The health and historical roles of pomegranate

PomegranatesLRThere’s a good reason for the inclusion of pomegranate in many high-quality whole food supplements.

These ‘fruits of paradise’ are crammed full of polyphenol antioxidants that prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which causes plaque formation and the development of coronary artery disease.

Polyphenol antioxidants also help inhibit the growth of dangerous tumors that may become cancerous.

Pomegranate’s anti-inflammatory compounds, including vitamin C, boost immunity, thus protecting against such afflictions as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and arthritis.

The seedy fruit is rich in fiber, which aids digestion. Pomegranate also helps control stress  by lowering the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. And the fruit’s ‘punic acid’ compound aids in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The many healthful compounds contained in pomegranate help prevent or reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing the deposit and accumulation of amyloid in the hippocampus region of the brain.

The modern studies that have revealed the details of the pomegranate’s role in natural health are only the new version of long ago values placed on the role of this strange fruit.

The many-seeded fruit of the pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) is one of the oldest Semitic symbols of life, fertility and abundance.

In the first books of the Bible, the pomegranate was embroidered at the hem of Aaron’s priestly robes. Pomegranates also adorned the official vestments of the priest-kings of ancient Persia.

The capitals and pillars of the Temple of Solomon were covered with carved pomegranates. Pomegranates were served at the marriage banquets of ancient Assyria and Babylonia as a symbol of love and fecundity.

At Oriental weddings, seeds of the pomegranate were offered to the guests and, when the newlyweds entered their bedchamber, pomegranates were thrown to the floor and the bursting fruits strewed seeds all over the room, signifying that the marriage would be happy and blessed with many children.

When the Moors conquered Spain about 800 AD and introduced the pomegranate, Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, wore the Spanish emblem of the pomegranate, and it became the badge of their daughter, Mary Tudor (1516-1558), Queen of England.

The pomegranate name even played a part in the naming of weapons.

When explosive shells—which strewed metal particles over a wide area—entered use, the French, mindful of the seed-scattering characteristics of the pomegranate, called it grenade. Furthermore, the special regiments who launched these new weapons in 1791 were called grenadiers.

It is thought that the pomegranate was introduced into the New World in the 1500s by Spanish colonists.

More and more, the modern world is beginning to learn about the natural nutritional wisdom and practices of the ‘Old World.’

Sources:, Folklore and Odysseys of Food and Medicinal Plants, Ernst and Johanna Lehner