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Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. It was the famous dictum proclaimed by Hippocrates about 2500 years ago. Recently many scientific studies supported the above fact. Fruits and vegetables are the rich sources of bioactive molecules. Over 10,000 bioactive molecules have been identified and are an integral part of human diet. Fruits include anti-oxidant nutrients which may protect humans from various chronic diseases by combating reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Pomegranate fruit is one of them. Pomegranate fruit is one of them which is loaded with innumerable nutrition. Pomegranate- a fruit of promise for its therapeutic purpose. It has been extensively used in folk medicine of many cultures including Indian, Chinese, Greek etc.
- The pomegranate fruit is used for health benefits since ages. It is not only the fruit which is useful but its bark, root bark are also widely used in many health conditions but the fruit is widely used part of the plant.
- According to Ayurveda, pomegranate fruit is appetiser, strengthens heart, anti-diarrheal, cooling and blood purifier. Its juice is rich in anti-oxidants, anti-atherosclerotic, platelet-aggregation inhibitor, anti-cholesterol and anti-cancer. Its peel is considered as anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, wound-healing, anti-tumor anti-mutagenic. Its seeds are anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, estrogenic and anti-cancer.
Even modern medicine has accepted its numerous health benefits. According to modern medicine, pomegranate fruit is a proven rich source of anti-oxidants, hence very good for all heart problems. It is interesting to note that its findings matches with Hridya-protecting qualities as explained in Ayurvedic texts thousands of years back. It is a good source of Vitamin B5, C, E, K Polyphenols and Potassium. It is loaded with minerals and vitamins. It is a rich source of Thiamine(B1), Riboflavin(B2), Niacin(B3), Pantothenic acid(B5), Vitamin B6, Folate(B9), Choline and minerals like- calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.
- The most abundant phytochemicals found in pomegranate juice are polyphenols including the hydrolyzable tannins called elligtannins.
The red colour of the juice is due to the presence of pigment known as anthocyanins.
- Its peel is also beneficial as the inedible pomegranate peel contains as much as three times the total amount of polyphenols including condensed tannins. The higher phenolic content of the peel yields extracts for use in dietary supplements in some countries.
- Pomegranate seed oil contains palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, punicic acid and linoleic acid.
In a research, it has been found that pomegranate juice consumption did not affect blood levels of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides but it did significantly reduce serum lipid peroxides and TBARS (Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substance, measure of the extent of oxidation of LDL-cholesterol) levels by 56 and 28%.
- Thus, in the research it was concluded that pomegranate juice consumption by the diabetic patients did not worsen the diabetic parameters but resulted in anti-oxidative effects on serum and macrophages which could contribute to attenuation of atherosclerosis development in the patients.
- It has also been proved in the research that pomegranate fruit could be used in the treatment of human prostate cancer because it could inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis.
- It has anti-inflammatory properties so it prevents colon cancer too.
- The antioxidant properties of pomegranate juice were mainly attributed to the unique type of polyphenols which are present in pomegranates naturally.
The pomegranate tree can grow upto 30 feet in height. The leaves are opposite, narrow and oblong. It has bright red, orange or pink flowers which are 3 cm in diameter with 4-5 petals. Edible fruits has a rounded hexagonal shape. The thick skin surrounds around 600 arils which encapsulates the seeds.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Family: Lythraceae
- Botanical Name: Punica granatum
- Hindi name: Anar
- Sanskrit name: Dadim
Medicinal Qualities of Pomegranate:
- Qualities: Light to digest, unctuous, oily
- Taste: Sweet, Sour, Astringent, undergoes sweet taste after digestion
- Potency: neither too cold, nor sweet.
- Effect on Tridosha: Balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
- There are only a handful of herbs which have tridosha balancing effect. Sweet pomegranate fruit is one of them. The sweet pomegranate fruit is ideal to take during fever.
- It cleanses the oral cavity, throat, chest, esophagus and stomach.
- It also has astringent taste so helps to relieve diarrhea and also useful in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis.
- The fresh juice of pomegranate if taken regularly on empty stomach helps to increase heamoglobin and also makes the skin radiant.
- Regular use of pomegranate is good for heart.
- It improves immunity, body strength and increases intelligence.
- Pomegranate is having sweet and sour taste helps in improving digestion power of stomach. It helps to relieve anorexia.
- Sour pomegranate fruit is an ideal ingredient for diet in Rheumatoid Arthritis. It balances vata and kapha but increases Pitta.
- It also improves intelligence so it must be regularly taken by students, lawyers etc.
- It also promotes weight gain. People having thin body must consume it regularly.
- People suffering from hypertension and diabetes must include pomegranates in their diet.
- Because of its astringent property, it is also useful in nose bleeding and bleeding gums.
- It is a natural asphrodisiac and improves sperm count and semen quality.
- Pomegranate juice increases heamoglobin level quickly.
Side Effects of Pomegranates:
- Excess use of pomegranate fruit is known to cause constipation, hence it is a good home remedy for the people suffering from diarrhea. But people having constipation must avoid its excessive use.
Various Benefits of Pomegranate
- Various Ayurvedic medicines prepared from pomegranates are- Dadimashtak Churan, Dadimavaleh(Used for IBS, ulcerative colitis ), Dadimada Ghrita(used to improve digestion, cardiac disorders, anaemia etc, Yavanyadi Churan(used for respiratory disorders), Lavanbhaskar Churan(used for gastritis).
- Thus, pomegranate is really a nature’s blessing to the mankind. Extensive research clearly indicates that pomegranate is a fruit of nutraceutical importance because it has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-platelet aggregation, estrogenic, anti-cancer properties.
- Research is going on all over the world to explore the properties of pomegranate but Ayurveda-Indian system of medicine had identified pomegranate as a medicinal plant thousands of years ago and consumption of pomegranate juice has been prescribed as remedy for various ailments since ages.