According to Ayurveda, pumpkin is considered the best vegetable that grows on the vine. The scientific name for pumpkin is Cucurbita pepo. It’s part of the family of plants called Cucurbitaceae, the gourd family.
The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease.1
Pumpkin pacifies Vata and Pitta Dosha. It is also known as Basti shodhak because of its property of cleansing the bladder. It is known to increase sperm count and virility. Recent research shows that pumpkin is highly beneficial for people with diabetes. It can reduce the dose of insulin injection in diabetics.2
Pumpkin seeds are also high in nutrients. Pumpkin seeds are excellent for pacifying Vata and Pitta and in moderation, can pacify Kapha dosha. Pumpkin seeds contain the minerals phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc. They also provide protein and vitamin K.
Healthy Sweet Pumpkin Soup Recipe
2 cups pumpkin, peeled and diced
1 tsp Tamarind paste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt, to taste
2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp ghee
1 tsp black pepper powder
1/2 tsp cumin seed powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Dissolve the tamarind paste into one quart of water. Add the pumpkin, salt, turmeric, cumin, black pepper and brown sugar. Cook until the pumpkin is soft. Add a tablespoon of ghee at the end and then add in the chopped cilantro. Serve hot.
1 Omenn, MD, PhD, Gilbert S., et al. “Effects of a Combination of Beta Carotene and Vitamin A on Lung Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease — NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, Massachusetts Medical Society, www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199605023341802.
2 Reporter, Daily Telegraph. “Pumpkin May Cut Injections for Diabetes.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 9 July 2007, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1556891/Pumpkin-may-cut-injections-for-diabetes.html.