Herb Snips

from Susan's Collection of Herbal Lore

Pumpkins: Not Just for Pie!

Did you know that this all-round autumn favorite is also an herb?

  • In central America and the southern United States, the seeds of this native American plant were used to treat intestinal parasites, to cool fevers, and for kidney and bladder ailments. The flesh was often made into a cooling poultice. (Current research does not support these uses, although the pumpkin is high in vitamin A.)

  • The pumpkin's use in folk magic comes from the Irish, who carved faces on hollowed-out turnips lit with a candle and placed them on the doorstep to frighten away ghosts on All Hallows Eve. When the Irish emigrated to America, they found that the plump pumpkin was a delightful substitute.

  • The kids will enjoy roasting pumpkin seeds for a snack. In a colander, wash the seeds you've taken out of your pumpkin and spread on paper toweling to dry. Mix 2 cups seeds with 1 tablespoon brown sugar, one-half teaspoon onion powder, one-half teaspoon garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick oil and spread out the seeds. Bake in a 300-degree oven for about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes. If you like, mix with sunflower seeds, pretzel pieces, raisins, and peanuts.

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin-Eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well.