Don’t eat bitter pumpkin, study warns after women lose hair

Cucurbits can contain cucurbitacin, a toxic compound

May 26, 2018 08:49 pm | Updated 08:49 pm IST - Paris

A man working at pumpkin farm in the U.S.

A man working at pumpkin farm in the U.S.

A doctor warned on Friday that bitter-tasting pumpkins and squashes can contain potent toxins, after two women were poisoned by their dinners and lost most of their hair.

French dermatologist Philippe Assouly described the two cases in a journal, highlighting a previously unknown “toxic association of alopecia (hair loss) with a common plant”. The plant family in question are cucurbits and include squashes, gourds, and pumpkins.

In the first case, a woman in France suffered nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, which started soon after she ate a bitter-tasting pumpkin soup. The symptoms lasted for about a day. Then a week later, she started losing hair from her scalp and pubis.

“The meal had been shared with her family, who had eaten less of the soup than she had, and they experienced symptoms of food poisoning but no hair loss,” Mr. Assouly wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology .

A second woman experienced food poisoning with vomiting after a meal that included squash. Other diners had skipped the squash because it tasted bitter. “About three weeks later, the patient experienced substantial hair loss on her head as well as severe alopecia on the armpits and pubic region,” the doctor said. Cucurbits can contain cucurbitacin, a toxic compound that gives off a bitter taste.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.