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

Bitter-tasting pumpkins and squashes can contain potent toxins, doctors say. (Shutterstock)
Updated 28 May 2018

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

PARIS: A doctor warned 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 unusual cases in a scientific 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 diarrhea, 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,” Assouly wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology.
A second woman experienced food poisoning with severe 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.
The bitterness is bred out of domesticated cucurbits. But sometimes insects moving from one field to another cross-pollinate a cultivated plant with a wild or ornamental one.
“Bitterness in a squash should serve as a warning,” Assouly told AFP. “One should not force a child to finish it.”
Three years ago, a German died of cucurbitacin poisoning after eating a courgette stew, the doctor said.
These are the first known cases of hair loss due to cucurbit poisoning.


Megan thee Stallion and Cardi B wear Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran in new video

Updated 09 August 2020

Megan thee Stallion and Cardi B wear Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran in new video

DUBAI: This weekend, US rappers Megan thee Stallion and Cardi B dropped the highly-anticipated music video for their joint single “WAP.” In addition to superstar cameos from the likes of Kylie Jenner, Rosalia and Normani, the music video was rife with statement-making style moments. Think: Neon wigs, custom Mugler bodysuits and leopard-print galore.

Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran also created two coordinating looks, one for Megan and one for Cardi, for the new video. 

The matching outfits included a corseted bodice with a semi-detached train in yellow and salmon colorways.

The video comes just days after the horrific explosion that ripped through Beirut’s port area, killing over 150 people and injuring thousands. The mushroom-shaped blast also left Beirut’s fashion designers reeling amidst the devastation, with damaged or destroyed shops and studios compounding the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jebran took to his Instagram after the video’s release on Aug. 7 to post a picture of his sketch, nestled between rubble and debris following the horrific explosion that destroyed much of his Beirut atelier, showcasing his design process and the reality of the tragic incident. 

“Today, we were supposed to be excited! To celebrate a project in which we defied Covid19 to achieve!” he wrote. “However, our country is mourning and our faces can’t even smile! Among the wreckage, the broken glass and shattered offices lie the glowing colors of hope,” he added, concluding “For better tomorrows, we pray, we hope, we aspire.”

Jebran’s celebrity-studded client list includes some of the world's biggest fashion icons in Hollywood, Bollywood and Arab cinema, from Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez to Priyanka Chopra and Maya Diab.