková Z, Ebringerová A. Chemical evaluation of seeded fruit biomass of oil pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L. var. Styriaca). Chemical Papers. 2009;63(4):406–413.
Aegerter B, Smith R, Natwick E, Gaskell M, Rilla E. Pumpkin Production in California. Richmond, CA: University of California Vegetable Research and Information Center; 2013. Available here. Accessed September 16, 2015.
Gossell-Williams M, Davis A, O'Connor N. Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil. J Med Food. 2006;9(2):284-286.
Vahlensieck W, Theurer C, Pfitzer E, et al. Effects of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in the one-year, randomized, placebo-controlled GRANU study. Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-295.
Coulson S, Rao A, Beck SL, et al. A phase II randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the efficacy and safety of ProstateEZE Max: A herbal medicine preparation for the management of symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Complement Ther Med. 2013;21(3):172-179.
Hong H, Kim CS, Maeng S. Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nutr Res Prac. 2009;3(4):323-327.
El-Mosallamy A, Sleem AA, Abdel-Salam OM, Shaffie N, Kenawy SA. Antihypertensive and cardioprotective effects of pumpkin seed oil. J Med Food. 2012;15(2):180-189.
Basic Report: 11422, Pumpkin, raw. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture website. Available here. Accessed September 16, 2015.


Comments