Pumpkin seed oil is just simply the oil taken from pumpkin seeds. It is a very popular ingredient in recipes of Eastern Europe. The traditional way of making pumpkin seed oil is still practised in the countries of Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, Hungary and in the Styria region of Austria. There it is made from roasted seeds of the local pumpkin variety. This oil is very thick in density and highly colored. Pumpkin seed oil is healthy for the body because it contains many health boosting nutrients, especially the essential fatty acids and some vitamins and minerals in low amounts. This oil is well tolerated when applied topically or when ingested.
Pumpkin seed oil today is made from seeds of many varieties of Pumpkin. But, traditionally it is made from the seeds of Cucurbita pepo var ‘styriaca’. This is grown in Styria. This oil is also called “green gold” because of the rich green color it produces when mixed with yogurt.
Pumpkin seed oil can be obtained through solvent extraction, supercritical CO2 or through the regular cold press method. Although cold pressed method yields less oil from seeds, but this is the only health oil. Other ones contains harmful chemicals which one should avoid.
Cold pressed pumpkin seed oil is thick, turbid and may need to be filtered to reduce its turbidity.
Pumpkin Seed Oil Color and the Effect of Dichromatism
Let us take a litle detour here for some “chemical effects”. There is a very interesting observation about pumpkin seed oil. It is the phenomenon of dichromatism. This oil shows two strikingly different colors in the same sample, and this is something which everyone can view.
- Dark green color – In thinner layers, pumpkin seed oil looks dark, bright green.
- Deep red color – In thicker layers, the oil looks clear red.
The overall color of pumpkin seed oil is a mix of these two colors, which makes the oil look dark green, almost blackish. Pumpkin seed oil shows the highest amount of dichromatism of any natural substance known.
Let us analyse the therapeutic properties of pumpkin seed oil.
- Anti-hypertensive – has the ability to lower blood pressure.
- Cardio – protective – can protect the cardiovascular system from disease.
- Antioxidant – contains many free radical scavenging nutrients.
- Diuretic – the oil shows strong diuretic effects.
- Galactagogue – increases mother’s milk production
- Anti-parasitic – aids the body in killing and expelling intestinal worms.
- Anti-rheumatic – reduces inflammation because of powerful essential fatty acids.
- Anti-insomnia – this oil may help one fall asleep faster. Not yet evaluated, but possibly because of tryptophan in the seed oil.
- Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation all over the body.
- Antioxidant – shows powerful activity against free radicals.
- Prostate tonic – Pumpkin seed oil is one of the most powerful prostate tonic for men. It boosts the health of the prostate and protects it from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
- Emollient – moisturizes the skin.
- Anti-oedema– works against fluid build up in the body.
Pumpkin seed oil’s greatest medicinal application is in the condition of BPH. However, it can also prove to be helpful in bladder cystitis and urinary disorders.
Uses and Health Benefits
Pumpkin seed oil has some potent health benefits because of its therapeutic properties.
1. Pumpkin seed oil for skin
The oil has a nice nutty flavor. It can be applied topically directly on the skin. Take a few drops of this oil ( go for refined oil as it is thinner ) and apply it on the skin. Let it absorb in the skin. This moisturizes the skin and makes it look hydrated. Pumpkin seed oil provides the skin with Vitamin E, antioxidants and essential fatty acids ( fats ) along with carotenoids which are required for healthy skin. This oil therefore boosts skin health and promotes better functioning.
2. Pumpkin seed oil for hair loss
Instead of applying this thick and dense oil on scalp, better take it as health supplement in diet. Taking pumpkin seed oil may help with hair loss for men. It has not been proved. Pumpkin seed oil has some effect on testosterone and androgen, both of which play an important role in hair loss. It may have a DHT ( Dihydrotestosterone ) inhibiting activity which is helpful in hair loss. Try including 1 teaspoon of pumpkin seed oil in diet and look at the results.
3. Get rid of intestinal parasites
One can try this oil to get rid of parasites thriving in the intestine, like ascaris. Take 1 teaspoon of pumpkin seed oil in salads and other recipes without heating the oil. The oil works when it contains cucurbitin ( a bitter compound found in seeds ). Pumpkin seeds definitely have this effect and it is more pronounced than that in oil.
4. Antioxidant capacity
Taking pumpkin seed oil in diet provides us with many antioxidants which come from the seed. Along with this, it also affects the levels of other prominent antioxidant in the body. This creates a synergistic effect, where nutrients from one food boost power of antioxidants from another food, or those produced by the body naturally. 
5. Pumpkin seed oil for arthritis
Adding 1 teaspoon of pumpkin seed oil in diet can have a pominent effect on arthritic pain in the joints. The natural oil works similar to many NSAIDs ( non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ) for relieving pain caused by arthritis. This effect is attributed to the antioxidants which prevent free radical damage in the body and also reduce inflammation. 
6. Cardiovascular health boost
Pumpkin seed oil has been found to positively affect the plasma lipid profile, which may imply better cardiovascular health. The oil has LDL cholesterol lowering effect  by improving the proportion of HDL cholesterol in the total cholesterol profile. HDL cholesterol is actually good for the body when it is within the safe limits and is used for many very important activities and chemical reactions inside the body. This oil also has a triglyceride lowering effect which is deemed as good for the cardiovascular health. 
Pumpkin seed oil exerts a protective effect on the heart and the aorta ( largest artery in the body ). It is speculated that the oil leads to the production of NO ( nitric oxide ) which leads to arterial dilation, reduction in blood pressure and a relaxed flow of blood. 
One should however that pumpkin seed oil is after all an oil, and it is rich in fats. So one should take it in moderation.
