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Pumpkin (Kaddu): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more


Pumpkin, harvested in the fall, is used to scare evil spirits. Carved pumpkin, known as jack-o’-lantern, is used to decorate spooky Halloween parties. It is often used to make thanksgiving pies and seasonal lattes.  

The scientific name of the pumpkin is Cucurbita moschata, belonging to the family Cucurbitaceae. Pumpkin is cultivated globally at high altitudes and sea levels from Northern Mexico to Argentina and Chile. It has spread to Europe (France and Portugal), Asia (India and China) and Western America. A pumpkin is a trailing plant or an annual vine. The unripe fruit is often cooked as a vegetable, whereas ripe fruit is used in various beverages and confectionery. Pumpkin fruit contains constituents like β-carotene, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.1 Let us look at some of the potential pumpkin benefits. 

Nutritional Value of Pumpkin: 

Pumpkin flowers are also edible and healthy. They are loaded with vitamin A which promotes healthy eyes, Vitamin B6 which boosts fertility, vitamin C which gives protection against flu, and phosphorus which helps in bone formation.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

The nutritional components of pumpkin are: 

Nutritional Component Amount 
 Energy 26 kcal 
 Protein  1 g 
 Water  91.6 g 
 Fibre  0.5 g 
 Sugar  2.76 g 
Fats  0.1 g 
 Carbohydrate  6.5 g 
 Magnesium 12 mg 
 Phosphorus  44 mg 
 Calcium  21 mg 
Iron  0.8 mg 
Potassium  340 mg 
 Vitamin C 9 mg 

Table 1: Nutritional Value of Pumpkin (raw fruit)2 

Properties of Pumpkin: 

Various studies have shown that pumpkin may possess the following properties: 

  • It may act as an anti-oxidant 
  • It may help lower sugar level 
  • It may protect against cancer 
  • It may fight against various microbes like viruses, fungi and bacteria1 
  • It may increase the blood pressure 
  • It may protect the liver 
  • It may reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis 
  • It may protect against ulcers3 

Also Read: Strawberry: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

Pumpkin seeds too have a high nutritional quotient. Two tablespoons of shelled and roasted pumpkin seeds provide 163 calories and four grams of carbohydrates, eight grams of protein and eight per cent of your daily iron needs.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Potential Use of Pumpkin for Overall Health: 

Some of the potential health benefits of pumpkin are given below. 

1. Potential uses of pumpkin for diabetes 

All the parts namely, seeds, flesh, and peel of indigenous as well as hybrid pumpkins are nutrient-dense, providing many essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fibres, fats, sodium, potassium, iron, vitamin C, calcium, copper, phosphorus, isoleucine, serine, and tyrosine.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

Pumpkin may be used for management of diabetes. Reports of studies done on rabbits suggest that pumpkins may have properties to keep excess sugar levels in check. The phenolic compounds present in pumpkin may be responsible for the anti-diabetic activity. However, these studies were conducted on animals; therefore, more studies are required on humans to claim these findings. You must check your sugar levels regularly and seek medical advice in case of high sugar levels.1 

2. Potential uses of pumpkin for lowering blood pressure 

Hypotension occurs due to low blood pressure in the arteries. Studies on rats showed that pumpkin seed oil might relieve hypotension. It may protect against heart attacks due to its high magnesium content. Further studies are required to confirm the effects of pumpkin against hypotension. However, you must check your blood pressure regularly and consult your doctor in case of abnormal blood pressure.3 

3. Potential uses of pumpkin to protect the liver 

Researchers have found promising effects of pumpkin seed oil in the prevention of ailments like prostrate diseases, cancers, diabetes, and even anxiety disorders.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, MD

Pumpkins may protect the liver against fatty liver progression. Bioactive compounds in pumpkin, like phenolic compounds and β-carotene, may be responsible for liver protection. Unsaturated fatty acids may lower blood cholesterol levels and increase cholesterol breakdown in the liver. More studies are needed to claim the role of pumpkins to protect the liver. You must consult your doctor in case of abnormal cholesterol levels.3 

4. Potential uses of pumpkin for cancer 

Pumpkins may be used to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. This is due to the antioxidant activity of polyphenolic compounds present in pumpkins. Pumpkin extract may inhibit the growth of tumour cells and reduce the risk of gastric, breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancer. A study suggested that proteins in pumpkin may inhibit the growth of skin cancer cells. Additionally, polysaccharides (a type of complex carbohydrates) present in pumpkins may show their anti-cancer activity by removing harmful toxins from the body. Further studies are required on the human body to confirm the anti-cancer action of pumpkins. Cancer is a serious disease; therefore, you must consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.3 

5. Potential uses of pumpkin as an anti-microbial 

Pumpkins may possess anti-microbial properties because of their protein content. The oil-soluble components of pumpkins may fight against disease-causing microbes like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. However, more research is required to confirm the anti-microbial activity of pumpkins.3 

6. Potential uses of pumpkin for ulcer 

Animal Studies on pumpkin seed oil have revealed its positive effects on hair growth. Researchers believe it could be probably due to phytochemicals and vitamin E present in the pumpkin seed oil.

