Pomegranate Fruit

Dimitris Papadopoulos MD Fellow Of Interventional Pain Practice (FIPP)

Updated 18 June, 2011

Pomegranate is a fruit having the shape of an apple, red-gold colored outer skin and a thick calyx at the top. It was used as an ornamental element in Solomon’s temple church and the priests’ gowns and is also mentioned in the “Song of Songs” in the Old Testament. In the Greek tradition, pomegranate is a symbol of fertility, eternity and perpetuity (even though connected with death) and that is why breaking pomegranates at weddings and on New Year’s Eve is a custom. In general, pomegranate is considered by many civilizations and religions to be a symbol of fertility and good luck.

The pomegranate therapeutic have been referred to by many distinguished historical figures, such as Homer, Theofrastus, Dioskourides and Plinius.
Pomegranate is rich in vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, iron, potassium and vegetable fibres, while it is low in calories. One pomegranate covers 40% of the vitamin C and 25% of the folic acid that an adult needs daily. It is rich in three different forms of antioxidants (tanins, anthocyanins, ellagic acid) and its overall antioxidative capacity is estimated to be 2-3 times higher than that of the red wine and green tea. As a rich source of folic acid, pomegranates contribute to the healthy growth of infants.

Pomegranate juice has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cough, styptic, healing and anti-diarrhoeal properties. It significantly reduces atherosclerosis and prohibits oxidation of the “bad” cholesterine (LDL), which is a high risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. It also seems to decrease levels of the total and “bad” cholesterine in diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia. By reducing this risk, at the same time reduces also the risk for vascular obstruction, myocardium infarction and stroke.

It protects from brain damage, reduces arterial blood pressure and there is evidence that its long-term consumption helps men with erectile dysfunction problems. In addition, it is believed to protect from skin, breast and prostate cancer, but also to delay the progression of cancer. It is used for the treatment of chronic diarrhea, dysentery, haemorrhage and osteoarthritis. Lastly, it cleans, sterilises and protects the skin, is used to treat burns and the virus of herpes and reduces wrinkles and ulcers. Pomegranate juice mixed with equal amount of olive oil fades age spots and wrinkles. Finally, pomegranate leaves are used as a medicine for sore throat and purulent tonsillitis (gargles).

Caution: Individuals suffering from chronic renal failure should avoid consuming pomegranate, due to its high potassium content.

Source: Data Base of Nutritional Food Analysis, American Ministry of Agriculture, 18th edition (2005)