7. Effects on the urinary system
Pumpkin seed oil is a kind of kidney and urinary tonic. It reduces pressure on the bladder, promotes release of excess stored water in body through increased urine output. It may also prevent formation of kidney stones and reduce burning sensation while urination which occurs either occasionally or because of a condition.
This effect can be observed when taking pumpkin seed oil internally, or through massage over the lower abdomen.
Pumpkin seed oil can also reduce the events of bed wetting in kids.
8. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
BPH is a condition in which there is enlargement of the prostate, not caused by a cancer. So, it is benign. This enlargement of an organ leads to elevation of inflammation markers in the blood. For the person, BPH causes urinary urgency, hesitation and a confused state related to urination. This may also make the urinary system weak in front of an infection. Irregular urination disturbs sleep, which affects health when this continues for a long time.
Pumpkin seed oil leads to improvement in the health and size of the prostate and relief from the symptoms of BPH. 
Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues
Pumpkin seed oil is not known to lead to contraindications or cause interactions with medicines. It can be safely applied to the skin directly undiluted. It is also safe to be taken via mouth. However, it should not be used as cooking oil because heat destroys the good nutrition that it provides. This renders the oil virtually useless, and more still harmful because of the effects of hydrogenated fat molecules that form with heat.
One should make sure that the pumpkin seed oil is cold pressed. Other kinds of pumpkin seed oils are harmful, and may even contain carcinogenic compounds and toxic impurities.
Nutritional and Medicinal Information
Pumpkin seed oil is a powerhouse of nutrition. The oil is not 100 % fat which is very rare among oils. This oil is especially rich in proteins ( amino acids ). The fat concentration in pumpkin seed oil is only about 30 – 50 %. Local oils sold in Greece and Eastern Europe are high in protein and carbohydrates, which goes to show that unfiltered, cold pressed oils are the richest and most varied in terms of nutrition. When an oil is filtered, it may lose much of its dietary fiber and some nutrients, but this makes it much more suitable for topical application.
Of the total fats, this is the chemical composition of the fatty acids in it.
|Gamma Linoleic Acid||traces %||PUFA|
|Stearic Acid||5.1 – 8.5 %||Saturated fat|
|Palmitic Acid||12.6 – 18.4 %||Saturated fat|
|Oleic Acid||17 – 35 %||MUFA|
|Linoleic Acid||18.1 – 62.8 %||PUFA|
|Alpha Linolenic Acid||0.34 – 0.82 %||PUFA|
|Arachidic Acid||0.26 – 1.12 %||Saturated fat|
|Gadoleic Acid||0 – 0.17 %||PUFA|
|Behenic||0.12 – 0.58 %||PUFA|
|Palmitoleic Acid||0.12 – 0.52 %||MUFA|
Source : 
Saturated fat content in pumpkin seed oil as compared to MUFA ( monounsaturated fatty acids ) and PUFA ( polyunsaturated fatty acids ). Dominant fatty acid is Linoleic Acid, which is an Omega – 6 fatty acids. Pumpkin seed oil contains many vitamins and minerals, but the amount of these in the oil varies with the type of oil.
Complete nutritional value of pumpkin seed oil ( per 100 gm )
|Carbohydrates||0 – 30 %||–|
|Proteins||0 – 38 %||–|
|Fats||upto 100 %||–|
|Vitamin A ( beta carotene )||6 μg||–|
|Pantothenic Acid (B5)||–||–|
|Folic Acid (B9)||–||–|
Pumpkin seed oil contains many kinds of carotenoids, like beta-carotene and lutein. Beta carotene is a form of Vitamin A. Carotenoids are good for the skin and are also anti-cancer. They are responsible for the deep yellow to reddish color. Pumpkin seed oil contains Vitamin E, that too in both of its forms, that is tocopherols and tocotrienols. Besides these nutrients, there are many more chemical properties that are of significance. Pumpkin seed oil contains the highest amount of beta carotene out of all seed oils, as noted by this study. 
Chemical properties of Pumpkin Seed Oil
|Density||0.918 g/ml||great for massage oil|
|Storage temperature||–||No specific requirements|
|Comedogenicity||–||Rated from 0 to 5|
|Acid Value||1.5||Measure of acidity|
|Saponification Value||191.1||Measure of unsaturated fats|
|Peroxide Value||1.2||Measure of rancidity|
Source : 
Pumpkin seed oil is a pretty healthy oil and one can gain lots of its health benefits by taking it in delicious recipes like as salad dressing.
1. Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Heeok Hong,Chun-Soo Kim and Sungho Maeng. NCBI.
2. Effect of pumpkin-seed oil on the level of free radical scavengers induced during adjuvant-arthritis in rats. Fahim AT, Abd-el Fattah AA, Agha AM, Gad MZ.
3. Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Gossell-Williams M, Hyde C, Hunter T, Simms-Stewart D, Fletcher H, McGrowder D, Walters CA.
4. Supplementation with pumpkin seed oil improves plasma lipid profile and cardiovascular outcomes of female non-ovariectomized and ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats. Gossell-Williams M, Lyttle K, Clarke T, Gardner M, Simon O.
5. Antihypertensive and cardioprotective effects of pumpkin seed oil. El-Mosallamy AE, Sleem AA, Abdel-Salam OM, Shaffie N, Kenawy SA.
6. Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil. Gossell-Williams M, Davis A, O’Connor N.
7. Pumpkin seed oil and phytosterol-F can block testosterone/prazosin-induced prostate growth in rats. Tsai YS, Tong YC, Cheng JT, Lee CH, Yang FS, Lee HY.
8. Pumpkin seed oil – Wikipedia
9. Value adding factors in cold pressed edible seed oils and flours. University of Maryland.
10. Pumpkin seed oil – Mountain Rose Herbs.