September 26, 2010

Pomegranate

pomegranate, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comPomegranate is a small tree up to 5 meter in height. The bark of the pomegranate tree is light brown with red buds and young shoots. The leaves are small, opposite, glossy and almost evergreen. The large and attractive pomegranate flowers are orange-red. The characteristic large pomegranate fruits are crowned with a calyx and contain numerous seeds in juice containing sacs.

Pomegranate juice is mainly used as a health drink. However, most phytochemicals can be found in the rind of the fruit. The roots and bark are also used.

The pomegranate has been traditionally used as medicines in many countries:

  • Diarrhoea. Pomegranate juice is a mild astringent, used to treat diarrhoea, and reduces some fevers.
  • Anti-parasites.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 so they should not be used for self-medication.
  • Antioxidant. Pomegranate contains many phytochemicals with antioxidant action, such as ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic and antifibrosis activity.
  • Skin Whitening. 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.
  • Other facts. The pomegranate flowers are used to make a red dye. Pomegranate is used jewish ceremonials. The pomegranate juice is used for the production of grenadine. Because of its high tannin content the pomegranate rind can be used to tan leather.