Pumpkin. Pumpkin seeds
Specification & Spread
Pumpkin seeds — semina cucurbitae
Pumpkin — cucurbita pepo l.
Large pumpkin — cucurbita maxima duch.
Butternut — cucurbita moschata (duch.) Poir.
Gourd family — cucurbitaceae
Other names: bulge, squash, cucurbit, pepo.
It is an annual cultivated herbaceous monoecious plants with creeping stems up to 10 m long and spirally curved tendrils.
In a pumpkin, the stems are sharp-edged, prickly and stiff-haired, the leaves are prickly-rough, heart-shaped, five-lobed, with sharp lobes.
The flowers are same-sex, yellow, large, solitary or (staminate) in bunches. The corolla is bell-shaped, up to 5-10 cm in diameter. The corolla lobes are pointed, erect.
The fruit is large, 15-40 cm in diameter, pumpkin spherical or elliptical in shape with numerous yellowish-white seeds. It blooms from June. In the butternut, the stems are obtuse, softly pubescent, the leaves are 5-7 lobed, rounded bud-like, with sharp lobes. The corolla lobes are acuminate and bent.
The fruits are elongated with the interception in the middle, varied in colour. The seeds are off-white.
Large pumpkin has cylindrical and softly pubescent stems. The leaves are five-lobed, bud-shaped, with blunt rounded lobes and stiff-haired. The corolla lobes are rounded.
The fruits are usually oblate-spherical. The seeds are large white or yellowish.
Spreading. The native country of pumpkin - South America.
Habitat. All three species are cultivated mainly in the southern steppe regions, pumpkin - also in the temperate zone. The main seed harvesting is carried out in Ukraine.
The chemical composition of pumpkin seeds
The seeds contain:
up to 50% fatty oil, which consists of:
- triacylglycerides of palmitic and stearic acids (about 30%),
- oleic (up to 25%) and
- linoleic (up to 45%).
A larger amount (up to 80%) belongs to unsaturated fatty acids.
The main pharmacologically active substance that determines the anthelmintic effect of pumpkin seeds is
- the amino acid cucurbitin (3-amino-3-carboxypyrrolidine), the content of which in the seeds reaches 0.1-0.3%, depending on the pumpkin variety.
The seeds also contain:
- amino acids
- resinous substances
- vitamins of group B, C, E, carotenoids,
- organic acids.
The pulp contains:
- sugar (4-11%),
- vitamin C,
- carotenoids (up to 16 mg%),
- vitamins B1, B2,
- nicotinic acid.
Harvesting and storage of raw materials
Harvesting. The seeds are harvested from ripe fruit in autumn. The fruits are cut by hand, seeds are cleared from the pulp of the pericarp. The fruits contain about 10% of the seeds of their total mass. The fruit pulp is an industrial source of carotene production.
Drying. It is dried without heating in attics with good ventilation or under sheds, spreading the seeds in a thin layer (2 cm) on paper or cloth, stirring occasionally. The contamination of seeds by soil is unacceptable. It is dried in kilns or dryers is not allowed (!), Since it loses its healing properties.
Storage. It is stored in a dry and well-ventilated area.
External signs of raw materials
The seeds are elliptical, dense, slightly narrowed on one side, fringed along the rim edge.
The surface of the seeds is glossy or matte, smooth or slightly rough.
The peel of the seed consists of two parts: woody, easily detachable and internal - membranous, tight to the corcle; sometimes woody rind is absent (variety «gymnospermous»). The corcle consists of two yellowish-white cotyledons and a small root.
The seed length is 1.5-2.5 cm, the width is 0.8-1.4 cm, the thickness in the middle of the seed is 0.1-0.4 mm.
The seed colour is white, white with a yellowish or greyish tint, less often greenish-grey or yellow. The smell is absent.
The taste of the seed, peeled from the woody part of the rind, oily and sweetish.
Properties and application
The pharmacological properties of pumpkin seeds
The pumpkin seeds have long been known in traditional medicine, its pharmacological properties have been confirmed experimentally and clinically. However, only after the detection of cucurbitin in the seeds, a clear correlation was established between its content and the anthelmintic activity of the seeds.
The pharmacological studies in recent years have revealed that lipophilic biologically active substances from pumpkin seeds have:
- anti-atherosclerotic effect.
The pumpkin seed oil
- reduces the proliferation of prostate cells, arresting dysuric symptoms, which is widely used to treat prostatitis and prostate adenomas.
Pumpkin seed application
The peeled seeds have long been made ex tempore emulsion used for the treatment of helminthiasis.
The seeds are used against various tapeworms (bovine, porcine and dwarf tapeworms, wide tapeworm) and pinworms.
The seed oil and preparations based on it are prescribed as
- hepatotropic and choleretic agent with:
- fatty liver,
- biliary dyskinesia;
- with gastritis and gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer as antiulcer and anti-inflammatory agent.
It is applied with prostate adenoma as an antidysuric agent. Outside, pumpkin seed oil is used when:
- cervical erosion,
Pumpkin fruit pulp is used as:
It improves intestinal function with constipation,
enhances the excretion of chlorides from the body,
increases diuresis without irritating the renal tissue.
- Diseases of the digestive system in the acute stage.
- Gastritis with increased acidity, intestinal obstruction.
- Individual intolerance.