Pumpkin leaves also known scientifically as Cucurbita moschata Duchesne is a common vegetable staple in many homes.
Any time the vegetable is sold in these parts, typically you will find pounded ground nuts being sold too. This is because pounded groundnuts are to pumpkin leaves what peanut butter is to jam in a peanut butter and jam sandwich ( PB&J).
Typically pumpkin leaves are found at open air markets and also in the vegetable section of many supermarkets at the mall. If you are privileged to own some yard space you can plant and can harvest them from your own garden.
Besides being easy to source pumpkin leaves are generous to the pantry. Generous, meaning that almost every part of the pumpkin plant, including fruit, seeds, leaves, and stems, are edible. And they store well. In the freezer, or sliced and clean pumpkin leaves can be sun dried until crispy, then stored for up to one year.
The health benefits are
Pumpkin leaves are loaded with nutrients. Carbohydrate, protein, calcium, zinc, manganese, phosphorous, iron and vitamins (A B and C). Meaning pumpkin leaves play an essential role in strengthening the body’s immune system. A strong immune system means the body can fight infections.
Pumpkin leaves are rich in soluble fiber that ease bowel movement. And we all know a smooth bowel movement ensures a healthy intestine, preventing unwanted tumors growing in the colon.
Also, having fibrous leaves makes them a healthy and beneficial addition to one’s diet. Good for anyone watching their weight or wanting to control their cholesterol pumpkin leaves being so nutrient loaded mean have low calories (if eating the leaf minus the groundnuts ).
Pumpkin leaves in the diet provide nutrients that encourage healthy skin and hair, help in healing wounds and as the leaves contain a high amount of calcium, help with growing healthy bones and teeth in children. In adults, bediseds maintaining healthy bones, skin, and teeth calcium helps to prevent osteoporosis and maintain strong bones as yoo age.
The iron in pumpkin leaves aids the muscles in storing and using oxygen, and also helps in carrying oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Women and children, especially, need to maintain healthy levels of iron, and pumpkin leaves can help provide it naturally.
Pumpkin leaves are also believed to help with lactation in breast feeding mothers and help manage and reduce the headaches, mood swings, irritability, and depression.
Some people will not hesitate to give the warm liquid that forms when cooking the leaves in water to a sick family member that is having eating problems. A quick way to feed them a load of nutrients.