Cucurbita pepo is a plant which has variants called pumpkin, squash, zucchini, and gourds; it is sometimes called pumpkin extract (either a water extract or seed oil) and appears to be a phytopharmaceutical for prostate disorders.
Our evidence-based analysis features 4 unique references to scientific papers.
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The plant Cucurbita pepo (of the family Cucurbitaceae) is a species of plant with a large amount of variants that are collectively known as pumpkins, squash, zucchini, and gourds.
The flesh, which has a moisture content of 92.93+/-1.01%, contains:
A fatty acid (0.18%), carbohydrate (48.40%), protein (15.50%), and ash (6.64%) content by dry weight
β-carotene (3934.02µg/100g dry weight)
Triterpenoids calotropoleanyl ester and 13(18)-Oleanen-3-ol
The rind, which has a moisture content of 84.18+/-1.42%, contains:
A fatty acid (6.57%), carbohydrate (19.45%), protein (23.95%), and ash (10.65%) content by dry weight
β-carotene (751.99µg/100g dry weight)
The triterpenoids calotropoleanyl ester and 13(18)-Oleanen-3-ol
The seeds, which have a moisture content of 43.29+/-4.38%, contain:
A fatty acid (47.03%), carbohydrate (6.37%), protein (35.95%), and ash (3.55%) content by dry weight
The fatty acid component, called the seed oil, is comprised mainly of oleic acid (43.8%), linoleic acid (33.1%), palmitic acid (13.4%) and stearic acid (7.8%)
β-carotene (78.89µg/100g dry weight)
Caffeic acid trihexoside and two caffeic acid derivatives
Phenolic acids including p-hydroxybenzoic acid, sinapic acid, and vanillic acid
The seed oil contains phenolic acids in the free form only, at 34.3-113mg of gallic acid equivalents per 100g of seed oil.
In general, all parts of cucurbita pepo fruits are considered food products but extracts from the seeds (water extracts of the seed oil) can be used as dietary supplements. The unique bioactives in these extracts seem to be triterpenoid structures, and there are some carotenoids and phenolic acids as well
ProstateEZE Max is a brand name product that contains cucurbita pepo alongside other supplements including epilobium parviflorum, lycopene, pygeum and saw palmetto for the purpose of treating benign prostatic hypertrophy.
It is thought that pumpkin exerts hypoglycemic activities
In isolated MCF-7 cells, extracts from pumpkin fruits appear to hold cytotoxic potential with IC50 values in the range of 0.4-1.01µg (with the rind being most potent).
In isolated HepG2 cells, extracts from pumpkin have cytotoxic potential with IC50 values in the range of 0.60-5.03µg.
- Badr SE, et al. Chemical composition and biological activity of ripe pumpkin fruits (Cucurbita pepo L.) cultivated in Egyptian habitats . Nat Prod Res. (2011)
- Nawirska-Olszańska A, et al. Characteristics of antioxidant activity and composition of pumpkin seed oils in 12 cultivars . Food Chem. (2013)
- Coulson S, et al. A phase II randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the efficacy and safety of ProstateEZE Max: a herbal medicine preparation for the management of symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy . Complement Ther Med. (2013)
- Jia W, Gao W, Tang L. Antidiabetic herbal drugs officially approved in China . Phytother Res. (2003)
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"Cucurbita pepo," Examine.com, published on 26 July 2013, last updated on 14 June 2018, https://examine.com/supplements/cucurbita-pepo/