Binomial Name(s): Punica Granatum
Species: P. granatum
Popular Name(s): Anar
Parts Used: Seeds, Flowers
Habitat: Commonly cultivated as ornamental and fruit tree in southwest zones of Asia
Punica granatum, commonly known as Pomegranate, is a species of fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree, growing to 5-8 m height. The leaves are opposite or sub-opposite, glossy, narrow, oblong, entire, 3-7 cm long and 2 cm broad. The flowers are bright red, with five petals each. Native to the southwest zones of Asia, the plant species was originally cultivated in the Caucasus region in ancient times. Pomegranate was later introduced in parts of Latin America and California by the early Spanish settlers, during the year 1769. There, the plant species was mainly used for the purpose of juice production. Today, pomegranate is widely cultivated in North India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan and parts of the Middle East. The cultivation of the fruit usually takes place during the months of September to February in the Northern Hemisphere, while in the Southern Hemisphere; it is from March to May.
Pomegranate is a rich source of potassium and antioxidant polyphenols. These polyphenols mainly include hydrolysable tannins called punicalagins. Polyphenols catechins, gallocatechins, and anthocyanins such as prodelphinidins, delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin are other phytochemicals present in the plant species.
Uses & Benefits of Pomegranate
- Pomegranate is great for curing a number of ailments and diseases. The juice of its fruit helps to reduce the risk of strokes, heart diseases and heart attacks. It prevents the formation of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, through its antioxidant properties and hence, helps in the clearance of blood clots in the arteries.
- Many women claim that the extracts of the fruit helps to overcome feelings of weakness or malaise during and after menopause.
- The fruit is a rich source of vitamins and is particularly high in vitamin A, C E and folic acid.
- Regular intake of pomegranate juice helps to reduce the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease by the elderly.
- It also helps to strengthen the normal human defense mechanism and prevents the occurrence of certain types of cancer. This is mainly because of the fact that the fruit contains high amounts of antioxidants called flavenoids, which are believed to counteract the actions of cancer-causing radicals and thereby promote good health.
- Another major health benefit of pomegranate is that it helps to prevent and control anemic conditions like weakness, dizziness, fatigue and hair loss, as it provides support to the blood by supplying it with iron.
- A decoction of its seeds is used to treat syphilis. The juice helps treat jaundice and diarrhea. Even the juice of its flower is used to treat nosebleeds.
- The fruit pulp and seeds of pomegranate are stomachic.
- It also helps to cure conditions like diabetes, osteoarthritis and atherosclerosis.
- The antioxidants present in pomegranate contribute to the antiviral properties in the fruit.
- Curing skin inflammation and similar type of skin conditions is yet another beneficial effect of consuming pomegranate on a regular basis.
- Certain allergic reactions may occur due to consumption of pomegranate. Serious reactions like difficulty in swallowing, skin rashes, wheezing and swelling of the lips, mouth, throat or tongue may also occur at times.