Dr. Ashok Pal, BAMS

Pumpkins (Kaddu) may be used for ulcers. Studies conducted on albino rats suggested pumpkins may increase the activity of an enzyme, alkaline phosphatase and the mucosal thickness (inner stomach lining) to protect against duodenal ulcers. They are also known to decrease the ulcers as measured by Ulcer index (a scale used to measure the severity of ulcers). However, further studies are needed on humans to check the anti-ulcer activity of pumpkins. You must consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment of ulcers instead of self-medicating.3 

7. Potential uses of pumpkin for arthritis 

Pumpkins may be to help manage arthritis. Certain bioactive compounds in pumpkins may help in the case of arthritis due to their anti-inflammatory activity. A study conducted on rats suggested that pumpkin seed oil may act against rheumatoid arthritis due to their antioxidant activity. However, more studies are required to confirm the effect of pumpkins on arthritis; therefore, you must not self-medicate and consult your doctor if you experience severe joint pain.3 

8. Potential uses of pumpkin for depression 

Pumpkins may be used to manage depression. This is due to the presence of L-tryptophan, which raises the levels of happy hormones, serotonin. More research is required to confirm the activity of pumpkins for depression. However, if you are suffering from any symptoms of depression, you must visit a psychiatrist.1 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of pumpkins in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of pumpkins on human health. 

Also Read: Pumpkin Leaves: Unfolding the Forgotten Nutritional Benefits

How to Use Pumpkins? 

Pumpkins may be included in the diet in the following ways: 

  • Pumpkins can be roasted and eaten as a side dish 
  • Pumpkins can be used as an ingredient in several soups and sauces 
  • Pumpkins can also be used in pies, pancakes, muffins and bread 
  • Pumpkins can be used in lattes and smoothies 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor. 

Side Effects of Pumpkins: 

Pumpkin, a natural product, has no specific side effects. However, if any reaction is noticed on using it, seek immediate medical attention. Consult your ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you; they will be able to identify the cause and treat it effectively. 

Also Read: Tomato Juice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

Precautions to take with the consumption of pumpkins: 

General precautions should be taken while having pumpkins as in any other general medicine. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should take special care. You must consult your doctor before having pumpkins. Precaution should be taken before giving it to the elderly or children. In such cases, you must have pumpkin only if your doctor prescribes it. 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There is not enough evidence on the interaction of pumpkins with other drugs. Further studies on the interaction of pumpkins are required. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you are on any other medication before consuming pumpkins. 

Also Read: Spinach Juice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What are the uses of pumpkin (Kaddu)? 

Pumpkins may be used in case of diabetes, hypotension, cancer, ulcers, depression and arthritis. It may protect the liver. It may also fight against bacteria, viruses and fungi. However, the effect of pumpkins for these diseases needs to be confirmed by more research. You must consult your doctor instead of self-medicating if you suspect any diseases.1,3   

2) What are the nutrients in pumpkin? 

The nutrients present in pumpkins are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar and vitamin C. It also contains minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and many more.2 

3) What are the precautions while consuming pumpkin? 

Pregnant women and lactating mothers should take special care while eating pumpkin. You must consult your doctor before having pumpkins. Precaution should be taken before giving it to the elderly or children. Apart from this, all general precautions that are taken with other foods should be taken. 

4) Is pumpkin good for health? 

Yes, several studies have shown that pumpkin might be good for our health due to its antioxidant, anti-cancer, antimicrobial and many such properties.1,3 

5) Is there any role of pumpkin for weight loss? 

Yes, pumpkin may help for weight management due to its low-calorie count and high nutritional value.4 


1. Yadav M, Jain S, Tomar R, Prasad GB, Yadav H. Medicinal and biological potential of pumpkin: an updated review. Nutrition research reviews. 2010 Dec;23(2):184-90. Available from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/nutrition-research-reviews/article/medicinal-and-biological-potential-of-pumpkin-an-updated-review/614835C9F2CABAAAFD5E7925A72E7F9F 

2. Food Data Central Pumpkin, raw [Internet]. U.S. Department of Agriculture. [cited 2022 Sep 7]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168448/nutrients 

3. Kaur S, Panghal A, Garg MK, Mann S, Khatkar SK, Sharma P, Chhikara N. Functional and nutraceutical properties of pumpkin–a review. Nutrition & Food Science. 2019 Aug 28. Available from: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/NFS-05-2019-0143/full/html 

4. Rahman MM, Juahir H, Islam MH, Khandaker MM, Ariff TM, Nik WM. Prophetic vegetable Pumpkin, Its impressive health benefits and total analysis. Bioscience Research. 2019;16(4):3987-99. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338539932_Prophetic_vegetable_Pumpkin_Its_impressive_health_benefits_and_total_analysis 

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