phytochemicals Phytochemicals

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Punica granatum

What is pomegranate?

Pomegranate is a small tree up to 5 meter in height. The bark of the pomegranate tree is light brown with red buds and young shoots. The leaves are small, opposite, glossy and almost evergreen. The large and attractive pomegranate flowers are orange-red. The characteristic large pomegranate fruits are crowned with a calyx and contain numerous seeds in juice containing sacs.

Parts used

Pomegranate juice is mainly used as a health drink. However, most phytochemicals can be found in the rind of the fruit. The roots and bark are also used.


These are typical phytochemicals found in pomegranate: the pomegranate bark contains punicotannic acid, gallic acid , mannite, pelletierine and n-methylisopelletierine. the pomegrante juice contains ellagitannins, pelargonidin, punicalin, punicalagin, anthocyanins, cyanidin, ellagic acid.

Benefits of pomegranate

The pomegranate has been traditionally used as medicines in many countries.

Pomegranate juice is a mild astringent, used to treat diarrhoea, and reduces some fevers.

The root bark is used to treat intestinal parasites, mainly tapeworm. The alkaloids narcotise the tapeworms so they lose their grip to the intestinal wall and are expelled. These alkaloids are also very toxic so they should not be used for self-medication.

Pomegranate contains many phytochemicals with antioxidant action, such as ellagic acid. Ellagic acid has anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic and antifibrosis activity.

Skin Whitening
Studies have shown that ellagic acid can suppress UV-induced skin pigmentation when applied topically or when administered orally. Mineka Yoshimura and colleagues have shown in their study "Inhibitory Effect of an Ellagic Acid-Rich Pomegranate Extract on Tyrosinase Activity and UV-induced Pigmentation" (Bioscience, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, 2005) that pomegranate extract has skin-whitening property. This effect was probably caused by the inhibition of proliferation of melanocytes and melanin synthesis.

Other facts

The pomegranate flowers are used to make a red dye. Pomegranate is used jewish ceremonials. The pomegranate juice is used for the production of grenadine. Because of its high tannin content the pomegranate rind can be used to tan leather.

Other names

Grenadie, ecorce de granade, granaatappel

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