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Herb Information
Name: Pumpkin Seeds

See Also: Pumpkin

Other Names:  Pepitas

The best part of a pumpkin is something most throw away in the garbage after carving a pumpkin to make a Jack O' Lantern; it is the pumpkin seed. Pumpkin seeds packs therapeutic and nutritional ingredients and is used as a herb throughout the world. Look for full, dry seeds with a yellowish-white husk. 

Nutrient Content of 1 Ounce (28 grams) Roasted Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)(Unsalted)

Calories 126
Protein 5 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Carbohydrate 15 g
Calcium 16 mg
Phosphorus 26 mg
Iron 0.9 mg
Sodium 5 mg
Potassium 260 mg
Dietary fiber 10 g
Vitamin A 2 RE
Thiamin 0.01 mg
Riboflavin 0.02 mg
Niacin 0.1 mg
Vitamin C 0 mg

Therapeutic Value

The pumpkin seeds are a balanced source of good proteins. They are very nourishing and energizing. In addition to protein, they are an excellent source of iron, B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber, oil, and minerals. 

Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, a mineral that aids the healing process and is useful in treating an enlarged prostate gland. Other nutrients are magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, potassium, niacin, folic acid, riboflavin and thiamin. They also contain pantothenic acid, unsaturated oils and antioxidants.

Seeds roasted in oil generally contain saturated acids, making them even more energizing than plain-roasted seeds. Pumpkin seeds are said to be diuretic and to help in the treatment of urinary tract infections and prostate disorders. They also have a reputation for being an aphrodisiac.

Healing Qualities of Pumpkin Seeds and Husks 

The medicinal use of pumpkin seeds was adopted by Oriental healers sometime in the seventeenth century. 

Sweet, Neutral Energy Treats Large Intestine and Stomach Organ Systems Category: Herb that Expels Parasites.

This delicious, nutritious, nutty-flavored seed has diuretic properties; it soothes irritated tissues, eliminates pain, and expels parasites. It is effective against tapeworms and roundworms. Pumpkin seeds and husks aid milk production in lactating mothers and are used to reduce postpartum swelling of the hands and feet.

Pumpkin Seed - A Great Remedy for Gout 

A rancher just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, told this account of how he had utilized pumpkin seeds to help him get rid of his gout. 

"It got really bad here and here," he explained, while at the same time pointing to his ankles and knees. I was in so much pain, I couldn't stand on my feet for very long. And walking even a short distance would just about kill me. Got so I had to start using a wheelchair to cut down the hurt and still be able to move about. It was damn frustrating is all I can say." 

Then someone told him about an old Pueblo medicine man, who had a reputation for curing people. "I went to him and told him what my problem was," the rancher continued. "I didn't have to do much explaining, because at the sight of me in my wheelchair, he knew I was in bad shape. He told my wife, who pushed me inside his house, to make a tea from pumpkin seeds and have me drink that 7 times a day instead of regular water. 

We thanked him for his advice and went back home. She made me a quart of tea at a time by boiling 5 cups of water and then adding 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds. She left the pot uncovered and simmered the seeds on low heat for what I'd judge to be about 25 minutes. After her brew had sufficiently cooled, she strained the liquid into a big plastic pitcher and put it in the refrigerator. She made me drink one coffee cup of that funny tasting stuff every two hours or so. 

"It may taste like crap, but I'll tell you this," he finished with his story, "it sure as hell reduced my swollen knees and ankles and took away all the damned pain, so I could get out of that stupid wheelchair and walk again!"

(Excerpted from: Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Nuts, Berries and Seeds by John Heinerman)

Herbal Combinations Using Pumpkin Seeds and Husks 

Pumpkin seeds and husks are often used in conjunction with Semen Arecae Catechu to dislodge and expel tapeworms. Usually, for a 150-pound adult, 2 to 4 ounces of powdered pumpkin seeds and husks are taken with water. Two hours later, a tea made with 2 to 4 ounces of Semen Arecae is ingested, followed 30 minutes later by 1/2 ounce of Mirabilitum (a purgative substance, also known as glauber's salt)

Another popular remedy is to mix pumpkin seeds, onions with a little soy milk for parasitic worms in the digestive tract. To make this remedy, liquefy three tablespoons of pumpkin seeds that have been soaked three hours, one-ha1f of a small onion, one-ha1f cup soy milk, and one teaspoon honey. Take this three times daily, three days in a row. 

