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Biological Name: Cucurbita popo L.pumpkin

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Other Names:  Squash, Matthanga, Field Pumpkin, Namgwarha, Nan Gua Zi; Nankashi

Elements Applied: Each plant’s part is applied in herbal medicine including its flowers

History: Pumpkin had already been known as a nutritional meal in America before colonists came there. The plant has been raised in Central America for quite a long period of time, and its remains were found in archeological artifacts of the southwestern regions of the US. Pumpkin is known across the globe.

As a plant pumpkin forms a squash-like consistency. Its common name is traced back to ancient Greece, where its name ‘pepon’ meant ‘mature’ or ‘ripened by the sun’.

Pumpkin can be baked and eaten as it is or as part of a pie, or boiled up and given as food.

Pumpkin is commonly met in open fields and waste places.

Pumpkin is indigenous to tropical areas of America. It is widely raised across the globe, including Canada and the Unites States. The plant belongs to annuals and features a prickly stem which may grow up to 30 feet long. Its green, rough and large leaves, which have up to a foot in width, are triangular in form. Yellow flowers, forming funnels, appear in the blossoming period which lasts through whole summer. The flowers then form a large fruit, which has multiple white seeds.

Pumpkins are rather easy to select: they should be large-sized, solid on the outer side, cut-free and clean.

To use as food small pumpkin which weigh at least 7 pounds are the right solution. Local producers are the best choice to buy pumpkins from.

Used For: As common to just any orange vegetable, pumpkin is high in beta carotene, which is transformed to vitamin A in human body. Half a cup of baked or canned pumpkin contains more than 450 percent of the suggested daily dose of vitamin A. According to some researches, pumpkin is capable of preventing various types of cancer. It is also stated to be effective for night blindness, immunity disorders, and colds.

Pumpkin is characterized by high content of vitamin C which promotes healthy tissue growth and recovery, as well as in potassium, which provides sufficient heart functionality. Half a cup of canned pumpkin contains more than 15 percent of vitamin C recommended dosage. Pumpkin is rich in fiber which helps prevent tumor development across body tissues.

Half a cup of canned pumpkin is valued as only 40 calories. The fruit is rich in fiber, being simultaneously poor in fats. Boiled pumpkin absorbs water and becomes low in some of its components. To save its nutritional content baking pumpkin is the most recommended way of cooking it.

According to a study, described in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the intake of yellow in green vegetables greatly lowers the potential risk of cancer, which lessens with each additional vegetable taken a day. The especial benefit is experienced towards the risk of colon, bladder, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary cancer. This research was conducted on over 1200 patients of 66 years and older, and revealed that the more carotene-rich vegetables they ate, the less was their risk to be exposed to cancer.

The seeds are considered to be the most beneficial pumpkin part with regard to its nutritional content, though they are frequently treated as wastes. Their curing and digestive properties are described in any herbal text.

Preparation and Intake: Pumpkin can be stored for more than a month in a dry, cool, and airy storage place, like a cool attic. Baking pumpkins is the best way to cook them and preserve their properties. These vegetables are baked with their cut side to the air, as putting it down will let the nutty taste out. Due to this reason pumpkin is not process in a microwave oven as well.

After cooking pumpkin, turn it down to get drained, as the baked fruit may be full of water. When added to pies, mashed pumpkin is spread over a saucepan and heated on low heat, until it reaches the wanted consistency.

Safety: There are no side effects reported with regard to pumpkin intake.