As soon as we mention about pumpkins the first thing to come to our mind is the ritual of breaking them on the roads to ward off evil. It is also very uncommon for the people to use them as one of the food items. But pumpkins are really precious, especially the seeds have many medicinal properties. Not aware of their values, we tend to scoop out the seeds completely before preparing food items out of pumpkin.
The major cultivators of pumpkins are North America, Central America and South America. There are more than 40 varieties of pumpkin globally. Available in red, yellow and green colors they are grown all over the world except Antartica.
In India, pumpkin seeds are mostly used in preparation of medicines. But they are used aplenty in foods, among America, Europe and African countries. But we are not used to have pumpkins in our food.
‘It is better to remember that it’s not only pumpkins but even their seeds too are not to be thrown off. They have wonderful medicinal properties. Thus says Dr. Ramesh, a Siddha practitioner. He enlists the health and nutritive benefits of pumpkins as given below.
The seeds contain more fibres, proteins, iron and vitamin E. They also have many essential micronutrients such as phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc. We can get 600 calories from consuming 100 grams of pumpkin seeds.
It protects heart by lowering blood pressure and body weight through the rich presence of manganese in the seeds. By consuming a cup of pumpkin seeds will provide a day’s essential need of manganese. Manganese helps reduce blood pressure and protects from sudden cardiac arrest, a kind of heart attack and also from strokes.
Immunity to diseases
The zinc content in the seeds helps increase immunity against many diseases. In an ounce of seeds there is 2 mg of zinc present. It also facilitates cell growth. Lack of zinc will lead to vulnerability to cold and fever, fatigue, anxiety, acne and low weight during birth. Therefore pumpkin seeds are best remedy for those who suffer from lack of zinc.
Prevents from diabetes
There is rich content of plant based omega-3 fatty acid in the seeds of pumpkin. This acid facilitates secretion of insulin and thereby preventing us from diabetes.
There are beneficial cholesterol present in the seeds. Its fiber content and presence of anti-oxidants improves liver function. If the seeds are consumed along with Aali seeds, the benefits will be more.
Facilitates deep sleep
The presence of Tryptophan, a kind of amino acid, in the seeds induces the hormone, serotonin that facilitates sleep. Therefore it is better to have the seeds consumed before bedtime so as to get deep sleep.
Heals internal injuries
The anti-inflammatory properties of the seeds can heal the internal injuries.
The seeds can be dried, powdered and consumed a teaspoonful along with milk will gradually strengthen the body.
Cures menstrual problems
The seeds can be fried with ghee and if consumed for a period of time will cure menstrual pains and white discharges.
The seeds have the capacity to induce the male hormones and enhance masculinity. The seed powder can be consumed with milk so as to reduce body heat and also to increase sperm count.
Five or ten grams of seeds can be fried and mixed with country sugar to make a water extract out of it. It can be consumed during night. Then consume half a spoon of castor oil in the next morning followed by a cup of warm water. This will clear out all types of intestinal worms including flatworms and tapeworms. The anti-oxidants present in the seeds will detoxify the body. It cures renal diseases and also helps in proper functioning of various hormones in the body.
(This article originally written in Tamil by G Lakshmanan has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)