Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • September 2017
Written by 

Pomegranate — Punica granatum

The pomegranate fruit has a leathery rind (or husk) with many little pockets of edible seeds and juice inside.

Since ancient times, the pomegranate has been a symbol of fertility.

Researchers have studied all parts of the pomegranate for their potential health benefits. Those parts include the fruit, seed, seed oil, tannin-rich peel, root, leaf, and flower.

The pomegranate has been used as a dietary supplement for many conditions including wounds, heart conditions, intestinal problems, and as a gargle for a sore throat.

Pomegranate is made into capsules, extracts, teas, powders, and juice products.

How Much Do We Know?

We don’t have a lot of strong scientific evidence on the effects of pomegranate for people’s health.

What Have We Learned?

A 2012 clinical trial of about 100 dialysis patients suggested that pomegranate juice may help ward off infections. In the study, the patients who were given pomegranate juice three times a week for a year had fewer hospitalizations for infections and fewer signs of inflammation, compared with patients who got the placebo.

Pomegranate extract in mouthwash may help control dental plaque, according to a small 2011 clinical trial with 30 healthy participants.

Pomegranate may help improve some signs of heart disease but the research isn’t definitive.

What Do We Know About Safety?

Some people, particularly those with plant allergies, may be allergic to pomegranate.

It’s unclear whether pomegranate interacts with the anticoagulant (blood thinning) medicine warfarin or drugs that work similarly in the body to warfarin.

Federal agencies have taken action against companies selling pomegranate juice and supplements for deceptive advertising and making drug-like claims about the products. For more on this, view the NCCIH Director’s Page entitled Excessive Claims.

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. 

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.


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