Multiple social media posts claim that cucurbitin in pumpkin seeds can kill worms and parasites. We fact-checked and found the claim to be Half True.
“Pumpkin seeds contain a substance called cucurbitin that treats worms and other parasites by paralysing them so they can be expelled from your body” reads a social media post. The post can be found here.
What is Cucurbitin?
Cucurbitin is an intermediate or end product of metabolism produced by the Cucurbitaceae family. Cucurbitin gives a bitter taste and prevents a plant from being eaten by animals. Pumpkin seeds produce cucurbitin as they belong to the Cucurbitaceae family.
Can cucurbitin kill worms and parasites in the body?
No. There is no scientific evidence that suggests an intermediate or end product of metabolism from the Cucurbitaceae family can kill worms and parasites in the body.
Can pumpkin seeds kill worms and parasites in the body?
Pumpkin seeds can kill parasitic worms to treat gastrointestinal nematode infections in human beings. Pumpkin seeds (i.e., Cucurbita moschata or Cucurbita maxima) have been reported to possess anthelmintic properties when used in humans and livestock. But Such studies are still few in number, and reports of the efficacy of pumpkin seed extract against nematodes still leave many aspects to be resolved. However, studies have shown that the pumpkin seeds are also beneficial in combination with another compound such as with areca nut extract.
What are other benefits of pumpkin seeds?
Regular consumption of pumpkin seeds can cure many diseases. The Healthy Indian Project (THIP) has shown that pumpkin seeds are a great source of potassium that helps in preventing depression. The study can be found here.
Dr S Krishna Prasanthi, MBBS, MD (PGIMER) says, “Pumpkin is a great source of iron and can cure anaemia. However, curing anaemia based on diet is not always recommended. If the person is pregnant or is suffering from severe anaemia, diet alone cannot help. Medication is important.”
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