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In ancient times, the pomegranate was considered the food of the gods. One thesis says that Eva picked a pomegranate in the garden of Eden. Symbolically, this would have something for itself, because the bright red fruit was assigned by the Greeks to the goddess of love Aphrodite. It should promote pleasure and contains a lot of medicinal substances.
Profile of the pomegranate
- Scientific name: Punica granatum
- Common names: Grenadine, pomegranate, real grenade
- application areas:
- Hormonal fluctuations in women
- high blood pressure
- increased blood fat
- Digestive problems
- Prostate ailments
- Prevention of viral infections
- Skin inflammation
- Inflammation of the joints
- Parts of plants used: Fruit, flowers, seeds, tree bark, root bark
Ingredients - vitamins, minerals and phytohormones
The fruit of Punica granatum contains phytohormones, vitamins and minerals, as well as quercetin and polyphenols. Phytohormones include betulin, beta-sitosterol, estrone and estradiol. The pomegranate contains potassium, iron and calcium as minerals. There are also flavonoids and anthocyanins. Ellag tannins and phenolic acids are ellagic acid and gallic acid.
A study published in 2019 detected a newly discovered pyrrolizidine alkaloid that occurs in the fruit skin. It was given the name Punicagrin. The scientists involved demonstrated that this works against inflammation.
The bark contains approximately 20 percent tannins and 0.4 percent alkaloids, including isopelletierin, N-methylisopelletierin and pseudopelletierin, as well as terpenoids such as ß-sitosterol, friedelin and betulinic acid. The fruit peel contains up to 28 percent tannic acid, plus resin and mucilage.
The substances in the pomegranate relieve pain, cool, protect cells and promote blood circulation. They balance hormone fluctuations, inhibit inflammation, have an antiviral, antiseptic and astringent effect. The consumption of the fruit, tea made from dried fruit kernels and peel and pomegranate juice are suitable due to the high content of vitamin C to prevent viral infections - especially colds.
Against heart disease and arteriosclerosis
The antioxidants and polyphenols in the fruit prevent heart diseases such as arteriosclerosis by promoting blood circulation and preventing the vessels from calcifying. Pomegranate preparations, teas, bowls, but ideally the whole fruit significantly lower blood pressure.
Pomegranate in cancer treatment
According to a study, pomegranate contains bioactive components and phytochemicals that show positive effects in cancer therapies. This primarily affects the anti-inflammatory, anti-invasive and anti-metastatic effects. In addition, the substances contained in the fruit regulate genes that are responsible for the growth of tumors.
The fruit is a valuable part of an adapted diet for cancer patients and is also suitable for preventing cancer. It is also an effective chemotherapy drug with no toxic side effects.
Pomegranate against chickenpox
A study showed that a liquid extract from the leaves of Punica granatum works against the human herpes virus 3, which causes chickenpox in children and can continue to live in the body until it leads to herpes zoster in adults after decades.
Aphrodisiac - The fruit of pleasure
In the myth, pomegranate was considered the fruit of the love and sex goddess Aphrodite. In Persia, it served as an aphrodisiac to increase fertility and male potency. Associations with the bright red fruits may have played a role here - with the beating heart as well as with plump testicles or breasts.
The numerous seeds covered with pulp in the pericarp presumably also awakened additional mental connections to embryos in the uterus. However, the substance oestrone contained in the fruit actually increases libido.
Applications and recipes
There are different uses for the individual parts of the fruit such as rind or kernels. In the following chapters you will find a few examples of the use of Punica granatum including recipes.
In West Asia, a tea made from fresh bark used to fight tapeworms and roundworms. Root bark was considered more effective compared to the bark of the aerial parts. The bark is still used as an astringent in Iran. To do this, soak a cloth in liquid extract (cooled tea) and place it on an external wound so that the edges of the wound contract.
Risks and side effects
Scientists today warn against using bark as a home remedy. Possible side effects range from increased blood pressure and visual disturbances to vomiting and circulatory collapse.
