The pomegranate is a round fruit about the size of a large orange. It has a smooth, reddish-pink rind that holds hundreds of seeds in a juicy, red pulp. Pomegranate juice is extracted from the seeds of the fruit.
The pomegranate flowers are used to make red dye. The juice is used for the production of grenadine. Because of its high tannin content the rind can be used to tan leather.
Pomegranate juice is high in vitamin C and potassium, and a good source of fiber that is low in calories. It is mainly used as a health drink.
According to the American Dietetic Association, 3.5 oz of 100% Pomegranate juice equals one fruit serving for diabetics.
Phytochemicals - Pomegranate bark contains Punicotannic Acid, Gallic Acid , Mannite, Pelletierine and N-Methylisopelletierine. Pomegrante juice contains Ellagitannins, Pelargonidin, Punicalin, Punicalagin, Anthocyanins, Cyanidin, Ellagic Acid.
Most of the phytochemicals are found in the rind of the fruit. The roots and bark are also used.
Pomegranate juice is high in three different types of polyphenols, a potent form of antioxidant. The three types - tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid - are present in many fruits, but Pomegranate juice contains particularly high amounts of all three. As antioxidants, they are credited with helping in the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
Carefully read juice labels and look for products containing 100 percent Pomegranate juice, and not a combination of juices. Contents are listed in order of the largest amounts by weight on the ingredient panel.
Drinking Pomegranate juice is generally safe, the juice can affect how certain medications, including ACE inhibitors and other blood pressure medications, work in your body. It may affect how your body metabolizes a variety of other drugs.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if Pomegranate juice will interact with any medications you're taking. Also because the juice contains high levels of potassium, people who must avoid potassium should not drink Pomegranate juice.
The pomegranate has been traditionally used as medicine in many countries.
Several research publications show that pomegranate is active and helps to maintain good health. There are scientific publications showing that pomegranate and pomegranate components are significant for:
According to a new study, antioxidants contained in Pomegranate juice may help reduce the formation of fatty deposits on artery walls. Antioxidants are compounds that limit cell damage.
In several human clinical trials, the juice of the pomegranate has been found effective in reducing several heart risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation, all of which are steps in atherosclerosis and heart disease. Pomegranate has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure.
Pomegranate juice is a mild astringent, used to treat diarrhea, and reduces some fevers.
The root bark is used to treat intestinal parasites, mainly tapeworm. The alkaloids narcotise the tapeworms so they lose their grip to the intestinal wall and are expelled. These alkaloids are also very toxic and should not be used for self-medication.
Pomegranate contains many phytochemicals with antioxidant action, Pomegranate bark contains Punicotannic Acid, Gallic Acid , Mannite, Pelletierine and N-Methylisopelletierine. Pomegrante juice contains Ellagitannins, Pelargonidin, Punicalin, Punicalagin, Anthocyanins, Cyanidin, Ellagic Acid. Ellagic acid has anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic and antifibrosis activity.
Studies have shown that ellagic acid can suppress UV-induced skin pigmentation when applied topically or when administered orally. Mineka Yoshimura and colleagues have shown in their study "Inhibitory Effect of an Ellagic Acid-Rich Pomegranate Extract on Tyrosinase Activity and UV-induced Pigmentation" (Bioscience, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, 2005) that pomegranate extract has skin-whitening property. This effect was probably caused by the inhibition of proliferation of melanocytes and melanin synthesis.
Inhibition of inflammation
Pomegranate inhibits nuclear transcription factor kappa B (Nf-kappaB) - a key player in induction of inflammatory responses.
Prevention of chemically-induced cancer development (breast, prostate) in various experimental models
Pomegranates inhibit proliferation of breast and prostate cancer cells in vitro.
Pomegranates inhibit metastasis of cancer cells in vitro.
Pomegranates were found helpful during chemotherapy of prostate cancer in humans.
Pomegranate shows anti-angiogenic activity in vitro. These observations indicate rather broad mechanisms of action on cancer cells. From one angle, pomegranate inhibits multiplication of cancer cells in vitro, from another one, cancer cells can not grow in 3D and this result strongly suggests an anti-metastasis effect. In addition, pomegranate inhibits development of microvessels induced by cancer cells and this feature is a key one in the process of tumor mass growth.
