The role of Cucurbita pepo in the management of patients affected by lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia: A narrative review

Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2016 Jul 4;88(2):136-43. doi: 10.4081/aiua.2016.2.136.


Objective: Phytotherapeutic compounds are largely used in the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) due to low side-effect profiles and costs, high level of acceptance by patients and a low rate of dropout. Here, we aimed to analyze all available evidence on the role of Cucurbita pepo in the treatment of LUTS-BPH.

Material and methods: In May 2016 a systematic search was carried out thorough National Library of Medicine Pubmed, Scopus database and the ISI Web of Knowledge official website in order to identify all published studies on Cucurbita pepo and BPH. The following search strings were used: "Cucurbita pepo" OR "pumpkin seed" AND "prostate"; "Cucurbita pepo" AND "antiandrogen" OR "antiproliferative" OR "anti-inflammatory" OR "antioxidant activities"; "cucurbita pepo" OR "pumpkin seed" AND "LUTS" AND "symptoms improvement" OR "quality of life". We consider for the present analysis only studies related to LUTS-BPH.

Results: Among all 670 screened, 16 were related to LUTSBPH and finally analyzed. Among all, ten of them were performed in "in vitro setting" showing anti-inflammatory and antiandrogen effect, and a reduction in prostate growth and detrusor activity, while six were clinical studies. In all studies an improvement in International Prostatic Symptoms Score (IPSS) and uroflowmetry parameters has been reported. In 4 studies, an improvement in quality of life has been reported.

Conclusion: On the basis of our narrative review, the use of Cucurbita pepo in the management of patients affected by LUTS-BPH seems to be useful for improving symptoms and quality of life. However, future clinical trials are requested to confirm these promising results.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists / isolation & purification
  • Androgen Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Cucurbita / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / drug therapy*
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / etiology
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / complications
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / drug therapy*
  • Quality of Life


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Plant Extracts