- Indications with possible efficacy:
Urinary problems associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (popular use)
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy:
Intestinal worms and parasites
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
- Risk of Drug Interactions: Low
- Adverse Effects: Rare
Part of the plant used: seeds
Seeds from various cucurbitaceae species have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Historically, pumpkin seeds where used to eradicate intestinal worms and parasites. In those days, seeds were crushed and the resulting powder swallowed by itself or used to make a tea. The antiparasitic activity of pumpkin seeds is attributed to its cucurbitin content, which can vary greatly from one specie to another. Newer vermifuges have now largely surpassed the use of pumpkin seeds for this indication. Pumpkin seeds also contain phytosterols, beta and alpha-tocopherol as well as minerals such as selenium.
Direction of use
- Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia:
Used doses: 5 grams of dried pumpkin seeds twice a day.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that pumpkin seeds are effective in any other indication.
- Side effects
Pumpkin seeds are associated with no particular toxicity. In fact, there have been no reports of adverse effects associated with pumpkin seeds use.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Since there is no safety data available concerning its use during pregnancy and breast-feeding, pregnant and lactating women should not take pumpkin seeds in greater amount than those found in food.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
- Blumethal M et al. The Complete German Commission E monographs, 1998
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2010
- Facts and Comparisons, The review of Natural Products, 2000
- Passeportsanté.net. Citrouille. www.passeportsante.net
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.