The study, sponsored by a pomegranate juice company and presented at a urology meeting, involved 48 men. By drinking 8 ounces of pomegranate juice a day, their PSA doubling time increased to 37 months, compared with 15 months before they began drinking the juice.
"The quicker the doubling time, the faster the spread of the cancer," said co-author Allan Pantuck, an assistant professor of urology at UCLA.
Reducing anti-oxidative stress
Pomegranate inhibits oxidation of LDL, reduces hypertension and reduces common carotid intimamedia thickness in humans. It makes pomegranate well-suited for the prevention and reduction of cardiovascular disease conditions. Other studies report similar results which conclude that pomegranate is potent in the prevention of LDL oxidation and reducing hypertension.
Reducing bacterial, fungal and viral infections
Pomegranate significantly reduces the clinical sign of periodontitis. Other studies show that the growth of Staphylococcus aureus is inhibited by pomegranate.
Pomegranate inhibits candidosis associated with denture stomatitis (a common oral mucosal lesion in the United States and Western Europe).
Pomegranate inhibits entry of the HIV virus into human cells. Substances that are found in the pomegranate binds the virus entity which prevents the virus from invading human cells. This makes pomegranate a powerful ingredient for the development of gel-like products for the prevention of sexually transmitted HIV infection.
Showing neuroprotective activity
Pomegranate prevents and reduces symptoms of hypoxic-ischemic brain damage.
It could be concluded, based on present scientific knowledge, that a variety of the health benefits of pomegranate are due to its combined anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative potency.
Most of the health conditions mentioned above depend on proper oxidative balance within the body and reduced inflammation status as well.
Several oxidized molecules in the body may trigger inflammatory response, for example oxidized LDL. The role of inflammation and antioxidants is well defined in the process of cancer development and progression.
Reduction of bacterial and HIV infections is unlikely related to the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory potency of pomegranate. It is rather related to another class of compounds capable of binding bacteria or HIV virus, preventing from further spread and propagation within the host body.
Effect of Pomegranate on Cancers
1. Support ellagic acid therapy in patients with hormone refractory prostate cancer (HRPC) on standard chemotherapy using vinorelbine and estramustine phosphate. Falsaperla M, Morgia G, Tartarone A, Ardito R, Romano G. Eur Urol 2005 Apr; 47(4):449-55.
2. Anthocyanin - and hydrolyzable tannin-rich pomegranate fruit extract modulates MAPK and NF-kappaB pathways and inhibits skin tumorigenesis in CD-1 mice. F Afaq, M Saleem, CG Krueger, JD Reed, and H Mukhtar. Int J Cancer 2005; 113(3): 423-33.
3. Breast cancer chemo preventive properties of pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit extracts in a mouse mammary organ culture. Mehta R, Lansky EP. Eur J Cancer Prev 2004 Aug;13(4):345-8.
4. Possible synergistic prostate cancer suppression by anatomically discrete pomegranate fractions. Lansky EP, Jiang W, Mo H, Bravo L, Froom P, Yu W, Harris NM, Neeman I, Campbell MJ. Invest New Drugs 2005 Jan; 23(1):11-20.
5. Pomegranate extracts potently suppress proliferation, xenograft growth, and invasion of human prostate cancer cells. Albrecht M, Jiang W, Kumi-Diaka J, Lansky EP, Gommersall LM, Patel A, Mansel RE, Neeman I, Geldof AA, Campbell MJ. J Med Food 2004 Fall; 7(3):274-83.
6. Chemo preventive and adjuvant therapeutic potential of pomegranate (Punica granatum) for human breast cancer. Kim ND, Mehta R, Yu W, Neeman I, Livney T, Amichay A, Poirier D, Nicholls P, Kirby A, Jiang W, Mansel R, Ramachandran C, Rabi T, Kaplan B, Lansky E. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2002 Feb; 71(3):203-17.
