Pumpkins are everywhere at this time of the year. Pumpkins are a symbol of Halloween, according to tradition, the scary face of the jack-o-lantern was used to frighten away evil spirits and protect the house from ghosts.
Pumpkins are native to North and Central America but have since been cultivated around the world, with their peak season in the fall. Pumpkins can also be considered a healthy food as pumpkin seeds have been used in herbal medicine for years. In fact, Native Americans also commonly used pumpkin seeds to treat a variety of kidney problems, and the flowers were used topically to soothe minor injuries.
Pumpkin seeds provide the body with a healthy dose of magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, iron, copper, and zinc, not to mention protein and vitamin K. In addition, pumpkin seed supplements are commonly use to treat a variety of conditions.
Pumpkin oil is a nutritional oil rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) and has high phytosterol content. Scientific studies show that the phytosterols present in pumpkin seed oil provide support for a healthy prostate. Pumpkin seed oil has been used in combination with saw palmetto to effectively reduce symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Studies have shown that pumpkin seed extract can improve the function of the bladder and urethra, which might partially account for BPH symptom relief.
Furthermore, pumpkin seeds have been used to support other conditions including helping remedy depression due to its L-tryptophan content. Eating pumpkin seeds as a snack can help prevent the most common type of kidney stone and pumpkin seeds appear to both reduce levels of substances that promote stone formation in the urine and increase levels of substances that inhibit stone formation.
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