This fruit has yet to reach peak popularity in the United States. The pomegranate’s seeds are where the fruit’s nutrients are most plentiful. Pomegranate contains a high amount of vitamin C as well as vitamin B, potassium, and the antioxidant polyphenols. Pomegranate extract has been proven to have antibacterial effects against dental plaque. It can also help with digestive health issues. Pomegranate can be found in juice and powder form.
The medicinal parts are the root, the bark, the fruits, the peel of the fruit, and the flowers.
Flower and Fruit
The flowers are infundibulate or rotate, usually solitary or in pairs of threes at the tips of the branches. The calyx and receptacle are bright coral-red and have a tough margin. There are 5 to 8 bright-red campanulate, nodding petals and numerous stamens. The filaments are orange-red and the anthers yellow-gold. The ovary consists of 2 or 3 layers lying on top of one another. The fruit is an apple-sized, round, 1.6 to 12 cm wide false berry whose skin turns from bright red to leather-brown. The seeds are roughly square and purple, later acquiring a soft red outer skin.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
The plant is an erect, roughly branched shrub up to 1.5 m high or a small, tree 3 to 5 m tall with a curved trunk and glabrous 4- to 6-edged, sometimes spiny-tipped branches. The branches are narrowly winged when young. The trunk later becomes fissured and twisted. The leaves are generally opposite or in clusters on the short shoots. They are deciduous, simple, pinnate-veined, short-petioled, glabrous, hard, oval-lanceolate with a tough middle rib.
The plant probably originated in Asia. Today it is widespread in the Mediterranean region as far as South Tyrol, the Near East, South Africa, South Asia, China, Australia, U.S., and South America.
Pomegranate bark is the dried bark of the trunk roots and branches of Punica granatum. The roots, trunk, and older branches are collected at the beginning of autumn. Their bark is peeled off and air-dried.
Actions & Pharmacology
Compounds: Pomegranate Fruit Peel
Tannins (25 to 28%; gallo tannins): including punicalin (granatine D), punicalagin (granatine C), granatine A, granatine B
Compounds: Pomegranate Stems and Root
Tannins (20 to 25% gallo tannins): including punicalagin, punicacortein C, casuarin
Piperidine alkaloids (0.4% in the rind of the stem, up to 0.8% in the rind of the root): chief alkaloids isopelletierine, N-methylisopelletierine, pseudopelletierine
The drug, which contains tannins and alkaloids, is anthelmintic and amoeboid. Pelletierin triggers, like strychnine, a raised stimulant reflex, which can escalate to tetanus and is effective against diverse tapeworms, ring worms and nematodes. The tannins in the drug makes it useful as an astringent for sore throats, diarrhea and dysentery.
Indications & Usage
In folk medicine Pomegranate is used for infestation with tapeworm and other worms, for diarrhea and dysentery, as an abortifacient and astringent; externally used for hemorrhoids and as a gargle in cases of sore throat.
In China, Pomegranate is used to treat chronic diarrhea and dysentery, blood in the stool, worm infestation, and anal prolapses.
In India, uses include diarrhea, dysentery, vomiting, and eye pain.
Punica granatum is used for gastrointestinal disturbances.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
No health hazards are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. The high levels of tannin content in the drug could lead to gastric irritation.
Due to the alkaloid content, overdoses with the rind of the stem or the root (above 80 g) lead to vomiting, including the vomiting of blood, later to dizziness, chills, vision disorders, collapse, and possible death through respiratory failure. Total blindness (amaurosis) could occur within a few hours or a few days, then disappear within a few days or weeks.
Following gastrointestinal emptying, (inducement of vomiting, gastric lavage with burgundy-colored potassium permanganate solution, sodium sulfate), installation of medicinal charcoal and shock prophylaxis (quiet, warmth), the therapy for poisonings consists of treating spasms with diazepam (IV), electrolyte substitution and treating possible cases of acidosis with sodium bicarbonate infusions. In case of shock, plasma volume expanders should be infused. Monitoring of kidney function is essential. Intubation and oxygen respiration may also be necessary.
Mode of Administration
Pomegranate is available as whole, crude and powder forms for internal and external use. It is also available in parenteral form for homeopathic use.
Decoction — 1 part drug and 5 parts water.
Macerations — 60 parts drug and 400 parts water macerated for 12 hours to half the initial volume.
Liquid extract — percolation of 1,000 parts coarse powder and 59% ethanol (V/V). The percolate is evaporated to the initial amount of the drug (EB6).
Decoction — 250 parts bark powder and 1,500 parts water boiled for 30 minutes (Belg IV).
- Tapeworm treatment 1 (decoction) — 4 doses of 60 mL with 2 hour intervals between doses accompanied before treatment and after treatment by a laxative.
- Tapeworm treatment 2 (maceration) — administration of 3 doses of 65 mL with a duodenal probe at 30 minute intervals; a laxative is administered after an hour.
- As pomegranate bark juice extract — single dose: for tapeworm 20 g.
5 drops, 1 tablet, or 10 globules every 30 to 60 minutes (acute) or 1 to 3 times daily (chronic); parenterally: 1 to 2 mL sc acute: 3 times daily; chronic: once a day (HAB1).
Pomegranate should be sealed in containers and protected from moisture.