7. Pomegranate seed oil rich in conjugated linolenic acid suppresses chemically induced colon carcinogenesis in rats. H Kohno, R Suzuki, Y Yasui, M Hosokawa, K Miyashita, and T Tanaka. Cancer Sci 2004; 95(6): 481-6.
Effect of Pomegranate on Inflammation
1. A novel mechanism for the inhibition of NF-kappaB activation in vascular endothelial cells by natural antioxidants. Schubert SY, Neeman I, Resnick N. FASEB J 2002 Dec; 16(14):19313.
2. Anthocyanin and hydrolyzable tannin-rich pomegranate fruit extract modulates MAPK and NF-kappaB pathways and inhibits skin tumorigenesis in CD-1 mice. F Afaq, M Saleem, CG Krueger, JD Reed, and H Mukhtar. Int J Cancer 2005; 113(3): 423-33.
Effect of Pomegranate on Neuroprotection
1. Maternal dietary supplementation with pomegranate juice is neuroprotective in an animal model of neonatal hypoxicischemic brain injury. Loren DJ, Seeram NP, Schulman RN, Holtzman DM. Pediatr Res 2005 Mar 17.
Effect of Pomegranate on LDL Oxidation, Hypertension and Cardiosclerosis
1. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, Nitecki S, Hoffman A, Dornfeld L, Volkova N, Presser D, Attias J, Liker H, Hayek T. Clin Nutr 2004 Jun; 23(3):423-33.
2. Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Aviram M, Dornfeld L. Atherosclerosis 2001 Sep; 158(1):195-8.
3. Pomegranate juice supplementation to atherosclerotic mice reduces macrophage lipid peroxidation, cellular cholesterol accumulation and development of atherosclerosis. Kaplan M, Hayek T, Raz A, Coleman R, Dornfeld L, Vaya J, Aviram M. J Nutr 2001 Aug; 131(8):2082-9.
4. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Rosenblat M, Volkova N, Kaplan M, Coleman R, Hayek T, Presser D, Fuhrman B. Am J Clin Nutr 2000 May; 71(5):1062-76.
5. Pomegranate juice flavonoids inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation and cardiovascular diseases: studies in atherosclerotic mice and in humans. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Kaplan M, Coleman R, Gaitini D, Nitecki S, Hofman A, Rosenblat M, Volkova N, Presser D, Attias J, Hayek T, Fuhrman B. Drugs Exp Clin Res 2002; 28 (2-3):49-62.
6. Antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing. Gil MI, Tomas Barberan FA, Hess-Pierce B, Holcroft DM, Kader AA. J Agric Food Chem 2000 Oct; 48(10):4581-9.
7. Antioxidant activity of selected foodstuffs. Kelawala NS, Ananthanarayan L. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2004 Sep; 55(6):511-6.
Effect of Pomegranate on Microbial Growth
1. Pomegranate extract inhibits Staphylococcus aureus growth and subsequent enterotoxin production. Braga LC, Shupp JW, Cummings C, Jett M, Takahashi JA, Carmo LS, Chartone-Souza E, Nascimento AM. J Ethnopharmacol 2005 Jan 4; 96(1-2):335-9.
2. Punica granatum (Pomegranate) juice provides an HIV-1 entry inhibitor and candidate topical microbicide. Neurath AR, Strick N, Li YY, Debnath AK. BMC Infect Dis 2004 Oct 14; 4(1):41.
3. Antiviral activities of medicinal herbs traditionally used in southern mainland China. Li Y, Ooi LS, Wang H, But PP, Ooi VE. Phytother Res 2004 Sep; 18(9):718-22.
4. Use of Punica granatum as an antifungal agent against candidosis associated with denture stomatitis. Vasconcelos LC, Sampaio MC, Sampaio FC, Higino JS. Mycoses 2003 Jun; 46 (5-6):192-6.
5. Adjunctive periodontal treatment with Centella asiatica and Punica granatum extracts. A preliminary study. Sastravaha G, Yotnuengnit P, Booncong P, Sangtherapitikul P. J Int Acad Periodontol 2003 Oct; 5(4):106-15.
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