The Wonders of Pomegranate

May 31, 2024

Accumulating data clearly claimed that Punica granatum L. (pomegranate) has several health benefits.

Pomegranates can help prevent or treat various disease risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, hyperglycemia, and inflammatory activities. It is demonstrated that certain components of pomegranate such as polyphenols have potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic effects. The antioxidant potential of pomegranate juice is more than that of red wine and green tea, which is induced through ellagitannins and hydrosable tannins.

Pomegranate juice can reduce macrophage oxidative stress, free radicals, and lipid peroxidation. Moreover, pomegranate fruit extract prevents cell growth and induces apoptosis, which can lead to its anticarcinogenic effects. In addition, promoter inhibition of some inflammatory markers and their production are blocked via ellagitannins. In this article, we highlight different studies on the therapeutic effects of pomegranate and their suggested mechanisms of actions.



The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and its major progressive degenerative joint disease, which could affect joint functions and quality of life in patients. It is mediated by proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 and TNF-α. MAPKs are important due to their inflammatory and cartilage damage regulation. P38-MAPKs are responsible for regulating cytokine production, neutrophils activation, apoptosis, and nitric oxide synthesis. The MAPK family phosphorylates a number of transcription factors such as runt-related transcription factor-2 (RUNX-2).

Pomegranate extract, with its rich source of polyphenols, can inhibit IL-1 β-induced activation of MKK3, DNA-binding activity of RUNX-2 transcription factor, and p38 α-MAPK isoform.


Rheumatoid arthritis 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects 0.5-1% of people worldwide. Women are afflicted more than men. This inflammatory disease is characterized by inflammation and bone erosion. Critical mediators in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis are TNF-α, IL-1 β, MCP1, Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and COX-2-agents, which are stimulated by p38-MAPK and NFκB activation.

It is shown that pomegranate extract could reduce the onset and incidence of collagen-induced arthritis in mice. Severity of arthritis, joint inflammation, and IL-6 level were significantly reduced in pomegranate extract-fed mice.


Antimicrobial/fungal effect 

Since bacterial resistance to antimicrobial drugs is increasing, medicinal plants have been considered as alternative agents. Pomegranate has been widely approved for its antimicrobial properties. It has been shown that dried powder of pomegranate peel has a high inhibition of Candida albicans. In addition, antimicrobial effects of both methanol and dichloromethane pomegranate extracts have been demonstrated on the Candida genus yeast as pathogen-causing disease in immunosuppressive host.  Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) (multiple antibiotics resistant) produce panta valentine leukocidin (PVL) toxin, which can lead to higher levels of morbidity and mortality. It is indicated that a combination of pomegranate peel extract with Cu (II) ions exhibit enhanced antimicrobial effects against isolated MSSA, MRSA, and PVL. One of the leading etiological bacteria of urinary tract infections is Escherichia Coli. Strong antibacterial activity of ethanol extract against E. coli has been shown.



Solar ultraviolet radiations are the primary causes of many biological effects such as photoaging and skin cancer. These radiations resulted in DNA damage, protein oxidation, and matrix metalloproteinases induction. In one study, the effects of pomegranate juice, extract, and oil were examined against UVB-mediated damage. These products caused a decrease in UVB-induced protein expression of c-Fos and phosphorylation of c-Jun. On the other hand, production of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1 β and IL-6 was decreased by topical application of 10 micromol/L of ellagic acid. The inflammatory macrophages infiltration was blocked in the integuments of SKH-1 hairless UVB-exposed mice for 8 weeks.


Dental effects 

The interbacterial coaggregations and these bacterial interactions with yeasts are related to the maintenance of oral microbiota. It is indicated that dried, powdered pomegranate peel shows a strong inhibition of C. albicans with a mean zone of 22 mm.In another study, the antiplaque effect of pomegranate mouth rinse has been reported. In addition, hydroalcoholic extract of pomegranate was very effective against dental plaque microorganisms (84% decrease (cfu/ml)).


Reproductive system 

One of the main constituents (16%) of the methanolic pomegranate seed extract is beta-sitosterol. It is suggested that the extract is a potent phasic activity stimulator in rat uterus, which happens due to the non-estrogenic effects of beta-sitosterol on inhibiting sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ -ATPase (SERCA) and K channel, which resulted in contraction by calcium entry on L-type calcium channels and myosin light chain kinase (MLCK). It is demonstrated that pomegranate fruit extract has an embryonic protective nature against adrianycin-induced oxidative stress (adrianycin is a chemotherapeutic drug used in cancer treatment). Moreover, pomegranate juice consumption could increase epididymal sperm concentration, motility, spermatogenic cell density, diameter of seminiferous tubules and germinal cell layer thickness.



Hartman et al. showed that mice treated by pomegranate juice have 50% less soluble Abeta 42 accumulation and amyloid deposition in the hippocampus, which could be considered for Alzheimer's disease improvement.



In the presence of pomegranate fruit rind, the induced MMP-9 mRNA levels by haemozoin or TNF was decreased, which may be attributed to the antiparasitic activity and the inhibition of the proinflammatory mechanisms responsible in the onset of cerebral malaria.



The anti-HIV-1 microbicide of pomegranate juice blocks virus binding to CD4 and CXCR4/CCR5, thereby preventing infection by primary virus clades A to G and group O.


Wound healing 

Use of pomegranate extract and flower showed significant reduction in wound area and increased the well-organized bands of collagen, fibroblasts, and few inflammatory cells. Properties of elevated wound contraction and the period of epithelialization, collagen, and protein synthesis were reported in hydroalcoholic pomegranate extract.

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