Fresh Clips: Pomegranate - Fruit of Life

A symbol of goodness since ancient times, this crimson treasure contains a cocktail of healthful compounds.

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Rich in antioxidants, pomegranate holds promise for preventing or treating a wide range of conditions, including Alzheimer's disease.

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By now, most of us have become familiar with research regarding pomegranate’s antioxidant activity. According to longtime Herb Companion friend and herb expert James A. Duke, Ph.D., the pomegranate has other untapped potential, as well. Duke says the fruit is one of the best sources of plant estrogens, such as estrone, which could be useful against Alzheimer’s disease. In one study cited by Duke, pomegranate juice significantly reduced the amyloid-beta plaque associated with Alzheimer’s.

Pomegranate’s abundance of phytoestrogens also could be used to promote female reproductive health and help treat menopausal symptoms. As a COX-2 inhibitor, the juice could help prevent certain types of cancer. And, based on recent studies that reveal antibacterial and antiseptic activities, pomegranate also holds promise against drug-resistant infections. Other potential pomegranate benefits include protecting the heart and preventing or treating diabetes, according to Duke.

More than 300 biological activities have been reported for pomegranate, yet only eight have been studied with clinical trials. With such extraordinary potential, Duke argues that additional clinical trials should begin now. (Meanwhile, treat your family to the delicious pomegranate recipe here.—Ed.)

For more, see Alternative and Complementary Therapies, April 2008; pp. 57-63.