Pumpkin (Cucubita pepo) seeds and pumpkin seed oil both offer some interesting health benefits. The seeds can reduce levels of DHT in the prostate: DHT is the testosterone metabolite that has a role in BPH. As far back as 1991, the promise of pumpkin seed oil was being realized. In a Hungarian study, researchers treated 60 patients with BPH with a supplement that contained 300 mg of pumpkin seed oil extract. (Hamvas 1991) A total of 26 patients took the supplement for 10 months, 22 took it for at least seven months, and 12 continued for at least four months. Each daily dose was three capsules, twice daily for the first month, then three capsules once daily for the remainder of the study. More than 80 percent of the men experienced an improvement in bladder function, and they also reported a stronger urinary flow. The men noted a reduction in nighttime trips to the bathroom as well as an improvement in painful and difficult urinary discharge.
In two other studies, pumpkin was combined with saw palmetto and given to men who had BPH. The treated patients experienced significant improvements in symptoms such as difficulty emptying the bladder, frequent urination, and urination at night when compared with placebo. (Carbin 1999; Grups 1995) In a subsequent study in men who had BPH, pumpkin seed oil alone was tested in a multicenter trial that included 2,245 patients who were treated for 12 weeks. Use of pumpkin seed oil was associated with a 41.4 percent decrease in urinary symptoms and an improvement of 46.1 percent in quality of life. (Friederich 2000) In yet another study, this one in rats, pumpkin seed oil inhibited testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate, which led the researchers to conclude that it may help in the management of BPH. (Gossell-Williams 2006)
Consult a knowledgeable healthcare provider to determine the best dose of pumpkin seed oil for your needs. The supplement does not appear to cause any side effects and does not interact with other medications.
Carbin BE, Larsson O, Lindahl O. Treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia with phytosterols. Br J Urol 66(6):639-41. Described in PDR for Herbal Medicines, 3rd edition, Montvale, NJ: Thomson PDR., 2004, p. 664.
Friederich M, Theurer C, Schiebel-Schlosser G. Prosta Fink Forte capsules in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Multicentric surveillance study in 2245 patients. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2000 Aug; 7(4): 200-4.
Gossell-Williams M, Davis A, O’Connor N. Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of Sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil. J Med Food 2006 Summer; 9(2): 284-86.
Grups JW, Schievel-Schlosser G. Therapy of benign prostatic hyperplasia. 1995;Therapiewoche 8:495-498. Described in PDR for Herbal Medicines, 3rd edition, Montvale, NJ: Thomson PDR., 2004, p. 664.
Hamvas A, Corradi G, Hegedus M, Frang D. Experience with the Peponen capsule in the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Pumpkin seed oil and prostate study. Intl Urol Nephrol 1991; 23(1): 51-55.