Chemical Composition.—Pumpkin seeds are composed of 25 per cent of husks and 75 per cent of kernels, and contain upward of 33 per cent of a reddish fixed oil, which, according to Kopylow (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1877, p. 23), consists of the glycerides of palmitic, myristic, and oleic acids. These also occur partly in the free state. No alkaloid was found in the seeds, nor the glucosid, cucurbitin, of Dorner and Wolkowitsch (1870). According to Dr. L. Wolff (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1882, p. 382), the active (taenifuge) principle is a greenish-brown, acrid, bitter resin (Heckel, 1875) not contained in the petroleum-benzin extract of the seeds, but in the extract obtained with ether. It is also soluble in alcohol and chloroform. Its dose, as a taenifuge, is 15 grains, in pill form. The fatty oil is soluble in absolute, but not in 95 per cent alcohol (W. E. Miller, ibid., 1891, p. 385). Air-dried pumpkin seeds contain about 3.7 per cent of ash. The juice of pumpkin pulp contains 1.6 per cent of dextrose and 0.9 per cent of cane sugar (Mr. Both, in Dragendorff's Heilpflanzen, 1899, p. 650). The coloring matter of the pumpkin is due to carotin (Jahresb. der Pharm., 1896, p. 84).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Mucilaginous, taenicide, and diuretic, and of service in strangury and urinary affections, also in gastritis, enteritis, and febrile diseases. The infusion may be drank freely. The expressed oil of the pumpkin seeds, in doses of 6 to 12 drops, several times a day, is said to be a most certain and efficient diuretic, giving quick relief in scalding of urine, spasmodic affections of the urinary passages, and has cured gonorrhoea. Half a fluid ounce of oil of pumpkin seeds, taken upon a fasting stomach, repeated in 2 hours, and in another 2 hours followed by a dose of castor oil containing 1/2 fluid ounce of the pumpkin-seed oil, has been effectual in removing tapeworm. The following mixture has been found efficient in the removal of tapeworm: Take of the ethereal oil of pumpkin seeds, 1 fluid ounce; ethereal extract of male fern, 1 fluid drachm; sugar, 2 drachms; water, 4 fluid ounces; rub the oil with the sugar, then the extract, and finally add, gradually, the water. One-fourth of this is a dose, to be repeated every hour. An infusion of the seeds has also been found effectual in removing tapeworm. The method now chiefly pursued is to have the patient fast for a day and take a saline cathartic to wash the intestinal mucus, etc., from the worm. Then, the patient being kept in bed to prevent emesis, administer to him 3 doses of 1/3 of a pint each, every 2 hours, of an emulsion prepared from the fresh seeds beaten with pulverized sugar and diluted with milk or water. After a few hours, a purgative, like castor oil, may be administered to aid in the expulsion of the worm. This is also effectual in removing the roundworm. It was formerly believed that the taenifuge properties resided in the external covering of the seeds, but later investigations do not confirm this view.
Specific Indications and Uses.—Tapeworm; roundworm; ardor urinae