What Are the Dangers of Pumpkin Seed Oil?

Pumpkin seed oil is a folkloric remedy for conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal parasites and high cholesterol. The oil is also used as a carrier for massage and aromatherapy. According to the Ask Dr. Sears website, pumpkin seed oil is one of the most healthful oils because its contains 90 percent unsaturated fats as well as several fatty acids. Nonetheless, the oil has several dangers that warrant medical advice before incorporating it for specific conditions.

Pumpkin seeds spilling onto a table. (Image: Nicodape/iStock/Getty Images)

Hypotensive Effect

The antioxidant properties of pumpkin seed oil may have a hypotensive, or blood pressure lowering, effect, altering the effects of hypertension medications, according to the journal Pharmacological Research. Researchers found that pumpkin seed oil enhanced the effects of anti-hypertension medications felodipine and captopril. Individuals on hypertension medications interested in using pumpkin seed oil should discuss risks and potential complications with their health-care provider.

Prostate Effect

Pumpkin seed oil has not been proven as singularly improving benign prostatic hyperplasia, otherwise known as BPH, according to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Although research has shown a combined treatment of saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil to be effective in treating BPH, the specific contributions of pumpkin seed oil are unknown, the hospital says. As a result, individuals should reconsider pumpkin seed oil as a stand-alone or sufficient treatment for BPH.

Quality Concerns

Pumpkin seed oil can spoil if not stored properly in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. The oil typically has a shelf life between six months to a year, according to Moksha Natural Products. However, heating destroys the nutritional properties of the oil, according to the Tried Tasted Served website. Moreover, due to the expense of harvesting pumpkin seeds and producing the oil, manufacturers commonly add cheaper sunflower or rapeseed oil to the products, according to researchers in the journal European Food Research and Technology. Adulterated pumpkin seed oils may have varying therapeutic effects or unintended side effects.

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