Many of us consider pumpkins only when we’re decorating our homes in October and prepping our Thanksgiving meals, but pumpkin has plenty of other uses. And pumpkin seed oil carries many of those health benefits! Keep reading to learn more about the many uses of pumpkin seed oil and why you may want to incorporate it into your skincare and hair care routine.
What is pumpkin seed oil?
The oil is typically dark green or amber and has a nutty scent. It’s usually cold-pressed from the hulled seeds of pumpkins. It’s chock full of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids like:
- Linoleic acid (omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids);
- Vitamin C
- Tocopherols (vitamin E)
- Carotenoids (also known as antioxidants);
You can use pumpkin seed oil for preparing food or even apply it topically for skin and hair benefits. It’s also available as a nutritional supplement.
The Benefits of Pumpkin Seed Oil
It may improve mental health.
published in the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that eating pumpkin seeds is an effective treatment for children with depression. Another study in the same journal also suggested that pumpkin seeds were used effectively to treat adults with depression. This is possible because they are high in tryptophan — an amino acid precursor to serotonin, the hormone that can regulate mood. Fatty acid deficiency is also associated with conditions like depression, so upping your intake with pumpkin seed oil could also help!
Pumpkin seed oil benefits hair growth.
A study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal in 2014 claims that PSO blocks the action of 5-alpha-reductase, one of the main causes of male or female pattern baldness. In this study, 76 male patients took a pumpkin seed oil supplement or a placebo for a varying degree of hair loss. Those who received the pumpkin seed oil showed growth increases by up to 40%. Another study claims that the oil’s phytosterols can promote hair growth.
The oil is also equally beneficial for the skin (especially anti-aging)!
Pumpkin seed oil is rich in zinc, vitamin E, omega 3- and omega 6- fatty acids, as well as antioxidants, so it’s a skincare superstar. It helps the skin retain moisture, fight free radicals, and maintain a youthful glow! And as we all know, high amounts of zinc and vitamin E help with skin renewal, hormonal acne, and improved skin tone. The high mineral and vitamin content also offers anti-aging benefits.
This oil has positive effects on heart health.
Pumpkin seed oil can improve heart health by both lowering cholesterol and reducing high blood pressure, two risk factors for heart disease. This may occur because cooking with pumpkin seed oil is a healthier alternative to cooking with saturated and trans fats.
Pumpkin seed oil may improve urinary system health.
In general, pumpkin seed oil seems to have a positive effect on the urinary tract. This tract is made up of the kidneys, the bladder, and the urethra, which connects the bladder to the urinary opening. One small study gave participants between 500 and 1,000 milligrams of the oil. The participants saw a drastic improvement in their overactive bladder symptoms!
This oil also has positive effects on menopause!
Good news — this magical oil can also relieve some symptoms of menopause. One study reported a decrease in hot flashes, headaches, and joint pain. The women taking the supplement also experienced increased HDL levels (the “good” cholesterol).
How To Use Pumpkin Seed Oil For Hair
There are multiple ways to take advantage of this magical hair oil! Whether you take a supplement, apply it directly to your scalp, or ingest it, your hair will thank you.
PSO supplements are typically in the form of gel capsules. Just make sure to follow label directions. A common dose is a 1000 mg capsule. Just keep in mind that the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, so quality and dosage may vary. You should always make sure to source your supplements from reputable companies. Consult with your physician before taking them, and if you experience food allergy symptoms or an upset stomach, stop taking them!
If supplements aren’t your thing, you can also take straight PSO, one teaspoon or tablespoon up to three times a day. There are also PSOs that are for cooking. Just remember that it has a low smoke point, so it’s not meant to be used as a cooking oil in high heat situations. It’s better used in a salad dressing.
Apply oil directly to hair
Perhaps the easiest way to reap the hair-healthy benefits of PSO is to apply it directly to your scalp. If you have a sensitive scalp, use a spot treatment first. It’s best done as hot oil treatment, preferably only once each week or every other week.
Pumpkin seed oil is packed with beneficial components of overall health, including skin, hair, heart health, and more! But with any new supplement or treatment, it’s always best to consult with your physician before introducing it into your diet!
Related Article: It seems like every time we turn around, there’s another hair oil in the spotlight. And as we age, our hair can probably use all of the hydrating miracle oils it can get! (Mustard seed oil, anyone?) So when this Ayurvedic hair oil popped up on our radar, we had to share the good news ASAP! Read more about bhringraj oil, how it benefits hair, possible side effects, and why you may want to try it for other health-related reasons.
This article is for informational purposes only. Chat with your doctor before incorporating anything new into your routine and/or diet.Read Next:A Natural Remedy for Inflammation: Essential OilCastor Oil Beauty Benefits