The Pumpkin …has everything to please men
Even though it is cooked as a vegetable, pumpkin is a fruit kwown under different forms, colors and textures. There are about 750 varieties. With its generous shape, its orange color, tough and fibrous texture, and five angular ribs. It is the star of October for Halloween decorations.
Historically, it was first called « citrole » in 1256 then « pumpkin » in 1549. It was described by early explorers as a « huge melon » and will be listed as soon as 1550 in botanical books. This name comes from the Italian « citruolo » which itself was inspired by the Latin word « citrus » by analogy with lemon. Actually, it comes from South America where it is much appreciated. Introduced in Europe between the fifteenth and seventeenth century under the name Potiron- Cucurbita. Cultivated for thousands of years, it belongs to the same family as squash, zucchini, and cucumbers.
It is in Mexico that the first traces were found, dating from approximately 8,000 years ago. In Egypt, containers made from hollowed-out pumpkins are found in tombs. Its flower is considered sacred to many Indian tribes who also dedicate a complete cult to it.
Beyond its decorative side; it has therapeutic values, the most known is for the treatment of prostate cancer. Indeed, it is in the prostate that is the highest concentration of zinc. And man loses a large amount of zinc during ejaculation. This important trace element therefore needs to be replaced. The zinc-rich pumpkin, vitamin A and phosphorus is effective in protecting prostate disorders. It is very useful to relieve the symptoms of irritable bladder or overactive bladder (micturition disorders). It would seem that it was firstly consumed in the form of oil in Austria, before being used as cream and balm. Austria is known for its production of oil pumpkin whose farmland containing pumpkins are five times bigger than the vineyards of the country. Pumpkin is also rich in carotenoids, very good for the eyes. Finally, in some countries it is known as preventive certain cancers. Its seeds contain a high amount of phytosterols which seems to be very effective for cardiovascular treatments. In Asia, pumpkin extract taken in powder form or juice is used to help lowering blood sugar in diabetics. Some results of analysis and research carried out in countries where the consumption of pumpkin is high, however, are contradictory and therefore deserve further study. Anyway, pumpkin and its seeds are rich in vitamins and have very interesting nutritional values. Get your pumpkins!
By Aissatou KOUROUMA.