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Pomegranate

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Pomegranate is botanically named as Punica granatum, belongs to the genus Punica and family Lithraceae. It is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall. The pomegranate is native to the Iranian Plateau, the Himalayas in north Pakistan and Northern India.
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Botanical Names
Punica granatum
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Dalima Hindi : Anar, Darim Marathi : Dalimb Gujarati : Dadam Bengali : Anar, Dalim Kannada : Dalimbe Malayalam : Mathalam Telugu : Dadima pandu
Chemical Constituents
Pomegranate is a great source of antioxidants and beneficial phytochemicals. Pomegranate aril juice provides about 16% of daily vitamin C requirement and is a good source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), potassium and polyphenols, such as tannins and flavonoids. Pomegranates are listed as high-fiber in charts of nutritional value. The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate juice are the hydrolyzable tannins called ellagitannins formed when ellagic acid binds with a carbohydrate. Other phytochemicals include polyphenolic catechins, gallocatechins, and anthocyanins, such as prodelphinidins, delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin. The pomegranate tree, which is said to have flourished in the Garden of Eden, has been used extensively in the folk medicine of many cultures. In ancient Greek mythology, pomegranate was known as the “fruit of the dead” because of its nutritional properties (1).
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
In the Indian subcontinent's ancient Ayurveda system of medicine, the pomegranate has extensively been used as a source of traditional remedies for thousands of years. The rind of the fruit and the bark of the pomegranate tree are used as a traditional remedy against diarrhea, dysentery and intestinal parasites. The seeds and juice are considered as a tonic for the heart and throat, and classified as a bitter-astringent component under the Ayurvedic system. In preliminary laboratory research and clinical trials it has been proved that juice of the pomegranate is effective in reducing heart disease risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation. In a study of hypertensive patients, pomegranate juice was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by inhibiting serum angiotensin-converting enzyme (2, 3). Pomegranate fruit rind also possesses medicinal values. It has been proved scientifically that gastric mucosal injury can be treated by using Pomegranate fruit rind. More recent studies have proven the simple extracts of the hulls to additionally have efficacy against the virulent intestinal bacteria Salmonella typhi and Vibrio cholerae, the parasite Ameoba and most recently, viruses including Herpes simplex and poliovirus. The methanolic extract of pomegranate rind inhibited parasite growth in vitro. The activity was found to be associated to the fraction enriched with tannins in which punicalagins, punicalins, ellagic acid and its glycoside could be identified. Pomegranate seed oil was investigated for possible skin cancer chemo preventive efficacy in mice (4).
Health Benefits
The medicinal properties of pomegranate are described by all major religions and by folk medicine. Pomegranate juice was indeed shown recently to possess impressive anti oxidative properties due to its polyphenolics, tannins and anthocyanins. We have recently shown the antioxidative and antiatherogenic characteristics of pomegranate consumption in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E deficient mice (5). Also, in healthy humans, pomegranate consumption was shown to possess potent antioxidative capabilities against lipoprotein oxidation, and increased serum PON1 activity and serum total antioxidant status. In the present study, thus, we analyzed for the first time the effects of Pomagranate consumption by patients with carotid artery stenosis, on their serum oxidative stress in association with the progression of carotid atherosclerotic lesions (6). Pomegranate fruit was also evaluated for in vitro anti proliferative, apoptotic and antioxidant activities. Pomegranate juice may also inhibit viral infections. Pomegranate extracts also possesses antibacterial effects against dental plaque. Pomegranate showed an antioxidant activity three times higher than those of green tea. Pomegranate is rich in tannins thus it also possesses anti-atherosclerotic properties which could be related to its potent anti-oxidative characteristics (7, 8).
Application in Cosmetics
Pomegranate is an ancient fruit with exceptionally rich ethnomedical applications. The peel is well regarded for its astringent properties. Aqueous fractions prepared from the fruit's peel and fermented juice and lipophilic fractions prepared from pomegranate seeds were examined for effects on human epidermal keratinocyte and human dermal fibroblast function. Pomegranate seed oil was shown to stimulate keratinocyte proliferation in monolayer culture. In parallel, a mild thickening of the epidermis was observed in skin organ culture. In contrast, pomegranate peel extract stimulated type I procollagen synthesis and inhibited matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1; interstitial collagenase) production by dermal fibroblasts.. These results suggest heuristic potential of pomegranate fractions for facilitating skin repair in a polar manner, namely aqueous extracts especially of pomegranate peel promoting regeneration of dermis, and pomegranate seed oil promoting regeneration of epidermis (9).
Research References
1. Vahid A., Khodayar H. and Mehdi S. Physical and Chemical Properties of Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) Fruit in Maturation Stage American-Eurasian J. Agric. & Environ. Sci., 2009, 6 (4): 411-416 2. Esmaillzadeh A., Tahbaz F., Gaieni I., Alavi-Majd H. and Azadbakht L. Cholesterol-lowering effect of concentrated pomegranate juice consumption in type II diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2006, 76(3):147-151. 3. Michael A. and Leslie D. Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure Atherosclerosis 158 (2001) 195–198 4. Lansky E., Shubert S. and Neeman I. Pharmacological and Therapeutic properties of Pomegranate. CHIEAM_Options Mediterraneens 5. Michael A., Mira R., Diana G., Samy N., Aaron H., Leslie D., Nina V., Dita P., Judith A., Harley L. and Tony H. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation Clinical Nutrition (2004) 23, 423–433 6. Marı´a I. G., Francisco A. T., Betty H. P., Deirdre M. H. and Adel A. K. Antioxidant Activity of Pomegranate Juice and Its Relationship with Phenolic Composition and Processing J. Agric. Food Chem. 2000, 48:4581-4589 7. Michael A., Leslie D., Mira R., Nina V., Marielle K., Raymond C., Tony H., Dita P. and Bianca F. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E–deficient mice Am J Clin Nutr 2000, 71:1062–1076 8. Justin J. H., Emily R. M., Ephraim P. L. and Chandradhar D. Chemo preventive Effects of Pomegranate Seed Oil on Skin Tumor Development in CD1 Mice Journal of Medicinal Food 2003, 6(3): 157-161 9. Muhammad N. A., Ephraim P. L. and James V. Pomegranate as a cosmeceutical source: Pomegranate fractions promote proliferation and procollagen synthesis and inhibit matrix metalloproteinase-1 production in human skin cells Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2006, 103 (3):311-318