Properties of pomegranate
The pomegranate Punica granatum L., native to the Middle East and Asia, is a bushy shrub with a twisted trunk and deciduous foliage that can reach five meters in height. This very old plant belongs to the Lythraceae family. For more than 4000 years, its fruits, seeds, bark and flowers have been used for their medicinal properties. The pomegranate was considered in Egypt as the fruit of the gods and symbolised fertility and abundance in mythology due to its impressive number of seeds. First spread by Arab nomads, the pomegranate was later introduced to the Iberian Peninsula and gave its name to one of the most prestigious cities in Spain.
Very rich in tannins, the splendid fruits of this precious tree have also been used for a long time to colour oriental rugs and enhance their colours. Used in traditional medicines to treat parasitic diseases and gastrointestinal diseases, pomegranate entered the French pharmacopoeia in 1818. Science has been interested in pomegranate for several years for its amazing pharmacological, medical and cosmetology virtues.
This renewed interest is due to the antioxidant properties of pomegranate, which are superior to those of green tea and red wine. The polyphenols contained in large quantities in its seeds provide anti-inflammatory properties recognised in the treatment of many ailments. This fruit with many natural virtues also contains a high concentration of natural estrogens, phelonics, proanthocyanidins and complex polysaccharides.
Today the pomegranate is a common natural ingredient in food supplements, mainly for antioxidant purposes, but also nutraceuticals. The countries of the Orient and of the Mediterranean zone as well as the United States (California) are the largest producers of pomegranate.
The skin of its fruit contains two hydroxybenzoic acids, ellagic acid and gallic acid. It also contains hydroxycinnamic acids, flavone derivatives, and anthocyanidins, giving the red colour of pomegranates. In the juice and skin of pomegranates, the presence of ellagic acid and its derivatives help fight urban pollution, hence their use in certain cosmetic products. Several ellagitannins are present in the skin of the fruit: granatin A and granatin B, punicalin, corilagin and especially punicalagin. The peel of the fruit of Punica granatum thus possesses, thanks to the unique combination of tannins and alkaloids, antibacterial properties and fungistatic activity.
The energy value and carbohydrate content of pomegranate is similar to that of fig or mango. Sweet and tangy, juicy pomegranate is an important source of antioxidant vitamin C and helps fight fatigue. It contributes to energy, essential in sports nutrition, accelerates healing, protects against infections and promotes iron absorption. Pomegranate also contains group B vitamins , including vitamin B6 and multiple trace elements and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc and copper.
The numerous scientific researches carried out on the pomegranate tree have recently highlighted the exceptional chemical composition of this shrub and make it possible to consider, thanks to it, treatments for pathologies such as atherosclerosis, arterial hypertension, certain cancers or virus. Pomegranate juice extracts, for example, appear to be able to slow the growth of cancer cells and the formation of prostate tumours. The extraordinary properties of the pomegranate give it a strong potential especially with regard to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, hypercholesterolemia, oxidative stress and hyperglycemia. Finally, the pomegranate represents an effective natural health ingredient in the booming Sports Nutrition / Energy market.