Pumpkin Seed Oil: Year round healthcare – don’t restrict to Halloween!

PIC1 2Pumpkin Seed Oil, also known as “Green Gold” due to its dark green colour, although it can also be a rich amber/red, is extracted from Cucurbita Pepo, an annual plant with creeping tendencies and climbing shoots. Often the oil appears red when in bulk but when poured in a fine stream looks green due to an optical illusion called dichromatism. Pumpkin seed oil has a rich nutty smoky flavour.

Native to North America (Mexico and Texas), pumpkins are one of the oldest domesticated plants, with the first recording dated around 7,500 BC, and even outdated the domestication of crops such as maize. It is clear from changes to the fruit shape and colour that intentional breeding took place approx 8000 years ago. Pumpkin was a staple food item which was introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus during the 15th century. By the 18th century Austrian farmers in Styria discovered that an oil could be extracted from the seeds, and the Austrian Empress Maria Theresia, having recognised the value of pumpkin seed oil for therapeutic usage, declared in 1773 that the oil was too precious to be served as food and belonged to the chemists to produce ointments and wound dressings.

Pumpkins need several hours of direct sun each day in order to keep the leaves dry, and is a crop with one of the smallest water consumptions. PIC2 1 Therefore the desert conditions of Egypt are ideal for growing pumpkin crops and an initiative was raised by the Egyptian Government, meaning that Egypt is now an established grower of quality pumpkin plants and producer of high quality pumpkin seed oil.

Vitamins and Minerals in Pumpkin Seed Oil

Pumpkin seed oil is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamins C and E, Linoleic acid (omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids), in addition to carotenoids (also known as antioxidants), tocopherols, and sterols.

Pumpkin seed has a long tradition of therapeutic use. In fact the pumpkins now grown for their oil produce typically contain hulless seeds, and the accompanying thicker skin on the pumpkin sends even more nutrients to the seeds. The removal of the oil by way of cold-pressing means that the full nutritional and therapeutic value is retained. The increasing demand for natural products for pharmaceutical usage has encouraged the scientific world to explore plants known for their natural remedies, and various studies have upheld the use of pumpkin seed oil for its amazing health benefits. So what exactly can pumpkin seed oil do for your health?

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Oil

PIC3 1Pumpkin Seed Oil is Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant and an Immune Booster
Pumpkin seed oil is high in antioxidants to protect against inflammation and chronic disease, which if left untreated can lead to many chronic, degenerative and often debilitating health issues including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline. Its antioxidant agents can cleanse the body of the harmful molecules left in the body following digestion and after exposure to harmful environmental impacts, thus limiting cell damage, and the harmful effects of oxidation. The array of nutrients contained in pumpkin seed oil help to boost the immune system by offering wound healing, antibacterial and antiviral properties amongst others.

Studies have shown that pumpkin seed oil has a positive effect on arthritis, relieving pain and inflammation, and its effect on arthritis has been likened to that of a popular arthritis drug but without the adverse side-effects.

Pumpkin Seed Health Benefits for Men
Pumpkin oil has a host of benefits for men. It is particularly effective for strengthening the health of the prostate gland, ensuring a healthy prostate function and protecting against the risk of prostate problems such as: benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH), a noncancerous condition causing an enlarged prostate that impairs urinary function and can cause an inability to urine, a weak urinary flow or even loss of bladder control; chronic nonbacterial prostatitis; chronic bacterial prostatitis, a bacterial infection which is common in older men; and prostate cancer. 

PIC4 1 In one study, 47 men suffering from BPH took pumpkin seed oil daily for 12 months and reported reduced symptoms including increased urinary flow, plus an overall a better quality of life. Another study concluded that pumpkin seed oil improved maximal urinary flow rate.

Pumpkin seed oil is packed with zinc which stimulates the body to produce more testosterone, thus boosting sperm health and increasing sperm production and fertility, in addition to helping to build more muscle. Studies have confirmed the ability of pumpkin seed oil to improve fertility and erectile function.

Pumpkin seeds were traditionally used to combat erectile dysfunction, and studies have confirmed the ability of pumpkin seed oil to counteract erectile dysfunction, thanks to its composition. Pumpkin seed oil contains the amino acid arginine which is converted into nitric acid within the body, and improves blood flow. An erection is triggered by the nervous system, and causes an increase in the nitric oxide levels in the arteries and muscle of the penis. The dilation of the arteries fills the erectile tissue with blood which is held in place by groups of muscles. Arginine also improves sperm motility. The well known chemically produced product for the treatment of erectile dysfunction works in a similar way to arginine. 

Pumpkin seed oil also contains tryptophan, an amino acid which produces serotonin, the happiness hormone that improves sexual desire and function, and magnesium which helps to calm the nerves. 

Pumpkin Seed Health Benefits for Women
Pumpkin Seed Oil can help to restore hormonal balance and promote normal ovulation, thus regulating menstruation and also improving fertility. It helps to reduce the symptoms of PMS, dysmenorrhea and menopause. PIC5 1 A study on postmenopausal women confirmed that a daily intake of the oil showed that there was a marked decrease in hot flashes, headaches and joint pain. Furthermore the study showed it promoted weight loss, regulated insulin, improved blood pressure and increased good cholesterol levels, thus protecting further against the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

 Pumpkin Seed oil is also said to block dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is the hormone responsible for hair loss, most noticeably in menopausal and postmenopausal women. 

The wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties of pumpkin seed oil is helpful for the treatment of gynecological diseases such as vaginitis, cervical erosion and endocervicitis.  Pumpkin seed oil is also rich in beta-carotene which is found in high concentrations within the ovaries. A lack of beta-carotene in the body in general will leave inadequate amounts in the ovaries which will be less equipped for fighting off infections. Beta-carotene is also essential for the normal growth of the tissue type found in the vagina. Pumpkin seed oil can also inhibit the fungus Candida albicans, responsible for mucous membrane infections such as thrush and vaginal yeast infections

Pumpkin Seed Oil for Digestive Tract Health
Pumpkin seed oil is full of zinc, plus omegas 3 & 6, and has wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties to help protect and soothe the digestive tract, as well as enabling better absorption of nutrients. It helps to reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome when taken regularly, and normalises the acidity of the stomach. Researchers in S N Pradhan Centre for Neurosciences, University of Calcutta, confirmed that pumpkin seed oil can protect against peptic ulcers.

Pumpkin Seed Oil for Internal Parasites
Pumpkin seed oil has a long tradition of being used for the treatment of internal parasites in humans and livestock. Recent studies have confirmed its anthelmintic properties which is due to the presence of an amino acid called cucurbitacin. Cucurbitacin works by effectively paralyzing the parasites so that they lose their grip on the lining of the intestines or gallbladder, are unable to reattach, and are effectively flushed out during a bowel movement. 

PIC6 1 1Pumpkin Seed Oil for Urinary Tract Health
The urinary tract, made up of the kidneys, bladder and urethra, the duct connecting the bladder to the exterior opening, can benefit greatly from regular consumption of pumpkin seed oil. 

Pumpkin seed oil helps to improve kidney function, and cleanse the kidneys, cleaning them of sodium and toxins, and lowering the risk of chronic kidney disease. Moreover it can help to prevent kidney stones, clumps of crystal-forming substances including calcium and uric acid that form in concentrated urine, by lowering calcium levels in the urine and preventing the accumulation of uric acid in the body. Moreover, according to scientists the risk of kidney stones is significantly reduced by the daily consumption of potassium, which is found in high levels in pumpkin seed oil. 

Creatinine, a waste product of muscle metabolism, is usually discharged by the kidneys via urine. However in the event of a kidney impairment, extra creatinine can build up in the blood causing symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, fatigue, changes in urination frequency, bloating or fluid retention, and high blood pressure. Pumpkin seed oil, due to its diuretic effect, can help increase urine output and eliminate excess creatinine.

Pumpkin seed oil can help to maintain healthy bladder function by strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor – the muscles that stretch from the coccyx to the pubic bone and serve as sphincter muscles, controlling the opening and closing of the urethra. Studies regarding the impact of pumpkin seed oil on an overactive bladder have confirmed that it can produce a significant reduction in symptoms including daytime and night-time urination, urgency to urinate, and urinary incontinence. Participants noted improvements within 6 weeks, greatly increasing their quality of life. The oil is also effective for nocturia (frequent night-time urination).

Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder condition producing recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder or surrounding pelvic region, often accompanied by irritated bladder walls, more frequent urination (often several times during the night), the sudden intense need to urinate, and bloating. Pumpkin seed oil, due to the presence of arginine, can help to open the blood vessels, increase circulation and reduce inflammation in the pelvic region, thus reducing symptoms. 

Another study regarding the use of pumpkin seed oil on an irritated bladder confirmed a reduction in bladder symptoms such as bladder pain and pressure and burning while urinating. A study investigating the effect of pumpkin seed oil on cystometrography – pressure studies of the bladder – noted an increase in bladder capacity and decreased urination frequency. 

Pumpkin Seed Oil for Enhanced Liver Health
Various studies have indicated that pumpkin seed oil is hepatoprotective. It helps to cleanse the liver of harmful toxins, removes heavy metals, small formations and sand. Pumpkin seed oil activates the liver cells, improving their biochemical processes and improves regeneration. Studies have shown pumpkin seed oil is able to protect against hepatitis A and cirrhosis from secondary viral infections, halt the progression of cirrhosis, improve dyslipidaemia and prevent the progression of non alcoholic fatty liver to steatohepatitis, and reduce nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and alcohol-induced liver toxicity.

PIC7 1Pumpkin Seed Oil Improves Heart Health
Pumpkin seed oil can improve heart health by improving circulation and lowering the risk of clots, in addition to lowering cholesterol and reducing high blood pressure, protecting against atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks and heart disease:

 Pumpkin Seed Oil Reduces High Blood Pressure
The nutrients in pumpkin seed oil are what makes this a winner for hypertension. It’s bursting with heart-healthy compounds such as antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, fatty acids, and arginine

The presence of arginine, an amino acid which increases nitric oxide, makes it a natural vasodilator, meaning it relaxes blood vessels, allowing them to widen, thus improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure. 

Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure by counteracting the adverse effects of sodium. Research shows that low levels of potassium increase blood pressure, whilst high levels can prevent and reduce high blood pressure. 

Magnesium allows the blood vessels to react by acting as a calcium channel blocker and stopping calcium from entering the cells of the heart and arteries. A deficiency of magnesium causes the walls of the arteries and capillaries to constrict, increasing blood pressure. 

Fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and decrease levels of compounds called oxylipins which restrict blood vessels. 

The presence of phytoestrogens in pumpkin seed oil, which have an estrogen effect, makes it suitable for lowering high blood pressure in postmenopausal women. A blind study of 23 women over a six week period which was carried out by researchers Marymount University, in Arlington, Virginia, USA, found that they had a significantly reduced systolic blood pressure, in addition to better blood flow in their arteries, which led them to conclude that pumpkin seed oil “might be effective in the prevention and treatment of hypertension in this population”.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Lowers Cholesterol
Pumpkin seed oil contains high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids known to help increase the level of HDL (good) levels. Several studies have taken place regarding the impact of pumpkin seed oil on cardiovascular health and results have been extremely promising. The oil contains phytosterols which are similar to the body’s cholesterol and thus they compete with the body’s cholesterol for absorption in the digestive system, effectively blocking some cholesterol absorption and decreasing LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. 

PIC8 1Pumpkin Seed Oil for Diabetes
Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, magnesium and zinc, pumpkin seed oil can protect against the onset of diabetes and help to regulate blood sugar levels for those already in the throes of the disease. Research has shown that a higher intake of magnesium reduces the risk of diabetes, and zinc helps to regulate insulin receptors, stabilises blood glucose levels. 

Studies have confirmed the anti-diabetic properties of pumpkin seed oil: One study showed that the consumption of pumpkin seed oil helped to maintain pancreas functioning, improving glucose levels and lowering fat levels. Another found that pumpkin seed oil naturally increased insulin production, reducing insulin dependence, whilst yet another study showed that pumpkin seed oil improved blood glucose and insulin sensitivity.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Anticancer Potential
Pumpkin seed oil has demonstrated anticancer properties and has been linked with a reduced risk of breast, colon, lung, prostate and stomach cancer. The lignans and flavones in the oil have been shown to have a positive effect on hormone-dependent tumors, and studies suggest that pumpkin seed oil can play a role in breast cancer prevention or treatment. A large observational study on postmenopausal women, noted the reduced risk of breast cancer. 

The effect of pumpkin seed oil on prostate health is well studied and documented, confirming its ability to deter prostate cancer. Meanwhile a 2018 study carried out by the Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences in India, showed promising results in lowering the risk of colon cancer.

PIC9 1Pumpkin Seed Oil Encourages Mental Wellbeing
Pumpkin seed oil can help to alleviate anxiety and depression, and boost the mood. This is most likely accredited to the fact that pumpkin seed oil is high in the amino acid tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin, the happiness hormone, which stabilises the mood and induces a feeling of wellbeing. Low levels of serotonin are linked with depression, anxiety, and sleep trouble. The oil is also rich in zinc, and low levels of zinc have been associated with mood disorders, in addition to psychiatric diseases such as depression, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Studies with children and adults suggest that pumpkin seed is an effective treatment for depression. A study into social anxiety found that pumpkin seed oil greatly reduced the participants’ anxiety levels.

PIC10Pumpkin Seed Oil Restores Hair Growth
Pumpkin seed oil is full of important nutrients, vital for great hair health. It will nourish and moisturise the hair follicles, promoting thickness, health and growth. There have been several studies regarding the impact of pumpkin seed oil on hair growth. In one study of 76 men, as published in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the men who took the pumpkin seed oil for 24 weeks saw increased hair growth of 40%, compared to just 10% in the placebo group. The increased growth rate was accredited to the oil inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase, one of the major causes of male or female pattern baldness.

Another study on women over a 3 month period, showed increased hair growth, whilst another study showed that topical application improved growth after just three weeks. 

Application: Warm 2 tablespoons in your hands and apply directly to the scalp and hair. Leave for 10 minutes and wash out. For best results, treat once a week.

Culinary Uses of Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil is very versatile and lends itself to both sweet and savoury dishes. Drizzle it over pasta, soup, rice, roast vegetables, fish, roast chicken or grilled meats. Use in salad dressings or dips. You can even pour some over ice cream or fresh fruit. Pumpkin seed oil has a very low smoke point (120°C and is not suitable for roasting or frying as you will lose many of the important nutrients, and the oil can also become bitter and unpleasant tasting.

PIC11Pumpkin Seed Oil as a Health Tonic
To use pumpkin seed oil as a health tonic or as a complementary treatment for existing diseases, take one teaspoon a day, first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Plus add a teaspoon for culinary purposes.  

Treatment course is three months with a one month break in between treatments.  

Buy your pumpkin seed oil today – it’s a mini pharmacy in a bottle. Not to be relegated for use just at Halloween!!


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