Pomegranate

The pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is an ancient, mystical, unique fruit. The pomegranate is native from the Himalayas in northern India to Iran but has been cultivated and naturalized since ancient times over the entire Mediterranean region. Pomegranate is a potent antioxidant, superior to red wine and equal to or better than green tea.

In the past decade, numerous studies on the antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranate constituents have been published, focusing on treatment and prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dental conditions, erectile dysfunction, bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance, and ultraviolet radiation-induced skin damage.

Other potential applications include infant brain ischemia, male infertility, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and obesity. (Altern Med Rev 2008;13(2):128-144)

Extracts of all parts of the fruit appear to have therapeutic properties.

What are the active components of pomegranate?

-ellagic acid, gallic acid, ellagitannins (including punicalagins), tannins

-cathecin

-punicic acid

-flavonoids

-anthocyanidins, anthocyanins

-estrogenic flavonols and flavones

Pomegranate juice contains numerous minerals, particularly iron, quercetin, rutin and amino acids. A study’s results demonstrate pomegranate juice possesses significantly greater antioxidant capacity at much lower concentrations than either grape or blueberry juice, which was attributed to the high anthocyanin flavonoid content and higher total flavonoid content in pomegranate juice than the other juices.

Ellagic acid exhibits powerful anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties. Research on ellagic acid confirms the synergistic action of several pomegranate constituents is superior to ellagic acid in suppressing prostate cancer. Cancer research results indicate pomegranate may affect prostate cancer because of antiproliferative, apoptotic, antioxidant, and possibly anti-inflammatory effects. Recent research also indicates pomegranate constituents inhibit angiogenesis. Numerous studies have investigated the therapeutic effect of pomegranate extracts against several other cancer cell lines. Research utilizing breast cancer cell lines demonstrates pomegranate constituents effectively inhibit angiogenesis, tumor growth, proliferation, and invasiveness, and induce apoptosis.

Animal, and human trials have examined the effects of various pomegranate constituents on prevention and attenuation of atherosclerosis. Mechanisms associated with the anti-atherogenic effects of pomegranate decrease lipid peroxidation, and decrease cholesterol levels.

Pomegranate juice consumption significantly reduce oxidative stress in diabetic patients. Despite the sugars naturally present in pomegranate juice, consumption did not adversely affect diabetic parameters but had a significant effect on atherogenesis via reduced oxidative stress.

Topical applications of pomegranate preparations have been found to be particularly effective for controlling oral inflammation, as well as bacteria and fungal counts in periodontal disease and Candida-associated denture stomatitis.

Another study’s results demonstrate a reduction in myocardial ischemia and improved myocardial perfusion in patients consuming pomegranate juice.

Because of pomegranate’s antimicrobial properties, it may aid in preventing infection by dental pathogens, pathogenic E. coli and antibiotic-resistant organisms such as MRSA.

The possibility that pomegranate extracts may also have an effect on several other disease processes, such as Alzheimer’s disease, osteoarthritis, neonatal brain injury, male infertility, and obesity, underscores the need for more clinical research.

Pomegranate and its constituents have safely been consumed for centuries without adverse effects. Studies of pomegranate constituents note no toxic effects.-Source:Altern Med Rev. 2008 Jun;13(2):128-44., fotó: freeimages.com