In the past few years the pomegranate has been touted as a super food, but it was known for medicinal and beauty benefits and much more in ancient times. It is a symbol of prosperity and abundance in many cultures. Modern scientific studies have shown that this red fruit with its juicy arils also has an abundance of health benefits.
The pomegranate is high in vitamins and antioxidants. It has three times as many antioxidants as red wine and green tea, containing three types of poylphenols—tannins, athocyanins and ellagic acid. Various studies suggest that pomegranate juice and/or pomegranate extract helps support the immune system and promote healthy blood circulation, control bad cholesterol and keeps arteries clear, reduces the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke and the risk of certain cancers.
A Brief History
The name pomegranate is derived from Middle French—pomme garnete or “seeded apple.” Pomegranates are believed to have originated in Iran, known at that time as Persia. It is a fruit that is mentioned in Greek legends and ancient texts, including the Bible. Some even believe that it was a pomegranate, not an apple that was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
The pomegranate was brought to Egypt in 1600 BC where it became revered not only as an important food source (it was a required fruit in the pharaoh’s palace), but it was also used for medicinal purposes. The pomegranate was highly valued and is depicted in paintings in Egyptian tombs as it symbolized life after death. It is a symbol of fertility in some cultures and prosperity in others, inspired by the abundance of jewel-toned seeds within the bright red and sturdy round rind. It has also been used in wedding rituals in several cultures.
Skin Care Benefits
With its incredible antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties and ability to encourage radiant skin, pomegranate has been incorporated into skin care; especially anti-aging and sun care products. It can help with a number of skin care issues that women of color can face, including dry skin, age spots, hyperpigmentation, acne flare-ups and acne scars.
1. Cell Regeneration. Pomegranate helps protect the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) and helps with skin cell regeneration in the epidermis and dermis (inner layer), increasing circulation and healing the skin, aiding in tissue repair and wound healing.
2. Sun Protection. Pomegranate has sun protective compounds that protect the skin against free radical damage, help prevent skin cancer, relieve sunburn and reduce the signs of sun damage. Pomegranate seed oil works to protect against skin cancer because of ellagic acid, a polyphenol antioxidant found in large quantities in pomegranates, which researchers have found inhibits the growth of skin tumors.
3. Anti-Aging. Pomegranate protects against premature aging by helping reduce the signs of skin aging caused by sun damage and exposure, such as wrinkles and fine lines. It helps prevent hyperpigmentation and age spots.
4. Youthful Skin. It promotes smooth, firm skin by promoting collagen and elastin production and softens skin.
5. Dry Skin. It is a great ingredient for skin care because its small molecular structure allows it to penetrates deeply into the skin. It works for most skin types, (which depends on the skin care ingredients pomegranate is combined with).
Since pomegranate oil penetrates deeply into the skin, it is effective for treating dry skin. It soothes dry, cracked and irritated skin. It contains punicic acid, an omega 5 fatty acid that hydrates and prevents moisture loss.
6. Oily Skin/Combination Skin. Pomegranate oil even works for oily skin and the use of pomegranate have been beneficial in skin care products for acne prone skin, to combat breakouts, reduce scarring and sooth minor irritations.