This article will be discussing about pomegranate fruit, Pomegranate flavoring, pomegranate extract, pomegranate powder, pomegranate extract for baking, their uses and benefits, medical and industrial application. Pomegranate is said to be most medical fruit among all other fruits in the book “Pomegrante: The Most Medical Fruit” written by Robert A. Newman, Ephraim P. Lansky, Melissa Lynn Block. This could be justified by reading this article as it numerous application and benefits of not wholly the fruit itself but also from its parts including pomegranate flowers, leaves, seeds, pulp and extract.
Botanical name of pomegranate fruit is Punica granatum L. and it belongs to the family Punicaceae. Pomegranate tree is small tree or thick shrub probably native to Kurdistan; it grows throughout the Mediterranean basin and in other warm regions. It was speculated by many scholars that apple used by Eve to tempt Adam was in fact a pomegranate not the apple. There are several varieties of pomegranate. It is popular fruit in US. It has an agreeable acidic flavor. Parts of pomegranate including fruit pulp bark and branches extract are used for many purposes. Pomegranate leaves can be used for garnishing of food recipes. It is said that King Solomon is believed to have pomegranate in his orchards. According to Sanskrit literature it is always referred to the beauty of pomegranate flowers and seeds. Pomegranate is valued for the medical properties in its skin and seeds in both Sri Lanka and India.
It is thought that polyphenolic flavonoid content of pomegranate gives a potential to pomegranates to be used as potential anti- plaque agent. Pomegranate phototherapy is reported to have potential for providing cost-effective and an indigenous solution in preventive density. Pomegranate extract can be used to reduce clinical signs associated with chronic, inflammatory periodontitis, among other indication such treatment of oral ulcers. Pomegranate extract is antifungal agent associated with denture stomatitis. It was reported that pomegranate extract gel if applied three times for 15 days was effective for patients of afflicted by candidiasis associated with denture stomatitis. Antibacterial effect of pomegranate extract was found on dental plaque microorganisms. It reduced amount of microorganisms cultured from dental plaque. Rinsing teeth with pomegranate juice was also effective.
As we know that prolonged exposure to ultraviolet may cause serious adverse effects to human skin i.e. premature aging, sunburn and skin cancer. Derivatives from pomegranate show considerable protective effects on ultraviolet radiation. The major polyphenols in pomegranate, particularly catechin play significant role in skin damage. Pomegranate peel is well regarded for its astringent properties and fertility.
Pomegranate flavoring is used to flavor drinks, marinades, baked goods, frosting, candy and desserts. It is packaged in sealed tinted bottles for flavor preservation and safety. This pomegranate flavor is sugar free and gluten free. It is concentrated, long lasting flavor. Natural pomegranate flavoring can be added in purely decadent dairy free pomegranate chip frozen dessert to make is mouthwatering delicious. Pomegranate sauce makes skillet roasted spicy chicken delicious.
A study conducted in South Dakota State University found that pomegranate extract could be applied topically to skin tumors on mice. After application of pomegranate extract and its observation for five weeks it was concluded that that pomegranate extract can inhibit growth of tumors and development of new tumors. Similarly, anti-skin tumor effects of pomegranate extract on skin of mice were evaluated by the researchers evaluated.
Pomegranate seed oil helps reduce fine wrinkles, invigorate skin and sooth minor skin irritation. Pomegranate extracts, pomegranate seed oil and phytochemicals can be found in bar soap, bath and shower gel, bath salts, body lotion and oil, body scrub and polish, body spray, facial and body cleanser, facial cream including anti-aging and moisturizing cream, lip gel and gloss, moisturizing and sunscreen. Pomegranate seed oil for topical application and shampoo and conditioner.
Pomegranate Extract vs Juice
Both the pomegranate extract and pomegranate juice are thought be having numerous application in medical field. Various experiments have been carried out for this purpose.
Considering the chemical composition of pomegranate, it could be suggested that white pulp membrane, arils, and seeds of pomegranate all parts contain many chemical compounds having high biological value. Among them most important product derived from fruit pomegranate is its “juice”. Pomegranate juice is unquestionably the most important element with many articles published in literature of Spanish and other international countries.
