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What is Pomegranate?


What is Pomegranate or Punica granatam?

By Veena Deo

What is Pomegranate? This article talks about Pomegranate or Punica Granatam, its composition and some of the benefits offered by this well know fruit.

What is Pomegranate? What are the useful parts?

Pomegranate belongs to the family of plants called Punicaceae. In Hindi language it is called Anar. The Parts that have benefits include the leaf, the fruit, the fruit rind, the seeds, the dried bark and finally the stem and the root. Researchers, such as Robert Longtin (2003), have referred to pomegranate as a “Nature’s Power Fruit”.

The root and stem bark are astringent, cooling and antihelmintic i.e., specially effective against stomach related problems. The flowers are styptic to gum and useful in hemorrhages, hemorrhoids, diarrhea and hydrocele ulcers. The Pericarp (rind) of the fruit is anti-diarrhogenic and anti-dysenteric and is used in combination with cloves. Ref: Kirtikar and Basu, 1935, Chopra etal.

What is Pomegranate useful for? What different health conditions can this be used for?

The Fruit itself acts as an astringent, cooling tonic, aphrodisiac, and laxative and as a diuretic. The seeds are astringent, stomachic, diuretic and useful to treat excessive thirst. The paste of the leaves is useful in conjunctivitis and eye disorders. The leaf and the Pericarp also provide anti-microbial activity. The leaf powder along with sandalwood paste, Yogurt and honey is sometimes used to check miscarriages in women. Ref: Biswas and Ghosh 1973. The Pharmacological activities of Pomegranate include its antioxidant, anti-diarrhoel, antifungal, anti-fertility, analgesic, anti-diabetic, anti-helmintic, spasmogenic activities. Ref: Database on Medicinal Plants Used In Ayurveda – Vol II, P.C. Sharma, M.B. Ylne, T.J.Dennis, Central council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, Department of ISM and H, Min of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, Janakpuri, New Delhi.

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Many research papers have been published on Pomegranate in which its antioxidant activity has been highlighted. The antioxidant substance is mainly present in the leaves and the fruit. The active constituents of Pomegranate, which acts as an antioxidant, mainly comprises of the compounds with Phenolic- hydroxyl group and double bonds  including tannins, Flavonoids and unsaturated fatty acids. Significant and positive linear co-relations were found between total anti-oxidant capacities and Phenolic contents, indicating that Phenolic compounds are the dominant anti-oxidant constituents of pomegranate. Ref: Surveswarna etal, 2007.

Punicalagin is a major antioxidant polyphenol in the juice of Pomegranate. Ref: Seeram N. P. Adams L.S. Henning S.M., Niu Y, ZhangY, Nair M.G., Heber D. Fresh Pomegranate juice is used as an ingredient of cooling mixtures for dyspepsia. Punica granatam is most effective against four species of Shiegella and E.coli. Ref: Miranda D etal in-vitro action of selected medicinal plants against micro-organisms, involved in human gastro intestinal infections 1991, J Res Ayur Siddha Sept. Dec.1993; 149-164.

Naqvi, SAH Dept of Microbiology, Faculty of science, Hamdard University, New Delhi, assessed the anti-microbial activity of water soluble fractions of the rind and flowers of pomegranate. The vitro and vivo studies, carried out on a virulent strain of Entamoeba histolytica showed encouraging results. In vivo studies, showed complete inhibition of growth of E. histolytica after treating with rind in the ratio of 10mg / 10g body weight and flowers in the ratio of 25mg / 10g body weight. Ref: Journal of science of IRI, v4 (1), 1-3).

The anti-diarrheal activity of aqueous and alcoholic extracts of the fruit rind of pomegranate was investigated in three experimental models using albino rats. The extracts exhibited significant activity in rats when compared to Loperamide hydrochloride, an anti-diarrheal drug. Ref: Pillai NR, 1992, International Pharmacognosy, v 30(3), 201-204), Indian herbal therapies, C.P.Khare.

In the end to answer a question as to what is Pomegranate and what is this fruit useful for, the simplest answer is its un-believable antioxidant activities that help with many health conditions that people face on a day to day basis. It is a fruit that should be a part of one’s daily diet and if people are not able to get the fruit, Pomegranate supplement products are an alternate choice. Again for most health conditions mentioned above, one should always talk to a Medical Doctor. I hope the above information that I provided above is useful for all people to lead a healthy and holistic life style.

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Dr. Veena Deo is an Ayurvedic Doctor in India. All the information provided and on herbal supplements above and opinions expressed above are her own and should not be construed as medical advice. This information is provided for educational purposes only. For questions or to consult Dr. Veena Deo, please send an email to veenadeo@herbsbenefits.com.

 

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