Pumpkin Seed – Cucurbita moschata Duch
Pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae (which also includes gourds). In the United States and Canada it is a common name of or can refer to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata. They are typically orange or yellow and have many creases running from the stem to the bottom. They have a thick shell on the outside, with seeds and pulp on the inside.
In British and Australian English, pumpkin generally refers to what North Americans call winter squash, but would include the above species. This article is based on the North American definition.
Pumpkin seed oil (Kernöl or Kürbiskernöl in German, bučno olje in Slovenian, bučino ulje or bundevino ulje in Serbian and Croatian, and tökmag-olaj in Hungarian), a culinary specialty of south eastern Austria (Styria), eastern Slovenia (Styria and Prekmurje), north western Croatia (esp. Međimurje), adjacent regions of Hungary, is a European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product.
Today the oil is an important export commodity of Austrian and Slovenian parts of Styria. It is made by pressing roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), from a local variety of pumpkin, the “Styrian oil pumpkin” (Cucurbita pepo var. styriaca, also known as var. oleifera). It has been produced and used in Styria’s southern parts at least since the 18th century. The earliest confirmed record of oil pumpkin seeds in Styria (from the estate of a farmer in Gleinstätten) dates to February 18, 1697.
The viscous oil is light to very dark green to dark red in colour depending on the thickness of the observed sample. The oil appears green in thin layer and red in thick layer. Such optical phenomenon is called dichromatism. Pumpkin oil is one of the substances with strongest dichromatism. Its Kreft’s dichromaticity index is -44. Used together with yoghurt, the colour turns to bright green and is sometimes referred to as “green-gold”.
Claims, based on local folk medicine, suggesting usefulness of the oil in the prevention and treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia may be backed by some studies showing clinically proven efficacy (particularly along with Serenoa repens, saw palmetto, and Pygeum africanum) according to the criteria of evidence-based medicine. 
Pumpkin seed oil is most commonly used to treat irritable bowel syndrome.  Small studies have also shown that pumpkin seeds, which contain amino acids, steroidal compounds, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, may lower the risk of certain types of kidney stones and improve symptoms associated with enlarged prostates Additionally, pumpkin seeds reportedly contain significant amounts of tryptophan and lysine. Some studies have also found pumpkin seeds to prevent arteriosclerosis and regulate cholesterol levels. 
Pumpkin seed oil, commonly prescribed in German folk medicine, remedies parasitic infestations of the intestinal tract such as tapeworms.
The Benefits of Pumpkin Seed
Pumpkin seeds are one of nature’s almost perfect foods. They are a natural source of beneficial constituents such as carbohydrates, amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids. They contain most of the B vitamins, along with C, D, E, and K. They also have the minerals calcium, potassium, and phosphorous. Pumpkin seeds have mainly been used to treat prostate and bladder problems, but they have also been known to help with depression and learning disabilities.
Native American tribes were among the first people to notice the beneficial aspects of pumpkin seeds. They referred to them as cucurbita and used them to treat kidney problems and to eliminate parasites from the intestines.
Because pumpkin seeds turned up so frequently in folk medicines, scientists began to conduct research on the oil extracted from them. One study showed pumpkin seed oil kept hormones from inflicting damage on the cells of the prostate, which helps to reduce cancer development. Another study revealed that the seeds contain a significant amount of L-tryptophan, which is beneficial in battling depression (although it is believed the seeds don’t have enough to treat major depression, they can be used as a preventive measure). Other studies showed pumpkin seeds can improve bladder and urethra function. And they are thought to help stop the formation of kidney stones, even though the ingredient responsible is unknown. Pumpkin seeds have also been used to treat learning disorders and are generally recommended in some countries as a ‘brain food.’ Other studies have shown they prevent hardening of the arteries and help regulate cholesterol levels.
Using pumpkin seeds in cooking is popular in many cultures. Adding roasted pumpkin seeds to soups and salads provides a nutty flavor; and pumpkin seed oil can be used as a salad dressing when combined with products like honey and olive oil. Roasted pumpkin seeds are of course commonly eaten as snacks, but be aware that while roasting brings out their full flavor, the heat also destroys their natural fatty acids. Thus they are most nutritious when eaten raw. Also make sure to refrigerate pumpkin seeds so the oil does not turn rancid.
When buying pumpkin seed oil it is important to check that the label doesn’t list too much sunflower seed oil. Some manufacturers add a lot of sunflower oil to reduce costs since extracting oil from pumpkin seeds is a tedious and complicated process.
A common folk remedy in Germany uses pumpkin seed oil to treat tapeworms, although some say the act is somewhat risky. A person with tapeworms is given approximately ten ounces of ground pumpkin seeds combined with milk and honey. Two hours later, castor oil is given and the tapeworms are eliminated. Studies in China have shown that pumpkin seeds are beneficial to people with a rare parasitic disease received from snails called schistosomiasis. So far the disease has only been found in Africa and Asia.
Pumpkin seeds have been known to cause upset stomach in some people, but they do not interact with other medications as far as anyone knows.
Sources : Pumkin Seed is the dried seed of Cucurbita moschata Duch. the drug is collected in summer and autumn, remove from tissues, washed clean, and dried in hte sun.
Action: to kill parasites.
Indications: Taeniasis, ascarids, schistosomiasis, filariasis.
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