The Health Value Of The Styrian Pumpkin Seeds

The Styrian pumpkin itself is not used as a food item. It was- if at all - considered suitable for animals only. The vegetable aspect of its fruit was never a contender against other pumpkin varieties that produce more and better fruit pulp than the Styrian pumpkin. However, the seeds of pumpkins have been used for ages as "snack-food" especially in the mediterranian area with the known " side-effect" of easing and preventing bladder and prostate problems. This effect makes the Styrian pumpkin seeds so valuable today, since the amount of this beneficial ingredient is significantly higher than in any other variety.This amount of medicinal substance is so extraordinary that this Styrian variety is today grown for the seed's ingredients alone, hence only the seeds are harvested and the pumpkin pulp is discarded as "fertilizer" and left on the field. The absence of a hard shell around the seeds makes them even more desirable.

Medicinal Properties

The specific components are known to prevent bladder and prostate problems, even to shrink enlarged prostate glands in early stages. Minimal amounts of this drug are needed.  Pharmaceutical capsules contain only miniscule amounts (e.g. 5000 mg = 5g ) of pumpkin seed oil . Chewing a handful of the seeds every other day can easily give a similarly sufficient preventive supply. Also using the oil as salad dressing not only gives the food a pleasent nutty flavour, but contains the wanted ingredients in more than sufficient quantities. But this substance is only present in the cold pressed oil since heating destroys the drug component. Therefore cooking with this oil is not recommended since it removes most of the beneficial property. The process to obtain this oil is complicated and delicate, making the oil a higher priced item, but it is worth its price provided the quality and the purity of the oil is guaranteed.

A special process re-uses the seed paste after the first "virgin" pressing to extract the remnants with another oil by resoaking the pulp in this "extractor oil". Often even heat is applied to obtain higher yields. Such oils are much cheeper since they contain only a fraction of the original oil's properties. They are - or should be - properly labeled as "cuts" or re-pressed fractions (containig Pumpkin Seed Oil) and have their use in culinary ventures for their still distinctive nutty flavour. However there is no medicinal value in these oils .

Health Aspects - Food Value

Another modern re-discovery of healthy food relates to unsaturated fatty acids, also known as essential fatty acids or EFA for short. These benefical acids are present in a very high percentage and make the oil a preferred choice of conscious consumers.Many seeds, especially nuts, are high in valuable vegetable protein - the Styrian pumpkin seeds too. They also contain a very high percentage of Vitamin E. The absence of a wooden shell made them the undisputed favourite for all new and old pumpkin seed fans. Some users praise the natural seeds as "brain" food recommendable for most students with learning problems and in Austria the oil has for its energizing quality been nicknamed "Styrian Diesel". When roasted and salted the Styrian pumpkin seeds rival or even distance many other nutty snacks, but the medicinal properties are severely reduced by the roasting process. However, the remaining properties make it a favourite choice for nut-lovers preferring its taste over others.

 1997 W. & C. Scherer
The Scherer Family Page

At this point a word of caution: Preventive measures are the choice of each person, the medical treatment of an acute illness belongs in the hands of a qualified physician.

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