Melon pumpkin seeds (Pepo, U.S.P.) are the product of cultivated plants of Cucurbita maxima, Duch. (Cucurbita Pepo, Linn.), (N.O. Cucurbitaceae), a native of the Levant. Melon pumpkin seeds are official in the Mediterranean Colonies. The seeds are ovate in shape, and flat, measuring about 8 to 20 millimetres in length, 9 to 12 millimetres in breadth, and about 4 millimetres in thickness, and have a flat ridge and shallow groove round the edge. The testa is white, brittle, and finely pitted. The kernel consists of two white, oily cotyledons, with a short radicle. When fresh the seeds have a faint odour, and a slight taste. For medicinal purposes the testa and tegmen are removed, and the seeds should not be used if more than a month old.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of the seeds and the one to which the activity of the drug has been ascribed is an acrid resin. The seeds also yield about 30 per cent. of a reddish fixed oil, together with proteins, sugar, and starch.
Action and Uses.—Melon pumpkin seeds are employed as a taenicide. Their use should be preceded by the administration of a saline purge. The patient fasts and takes a mixture of about 85 grammes (3 ounces) of coarsely crushed seeds mixed with a pint of water suitably flavoured, in three or four doses, extending over six to eight hours. After an interval of a few hours a purgative dose of castor oil is given. Recent experiments failed to indicate that either the oil or resin had any definite action as vermifuges; no substance of physiological activity could be isolated either from the kernels or shells of the seeds.
Dose.—85 to 112 grammes (3 to 4 ounces).
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.