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.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that pumpkin seeds are effective in any other indication.
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.
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