Medicinal Uses of Pumpkin Seeds Throughout the World

People from around the world have discovered the usefulness of pumpkin for medicinal uses. Let us take a short safari.

When the first explorers arrived in America, they noticed the pumpkin plant in the cultivated maize fields of the Indians. The native Indians utilized the plant for medicine as well as for food. An emulsion made from a mixture of pumpkin and watermelon seeds served to heal wounds for members of the Yuma tribe. The Catawbas ate the fresh or dried seeds as a kidney medicine, while the Menominces drank a mixture of water and powdered squash and pumpkin seeds to ease the passage of urine. In settler folk medicine the ground stems of pumpkin were brewed into a tea to treat "female ills," and the ripe seeds were made into a palatable preparation to dispel worms. Modern folk healers advocate pumpkin seeds to rid the body of intestinal worms, and they point out that the seed oil is helpful for healing bums and wounds. 

People of Germany discovered that raw, hulled pumpkin seeds contain substances that stimulate sex hormone production. The seeds contain large amounts of zinc, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin B. So, eating a handful of pumpkin seeds a day may help prevent impotence. 

Bulgarian mountain dwellers, Hungarian Gypsies, Anatolian Turks, Ukrainians, and Transylvanians all eat pumpkin seeds as part of their everyday diets. Originally intended to prevent prostate ailments (probably due to the high zinc content), pumpkin seeds have been found by these people to prevent impotence as well. 

Studies performed at Vienna University have revealed that prostatic hypertrophy, or swelling of the prostate, is almost non- existent among the men of Transylvania. Extensive research by the Szekler group in the Transylvanian Alps has shown that this phenomenon can be attributed to the Transylvanian passion for pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds contain large amounts of magnesium, which French physicians have proven to be effective in the treatment of prostate ailments. The seeds are also excellent sources of zinc. 

The pumpkin is a symbol of prosperity and fruitfulness in China, even though the first pumpkins came from India. In both countries, a popular snack is made by drying pumpkin seeds and dipping them in salt. This snack has gained popularity in other parts of the world, including the United States. The seeds are highly nutritious, containing zinc and other minerals that improve vision. 

Ethiopians chew pumpkin seeds (which contain fiber) as a natural laxative.

Polish researchers have discovered that the seeds and pulp of deep orange pumpkins and winter squash contain substances that may inhibit cancer. All orange and deep yellow fruits and vegetables contain beta carotene, an effective cancer preventive. 

Pumpkin Seed As A Treatment for Acne

The mineral zinc is just as important as vitamin A for your skin. Zinc allows stored vitamin A in the liver to be released into the bloodstream. 

To treat acne, you can either take a zinc supplement of 25 to 50 milligrams each day, or eat pumpkin seeds, which are rich in this mineral. 

How To Store Pumpkin Seeds

Store pumpkin and winter squash seeds in a cool dry place, away from insects and rodents. You can also freeze them. Chopped or ground seeds should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent them from going rancid. 


To roast the seeds: 

Gently remove all the seeds, along with the surrounding filaments, from the cavity of the squash; discard the filaments and pat the seeds dry with a paper towel. Do not rinse them. 
Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and leave them out to dry at room temperature for several days if possible; otherwise, leave them out at least overnight.
Place the seeds in the oven and roast them at 350of until they are golden, shaking them occasionally. Coat them with a little oil and salt if desired.
Remove the seeds from the oven and take them off the cookie sheet to end roasting.
To prevent the formation of mold during storage, ensure that the seeds are cool and dry before placing them in an airtight container. 

Do not exceed recommended dosage; taken in excess this herb might produce adverse effects on liver function. 

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