Published: October 14, 2008
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DEAR DR. GOTT: About 25 years ago, my sister injured both knees in a motorcycle accident. She has had eight surgeries and many draining procedures and shots. In speaking with her yesterday, she mentioned that her knees no longer are bothering her, and the swelling is gone. I was, of course, curious what wonderful thing could have caused this dramatic change. She said she had started eating one-fourth of a cup of raw pumpkin seeds about two weeks before. She had heard that copper was good for reducing inflammation and that pumpkin seeds were full of it. Her husband also is eating the seeds daily for his knee problems and says he feels great again. I was wondering if you had ever heard of this and what your opinion is.

DEAR READER: Eating raw pumpkin seeds for knee pain is new to me, but if it works for your sister and her husband, they should stick with it. Unless you’re allergic, there is no harm in eating a small amount of raw pumpkin seeds daily. The best part is that they easily can be mixed with other foods such as oatmeal, cold cereal and salads.

Copper bracelets have been used by many to reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. It stands to reason that if pumpkin seeds contain copper, they also can be useful as a treatment. There have been no large studies on this effect, however.

Pumpkin-seed oil is purported to relieve symptoms of bladder problems, enlarged prostates, kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome and more. The oil is available in capsule form at many health-food and vitamin stores.

Readers, if any of you have had experience with pumpkin seeds or pumpkin-seed oil, please let me know. I will print a follow up with the results.

To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my health report titled "Understanding Osteoarthritis.