Out tincture is a special blend of the whole fruit (including seeds) into a red wine and alcohol medium. It can be used as a medicine or as a culinary enhancers (drinks and food alike). It is a very special, potent blend of goodness.
Pomegranate comes from the latin words for apple (pomum) and seed (granatum), altogether meaning ‘seeded-apple’. The seeds of the pomegranate are embedded in a white membrane that is also used for its medicinal qualities in Ayurveda. The french word for pomegranate, grenade, gave rise to the military term grenade. The city of Grenada in Spain was also named after the pomegranate.
As much as there is an increased interest in pomegranate’s medical value, we must never forget how it’s been used in the various cultures and cuisines. Pomegranate has been a sacred fruit in most religions. In Greek mythology, the seeds symbolized life, regeneration, and marriage. The pomegranate probably originated in Iran and Afghanistan and in Persian mythology eating a pomegranate helped you become invincible. In Judaism – a pomegranate is said to contain 613 seeds – one for each of the Bible’s 613 commandments. The pomegranate was revered for the beauty of its shrub, flowers, and fruit—symbolizing sanctity, fertility, and abundance. In Christianity, in medieval representations, the pomegranate tree, a fertility symbol, is associated with the end of a unicorn hunt. In Islamic culture, pomegranates have had a special role as a fertility symbol in weddings among the Bedouins of the Middle East. A fine specimen is secured and split open by the groom as he and his bride open the flap of their tent or enter the door of their house. Abundant seeds ensure that the couple who eat it will have many children. In India, pomegranate juice is squeezed freshly on the sides of the street (often using manual pressing machines from 1940-ties) as a refreshing elixir which is often given for young wives to ensure fertility.
You can tell the common theme here: fertility, wellbeing, strength, abundance. I always feel that when a food has gained a strong place in so many disparate cultures, it must be for some very good reason.
Pomegranates are good for both fertility but also to treat and prevent breast cancer. It is a powerful antioxidant. The seeds are rich in lignans which provide antioxidant, anti-cancer and estrogenic effects.
Today, most references to phytoestrogens in the popular media refer primarily to isoflavones found in soy and the lignin’s in flax, but the pomegranate’s phytoestrogenic properties are just as impressive, perhaps even more so. There is a large store of 17-alfa-estradiol in pomegranate seed oil. This compound is a mirror image version of the estrogen produced in the highest quantities in the female body. To the best of science knowledge, this was the first time it has ever been found in plant sources.“
This explains the centuries of fascination with this fruit and its use as a fertility elixir.
Soothe Burning & Irritation (calming Vata)
When heartburn, gas, & bloating leave irritation and burning in its wake, pomegranate juice is a tried-and-true remedy. The sour taste in both pomegranate reduces production of irritating stomach acids, while astringency cools down inflammation.
Pomegranate is excellent for all heat conditions of the digestive tract, including nausea. If you get nausea on an empty stomach or even morning sickness, it may be due to hyperacidity in the stomach.
Blood Tonic Beverage (pitta)
If you are anemic or just feeling a little run-down and depleted, you may have a mild case of blood deficiency. Pull down your bottom eyelid and look in the mirror. If you see that the capillary bed looks pale, this is a great drink for you. The red color of pomegranate is an indicator that it has blood tonifying properties. Pomegranate helps in the production of red blood cells as it rebuilds fluids. It’s sweetness, anti-oxidants and sour taste nourish the liver and restore blood chemistry. Together, these qualities make Pomegranate a great blood tonic. It builds the blood without building heat, which is why Pomegranate is an ideal fix for problems of the blood.
There is a lot of talk about alkaline foods. In Ayurveda, we translate that to mean foods that cool the blood. The next time you feel overheated, sip some pomegranate and check in to how your body feels about ten minutes later. Chances are, you feel relaxation around the eyes where you once felt tension. Your mind softens and your emotions cool down. You have just been “alkalized!!”
Glowing Skin Tonic
Skin disorders start in the liver. When the liver is taxed and overheated in summer, the skin comes to rescue by helping the liver detoxify the blood. The result is ruddy, acne ridden complexion as blood toxins come to the surface and irritate your skin. When this happens your skin will look inflamed, hot, and puffy. The liver cleansing & nourishing qualities of pomegranate restores strength to the liver and thus beauty to the skin. You’ll feel your skin relax after drinking Pomegranate.
Pomegranate is strongly sour, thus encouraging secretions in the digestive tract and salivary glands. These secretions improve taste, digestion, and regular elimination (functioning as a mild laxative and reducing gas). Their watery nature alleviates dryness, hydrating both the skin and internal membranes such as the colon.
Although many sours are irritating topically, pomegranate is a rare gem because it is a soothing exception to the rule. This makes pomegranate a very useful digestive aid to those suffering from high Pitta in the digestive tract. If a pomegranate mocktail is too cold for you, and suppresses your natural appetite, add pinch of ginger powder to warm it up a touch and pacify frazzled Vata. To counteract dryness in Vata pushing Pitta type digestive tract, add lime and a pinch of salt. Pomegranate is also used as a rejuvenator. Our friend and Ayurvedic practitioner, Aubrey Bamdad, suggests adding the bitterness of aloe vera to this recipe. We agree and love this delicious, cooling variation!
Pomegranate was used in ancient times for heart and muscle strenth, perhaps due to pomegranates sourness which dilates blood vessels and improves circulation. In modern times, pomegranate is used to improve muscle strength and reduce soreness after exercising.
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Pomegranates cooling, pitta pacifying qualities, ability to improve blood vessel function, and its ability to calm pitta in the mind make it useful for high blood pressure.
Good for estrogenic cancers (breast, uterine, thyroid), fibroids and endometriosis. Estrogen is a much-needed hormone in any woman’s body – each of us needs it to stay strong, sharp, slim, juicy, energetic and with a healthy cycle. Some plants including pomegranates are what is called Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs). SERM is a compound that attached itself to an estrogen receptor so there is no room for the antagonistic estrogen to attach itself to the cell. If estrogen isn’t attached to a breast cell, the cell doesn’t receive estrogen’s signals to grow and multiply.
Once again, the genius of mother nature. It’s nature’s gift to us, women, that pomegranates are great for both women low in estrogen (such as in perimenopause and menopause) but also women who experience estrogen dominance (hence ER+ breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, PMS, thyroid nodules).
Interestingly, Tamoxifen ( a drug prescribed to ER+ breast cancer patients), is a SERM as well except that it has a long list of side effects and is therefore not recommended to be used in the long term.
Here is some of the research:
“In conclusion, our findings suggest that PME displays a SERM profile and may have the potential for prevention of estrogen-dependent breast cancers with beneficial effects in other hormone-dependent tissues.”
“Pomegranate extract has been shown to inhibit reproduction of breast cancer cells, and may even kill some of them.”
About 18% of the pomegranate seeds contain punicic acid which highly valued by the skin care industry due to its potent skin regenerative properties.