Refreshing and delicious, the pomegranate has been considered to be an effective medicine since ancient days. It is a six sided fairly large fruit, with a leathery skin. It has numerous seeds which are surrounded by succulent pink/crimson colour pulp. It is native to Iran and Afghanistan. All parts of the tree – the roots, leaves, bark, flowers and seeds are medicinal, and have health benefits. The fruit is low in calories and high in fibre, vitamins and phytochemicals. The pomegranate is considered to be a sign of fertility in Chinese and Persian cultures. The Egyptians regarded it as a symbol of prosperity and ambition.
Botanical name – Punica granatum
Common name – Pomegranate
Indian name – Anar
Health benefits of pomegranate
It is a light food and is a tonic for the heart. It is considered good for inflammation of the stomach. The sweet variety of the fruit is a good laxative. The pomegranate juice is said to cure fevers and is said to provide the minerals that help the liver store vitamin A. It also helps boost immunity.
Pomegranate health benefits for Digestive disorders
Pomegranate juice digests easily and is good for people suffering from colitis and mucous. It binds the stools and tones up the intestines. It is also good for diarrhoea and blood in stools.
Pomegranate health benefits for Intestinal worms
The bark of the root and stem of the pomegranate tree have antithelmentic properties. The alkaloid punicine is considered very toxic to tape worms. The root bark contains a large quantity of this alkaloid.
Pomegranate health benefits for fevers
The root bark is known to prevent fevers. The juice of the ripe fruit is beneficial for fevers arising from typhus, gastric and asthmatic problems.
Pomegranate health benefits for the heart
Scientists conducting research on the health benefits of pomegranate have found that it is high in antioxidants. It thus keeps bad cholesterol (LDL) from oxidising. Pomegranate juice increases oxygen to the heart. The fruit acts like aspirin and keeps the platelets from sticking together and forming dangerous blood clots.
Pomegranate Fights cancers
Pomegranate is rich in phytochemicals. They are rich in specific polyphenols like tannins, quercetin and anthocyanins, which offer anti-cancer benefits. It is said to fight cancers like breast, lung and prostrate cancer. Studies show that the juice may prevent prostrate cancer. Pomegranate juice is said to inhibit cell growth. In animal studies, it was found that tumor growth was significantly inhibited and survival was prolonged. It also has anti-cancer effects in human breast cancer.
Pomegranate health benefits for Arthritis
Pomegranate fruit extracts can block enzymes that contribute to osteoarthritis. According to a study published in the sept 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, pomegranate has the ability to slow the deterioration of human cartilage. Pomegranate seeds possesses anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces inflammation and pain in those suffering from arthritis by slowing down the enzyme that break down cartilage.
Home Remedies with Pomegranate
- About 50 ml of pomegranate juice controls diarrhoea and blood in stools. The flower buds are good for dysentry in chidren.
- A tbsp of pomegranate juice mixed with a tbsp of honey cures bilious vomiting, burning in the chest, flatulent colic and morning sickness.
- A decoction of about 90 – 180 ml of root bark, when taken three times a day helps flush out intestinal worms. It is also a good natural remedy for tape worms. A purgative should be taken after the dose is over.
- Roast the skin of the pomegranate fruit till its black and brittle. Powder it and mix with any vegetable oil. Apply for anal itching.
- Grind a tbsp of pomegranate seeds to a paste and have it with a cupful of horsegram soup. This is an effective home remedy to dissolve stones in the kidney and bladder.
- Pomegranate seeds is good for the teeth and gums. A tooth powder made from it, is an effective home remedy to strengthen the gums, stop gum bleeds and prevent pyorrhoea. Powder the dry rind of a pomegranate with a little pepper and common salt.
- The juice of the fruit when taken with equal amount of honey, gives relief from acid reflux. It should be taken three times a day for a few days.