The fruit (peel, meat and seeds)
Pomegranate tastes excellent, and the easiest way to heal it is to eat the pulp-covered kernels. Interactions of the active ingredients contained therein with medicinal products are not known.
Vitamin C - pomegranate juice
Fresh fruit seeds and freshly squeezed juice promote digestion and alleviate discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract. Most people tolerate the fruit very well - despite the high tannic acid content. In Iran and Turkey, pomegranate juice is used to clean the stomach and prevent colds. The first is due to the tannic acid, the second due to the high content of vitamin C.
Freshly squeezed, the juice contains most of the active ingredients and tastes best. But you can also buy it expensive in drugstores, pharmacies and supermarkets. Fermented juice is said to prevent cancer.
Pomegranate oil and products containing it can be purchased in pharmacies and drug stores in Germany. In Iran, Arabia and Turkey, such oil can be found in every well-stocked bazaar. The oil is mainly used for skin care.
You can also make this oil yourself. To do this, crush the cleaned kernels in a blender, place them in a glass, add vegetable oil and seal them. Place the glass in the sun for two weeks. They use the oil for skin care. The astringent effect tightens the skin and closes oversized pores.
Tannic acid for indigestion
A tea can be made from the fruit skin, the buds of the flower and the inner skin that encloses the seeds. The fruit parts are dried in the sun, boiled with hot water and left to steep for about ten minutes.
Because of its high vitamin C content, this tea is a good means of preventing colds - similar to rosehip tea. In Iran, it also serves to speed up digestion, which can be scientifically confirmed by the tannic acids it contains.
Origin of the superfood
Since ancient times, pomegranate has not only belonged to the culture of the Orient, but also to that of the European Mediterranean. His original home was probably in India, Pakistan and Central Asia - from there he came to Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria and today's Turkey. There it has long been an everyday part of culture: pomegranate, fig and date belong to every fruit plate in Iran.
It is commercially grown today in the Middle East, Spain and Italy, the southern United States, India, China and Latin America. In this country, production is not economically worthwhile because the plant only thrives in cooler climates in greenhouses - the apple of paradise does not tolerate low temperatures. Harvest is from September to December.
How do we eat the pomegranate?
It is as easy as drinking coffee for Iranians and Turks; Central Europeans have to learn it first: The kernels are firmly attached to the rest of the fruit and you have to "open" the chambers in which they are located by pressing to get to the sweet meat that envelops them. You also eat the kernels.
The white skin that surrounds the chambers of the kernels and is also on the inside of the shell tastes bitter - and beginners often spoil the taste because they do not separate the bitter skin from the kernels. Also be careful with the juice: it stains strongly and is difficult to remove from clothing.
You roll a ripe pomegranate with the palm of your hand and little pressure on a smooth surface to detach the seeds from the fruit skin. The pressure must not be too strong, otherwise they will burst. You then cut off the stalk and cut the fruit in a star shape. At the end, bend open the top half and take out the cores.
Store the fruit in a cool, dry place. Then they last for several weeks. In the heat, however, the shell bursts - and the kernels fly through the area like "grenades". (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Sun, Hao yin et al .: Punicagranine, a new pyrrolizine alkaloid with anti-inflammatory activity from the peels of Punica granatum, in: Tetrahedon Letters, Volume 60, Issue 18, Pages S.1231-1233, May 2019, sciencedirect
- Amrita Devi, Khwairakpam Devi et al .: Possible use of Punica granatum (pomegranate) in cancer therapy, in Pharmacological Research. Volume 133, Pages 53-64, July 2018, sciencedirect
- Agamuthu, Divyadarshini et al: Antiviral study on Punica granatum L., Momordica charantia L., Andrographis panicula Nees, and Melia azedarach L., to Human Herpes Virus-3, in: European Journal of Integrative Medicine, Volume 28, Pages 98- 108, June 2019, sciencedirect
- El-Liethy, M. Azab et al .: Assessment of the antimicrobial activity of the lipoidal and pigment extracts of Punica granatum L. Leaves, in: Acta Ecologica Sinica. Volume 39, Issue 1, Pages 89-94, Feb 2019, sciencedirect