Pomegranate

Punica granatum (Lythraceae)

Characteristics

Shrubs or small trees, 2-3 m tall, glabrous. Leaves opposite. Flowers bright red, 3 cm. Fruit globose, leathery berries, variable in color, red to yellow-green or red-brown, 5-12 cm. Seeds numerous, covered with pulp. Edible..

Distribution

Native to the Middle East between Iran and Northern India, cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region. Introduced by the Spanish into America in the 16th century. Today widespread in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Natural Medical Properties

The pomegranate has a long history of herbal use dating back more than 3,000 years.

All parts of the plant contain unusual alkaloids, known as ‘pellitorines’, which paralyse tapeworms so that they are easily expelled from the body by using a laxative.

The plant is also rich in tannin, which makes it an effective astringent. It is used externally in the treatment of vaginal discharges, mouth sores and throat infections. The whole plant, but in particular the bark, is antibacterial, antiviral and astringent. This remedy should be used with caution, overdoses can be toxic
The flowers are used in the treatment of dysentery, stomach-ache and cough.

Along with the leaves and seeds, they have been used to remove worms.

The juice of the flowers is used to treat nose bleeds.
The seeds are demulcent and stomachic.

A decoction of the seed is used to treat syphilis.
The fruit is a mild astringent and refrigerant in some fevers and especially in biliousness. It is also cardiac and stomach-ache.

The juice of the fruit is used to treat jaundice and diarrhoea. Combined with the juice of Cynodont dactylion leaves, it is used for treating runny noses and colds.
The dried rind of the fruit is used in the treatment of amoebic dysentery, diarrhoea etc. It is a specific remedy for tapeworm infestation.

The rind of the fruit is ground in water and drunk every morning by diabetics.
The stem bark is emmenagogue. Both the stem and the root barks are used to expel tapeworms.  

Use this with caution, the root bark can cause serious poisoning. The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
The dried pericarp is decocted with other herbs and used in the treatment of colic, dysentery, leucorrhoea etc.
An ethyl alcohol extract of the fruit has shown interesting oestrogenic properties. In addition, it has been shown to reduce cell death from oxidation. The plant has potential as an active ingredient in preparations for the treatment of skin-ageing in post-menopausal women.

Did you know?

Pomegranates are mentioned many times in the Bible. In the Qur’an, pomegranates are named as one of the fruits that will grow in the gardens of paradise.

The juice of Pomegranate is the source of grenadine syrup, used in flavorings and liqueurs.

Further reading:

Literature

World Flora Online
WorldChecklist of Selected Plant Families
A working list of all plant species