The use of pumpkin seed oil isn’t just for gourmet alternative to coconut oil. It offers many health benefits. Snack on the seeds or use the oil for health. Many research studies confirm its therapeutic uses.
It’s a pumpkin party! Only this time around, it’s not Halloween—it’s all year.
No longer just for jack o’ lanterns, these whimsical spherical, orange gourds have emerged from nutritional obscurity to ubiquity.
Pumpkin party? More like pumpkin invasion with thousands of Starbucks sling pumpkin spice lattes.
You can even get pumpkin seeds at many gas station convenience stores.
And this is a good thing.
There are many health benefits from Cucurbita pepo. Especially from cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil.
The seeds are ripe from August to October. Of course, you don’t have to eat your yearly dose of the seeds during these three months. You can eat them year-round.
Plus, you can also buy the essential oil. You can buy the oil for cooking. Or, you can use the seed oil for medicinal/therapeutic purposes.
What Makes Pumpkin Seed Oil Healthy?
Either for food or medicine, it’s the fatty acids, vitamin E compounds and sterols (the cholesterol-like substance in plants) in it that promotes health.
In fact, there are lots of studies proving it can protect against certain diseases and undesirable outcomes. For example, research shows this squash-like vegetable (actually, technically, it’s a fruit) can ease high blood pressure.
Also, it can help prevent cancer. It’s also an antibacterial (rub a bit on your hands instead of using toxic antibacterial soap), antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Let’s take a look at some other benefits….
Pumpkin Seed Oil Benefits
This South African study evaluates six different plants, including Cucurbita pepo, for treating diabetes.
The plants’ antidiabetic activity was assessed by measuring their effect on enzymes that control blood sugar and insulin release.
Pumpkin, according to the research, demonstrates the ability to manage high blood sugar levels after a meal.
This study in Nutrition Research and Practice suggests pumpkin seed oil (PSO) can help men with prostate gland enlargement.
It’s very common for men, as they get older, to develop uncomfortable symptoms from having an enlarged prostate. This includes the inability to have a complete urination.
In addition, having prostate gland enlargement can cause bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems.
The study examines 47 men with prostate gland enlargement. It tracks their health for over one year.
The subjects’ prostate symptom score, quality of life, prostate volume and maximal urinary flow rate were measured.
In addition, so was their serum prostate specific antigen. (The serum prostate specific antigen levels are assessed by a common test called the PSA test.)
The group given PSO show improvements across all measurements.
The researchers conclude, based on the results, pumpkin seed oil is clinically safe to treat prostate gland enlargement.
This study examines the effects of PSO on several key markers of metabolic diseases. The plant estrogens in PSO, the researchers conclude, are effective for lowering total cholesterol.
The therapeutic oil also lowers levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol). Moreover, it reduces the levels of fat in the blood (triglycerides.)
But that’s not all. The study also reveals PSO lowers blood pressure. It also beneficially boosts HDL (“good” cholesterol).
Pumpkin seed oil may also help metabolize fats. Unfortunately, most studies done on PSO are done on rats.
Fat rats that get skinnier after consuming pumpkin, doesn’t necessarily translate into human weight loss.
However, this study also suggests PSO helps improve symptoms of metabolic disease. Specifically, in rats, it negates stress on the endoplasmic reticulum.
Endoplasmic reticulum is in every human cell. It plays several important roles.
For example, it stores calcium. It synthesizes proteins and metabolizes fats.
Thus, if the research in the rats does indeed ring true in humans one day, it might prove PSO can help digest fats.
This research shows pumpkin seed oil lessens the effects of aflatoxin. Aflatoxins are toxic compounds.
They are the result of certain molds found in food. If left untreated, they can cause liver damage and cancer.
Pumpkin oil benefits for skin
Researchers in this study bemoan the fact that despite the advances in modern medicine, there remains a lack of efficient wound healing treatments.
But the researchers did find that pumpkin seed oil contains compounds that causes bleeding to stop and wounds to heal.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look at the effects of PSO on rats with skin wounds.
Again, it’s important to emphasize that just because it works on rats does not mean it will work as well on humans. If at all….
However, considering the fact that there’s lots of anecdotal evidence it works on humans, there’s something to be said for it.
Nonetheless, researchers say that oil from pumpkin seeds (cold-pressed) is an important source of many healthy components. These include vitamin A, vitamin E, sterols (the cholesterol-like substance in plants) and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Because of these compounds, PSO makes “an excellent drug in pharmaceutics and cosmetics.” Moreover, the researchers conclude, this would provide potential protection against skin problems and wounds.
Pumpkin oil benefits for hair
Next Halloween, should you take a jack o’ lantern, smash it, and rub the contents of it on your hair?
Sure, go ahead.
But an easier way to reap the benefits of a fuller head of hair is by rubbing some essential oil into your scalp.
And there is evidence it works.
Consider this Korean study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. It suggests PSO blocks the action of an enzyme that leads to baldness.
The good news is that this study is a human trial. It’s also randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blind (the so-called “gold standard of research”).
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is a common form of hair loss in both men and women. The study analyzes how well pumpkin seed oil fares on 76 men with mild to moderate AGA.
The patients received 400 mg of PSO per day (or placebo) for six months. Scalp hair thickness and total hair in the scalp were measured to determine the effectiveness of PSO.
The group given PSO had more hair after treatment. And, the study shows an increase in hair count.
Perhaps this natural remedy for hair growth works because of a few reasons. As it says above, PSO reduces the activity of an enzyme that causes baldness.
In addition, the nutrients and anti-inflammation properties help clear blood vessels in the scalp.
And best of all, there are no serious side effects from using it.