According to a recent study on mice, it was found that women who have risk of premature birth are advised to drink pomegranate juice in order to reduce the risk of ischemia and brain injuries in their babies. This conclusion was a result of experiment conducted on pregnant mice. That group of mice who consumed pomegranate juice lost 60 percent less brain tissue than the latter group. It was strongly suggested by the result of these experiment that antioxidant polyphenols in pomegranate have proactive role against hypoxic brain damage.
One more result declared in this study was about the enzyme, capsase-3 that was less active in mice whose mothers drank pomegranate juice. The enzyme capsase-3 is a part of self-destruction process in oxygen starved brain cells. It is the kind of apoptosis (cell death) you don’t want.
Compounds known as antioxidant polyphenols that are found abundantly in pomegranate have been known for neuro protective effects. It is said by medical experts that treating hypoxic ischemic brain injury is difficult however prevention is better with nutrition, specifically antioxidants compounds from pomegranate.
Pomegranate juice seems to improve the flow of blood to the heart according to the study published in the Journal of Cardiology. Patients having CHD and myocardial (heart) ischemia drank eight ounces of pomegranate juice daily for three months. Their blood flow was observed to be improved by about 17 percent. It was concluded that drinking pomegranate juice daily can improve stress induced myocardial ischemia in patients having CHD, and prevent CHD in people do not already have it.
Another study was published in Clinical Nutrition 2004 that concluded that those who continued pomegranate juice for two years maintained the positive cardiovascular effects. Hence it was obvious that pomegranate juice is a heart healthy beverage. Apart from experiments on several human clinical trials, pomegranate juice effectively reduced LDL oxidation, macrophage-oxidative status, and foam cell formation; all are the contributors to development of atherosclerosis.
It was showed in vitro studies that pomegranate juice polyphenols increased recombinant paraoxonase-1 binding to high density lipoprotein (HDL) beyond their anti-oxidative effect.
Pomegranate extract acts a skin repair agent. Studies say that pomegranate seed oil is a natural inflammatory and anti-microbial compound. Pomegranate seed oil is becoming popular in variety of skin care formulas besides anti-aging creams. Pomegranate extract is being appearing in medicated products designed to provide relief from and help to help minor skin irritations and inflammation. A few drops of pomegranate seed oil can be directly applied to irritated skin to assist in healing process.
As the rate of increase in skin cancer more than any other type of malignant disease, for these purpose Western countries have discovered that Pomegranate extract is showing promise a natural agent to reduce sunlight damage. Pomegranate extract acts a sun protection product for this purpose.
Pomegranate extract or compounds derived from it can be useful for inhibiting cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis and may be a useful nutritive supplement for maintaining joint integrity and function. It was found in the experiments that pomegranate extract fed mice had reduced joint inflammation by the inflammatory cells and the destruction of bone and cartilage were alleviated. Pomegranate extract or pomegranate juice significantly decreased the expression of vascular inflammation markers, thrombospondin and cytokine.
Pomegranate Extract for Baking
Pomegranate natural flavor can be used in variety of baking applications like cakes, cookies and many other baking goods.
Pomegranate powder is high in vitamin C and K. Vitamin C protects the eyes and helps to heal faster while vitamin K maintains healthy blood clotting and supports strong bones. Pomegranate juice is also sold as pomegranate powder and it is used for adding flavor. It works as flavoring agent. Pomegranate juice is dehydrated so that it contains same amount of nutrients as the fresh fruit. Some of the nutrients can be lost while processing. According to a study published in “Journal of Medicinal Food”, pomegranate powder takes longer to reach the maximum effect. Pomegranate juice powder is added in pomegranate liqueur marshmallows and many other food items to give sweet and savory flavor dishes. Pomegranate powder owes pink shade without adding any coloring agents. It can be used in ice-creams, hot tea, honey, salad dressing, porridge and oatmeal, curries, stews and many other meals.
Pomegranate is used in the following products to be used in the industry:
- Pomegranate juice is widely marketed in the USA and in Spain with great potential
- Ready to eat arils
- In jams
- Added in wines vinegar and liqueurs
- For dehydrated arils
- Nutraceuticals that are made from peel extract of pomegranate
- Food condiments
- Cosmetics like creams, oils and gels etc.