Pomegranate has been used since time immemorial for ridding the intestines of tapeworm infestation and other intestinal parasites. It is also an astringent that has been used to ease chronic diarrhea and dysentery, and recent studies show promise in the area of antioxidant protection for a healthy heart and serious prostate disease.
The Pomegranate is one of a species of fruit-bearing, deciduous shrubs or trees, and it is believed to have originated in the area from eastern Iran to India; however, its true native range has not accurately been determined because of its extensive cultivation throughout the warm areas of the world. The tree bears slender, oblong, glossy leaves with bright red flowers and fruits (containing edible pulp and seed grains) that range in size from an orange to a grapefruit, and it grows as an ornamental, thriving in well-drained soil in full sun, reaching a possible height of thirty feet.
Pomegranates may grow wild and are drought tolerant, but they fruit most successfully when cultivated in long, hot, summer climates; in wet areas, they are prone to root decay from fungal diseases.
It is said that the Iranian cities of Kashan, Saveh and Yazd cultivate and produce the finest Pomegrantes in the world. Pomegranate’s medicinal history may be traced back to antiquity. In the Old Testament, it is noted lhat Pomegranate figures were woven onto the borders of Hebrew priestly robes, and Kings Chapter 7:13-22 describes Pomegrantes depicted in King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem.
The Jewish tradition teaches that the Pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, and many Jews eat Pomegranates on Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot. Pomegranate was mentioned as a cure for tapeworms in the famed Ebers Papyri (circa 1500 B.C.) that was found in Egypt, and was also used for that purpose in ancient Greece (the same use echoed in today’s herbal medicine).
Pomegranate was regarded as a medicinal herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine around 470 A.D., and was considered a symbol of fertility in times past and was eaten by childless women. It is said that Europeans largely overlooked the medicinal applications of Pomegranate until 1804, when a practitioner in India cured an Englishman of tapeworm infestation. The fruits are eaten fresh, and the seed grains are used to garnish desserts. Pomegranate juice is famous as the cordial called grenadine, an important ingredient in cocktails, as well as an important flavoring for drinks, fruit salads, sorbets, ice creams and natural health fruit juices (in England, Pomegranate juice is endorsed by the cholesterol charity, HEART UK).
Preliminary studies have suggested that Pomegranate juice may contain almost three times the total antioxidant ability compared to the same quantity of green tea or red wine. The bark, root, fruit and fruit rind are used in herbal medicine. Some of the constituents in Pomegranate include fruit acids, sugar, polyphenols, tannins, anthocyanins, alkaloids (pelletierine, etc.), gum, protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. One Pomegranate is believed to deliver forty percent of an adult’s vitamin C requirement, the antioxidant vitamins A and E, and it is also said to be a rich source of folic acid and niacin.