Herb: Squash

Latin name: Cucurbita moschata

Family: Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber Family, Gourd Family)

Medicinal use of Squash:

The seed is vermifuge. It is eaten fresh or roasted for the relief of abdominal cramps and distension due to intestinal worms. About 800 peeled seeds is said to make a safe and effective treatment for tape worm. They are ground into a fine flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten. It is then necessary to take a purge in order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the body. The boiled root is galactogogue.

Description of the plant:

Annual Climber

60 cm
(2 feet)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Squash:

Fruit - cooked. Some cultivars have a delicious flavour when baked, rather like a sweet potato. The flesh can be dried and ground into a powder then used in making breads etc. Some varieties can be stored for up to 9 months. Seed - raw or cooked. Rich in oil with a pleasant nutty flavour but very fiddly to use because the seed is small and covered with a fibrous coat. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Leaves and young stems - cooked and used as a potherb or added to soups, stews etc. Flowers - cooked.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow early to mid spring in a greenhouse in a rich soil. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Sow 2 or 3 seeds per pot and thin out to the best plant. Grow them on fast and plant out after the last expected frosts, giving them cloche or frame protection for at least their first few weeks if you are trying them outdoors.

Cultivation of Squash:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Cucurbita moschata:

The sprouting seed produces a toxic substance in its embryo.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.