Pumpkin seeds of the genus Cucurbita have enjoyed a long history in folk medicine for use as teniafuges, or agents with the ability to rid the body of intestinal parisites such as roundworms and tapeworms. Derived from such species as autumn squash, crookneck squash, and the Canada pumpkin, cucurbita seeds can be consumed plain, or be administered in the form of an infusion or tea.
Usually taken in three separate doses ranging in size from 20 to 150 grams of seeds, the treatment is believed to paralize the worms, causing them to loosen their grasp and then allowing for them to be an effectively expelled from the body.
Researchers have isolated an amino acid called cucurbitin that is found only in pumpkin seeds and is thought to be responsible for the worm-expelling effects. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of two unsaturated fatty acids oleic and linoleic acid which may account for claims that pumpkin seeds can releive symptoms of enlarge prostate.
There are no known side effects or reports of toxicity regarding pumpkin seeds.