Remains of the pomegranate tree have been found in Egyptian tombs more than 4000 years old. Israelites appreciated this fruit too. Greeks regarded pomegranates as the symbol of love and fertility: the pomegranate tree was dedicated to Aphrodite since its fruit was alleged an aphrodisiac.
The great Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author Pedanius Dioscorides, in the 1st century A.D., recommended the root of the pomegranate tree to “expel wide worms out of the belly.” Indeed he was talking about taeniae. However, this plant was not used again with these goals until 1800 years after Dioscorides.
The pomegranate tree is a beautiful tree that has been carried all over the world. Phoenicians brought it from western Asia to the Mediterranean area, and Romans first, then Arabs, spread it all over southern European countries. Spaniards introduced it to America, where it spread all over the continent.
Pomegranate Tree Scientific Facts
- French: Granadier.
- Spanish:L Granado.
- Environment: Native to Persia and cultivated in Mediterranean countries and America, from California to Argentina and Chile. Some trees grow wild whenever birds defecate seeds after eating the fruits.
- Description: Tree of the Punicaceae family, growing up to 4 m high, with beautiful, unique flowers, bright red, with opened calyx. The fruit is pomegranate.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The tree bark (especially its root), the flowers, and the fruits (pomegranate).
Healing Properties and Warning
The root bark and the lesser proportion of the trunk and branches bark contain several alkaloids, the most important being pelletierine. It also contains tannin, glycosides with astringent properties, and bromide. Its principal property is vermifuge: it helps to expel parasitic worms in the human intestine and is especially effective for taeniae.
The bark of the pomegranate tree, and especially that of its root, owes its properties to the alkaloids it contains. However, when these active components are administered isolated, they have toxic effects on the body, similar to those caused by nicotine or curare: muscular shivers and paralysis. These effects may also occur on the worms, allowing their expulsion through the anus.
However, when mixed with tannin and the other substances that form pomegranate tree bark, these alkaloids are well tolerated and practically lack any toxic effect on our body. The same happens with many other plants; therefore, it is better to administer the whole plant and not only extracts of the most active substances whenever possible. The healing action of plants is due to the wise combination of their components, not only on isolated active components.
The FRUIT rind, and its inner walls, also have vermifuge properties, though milder than the root or trunk bark. Sometimes a person who eats a pomegranate expels an intestinal worm days later, without the aim of doing so.
- Diarrhea, gastroenteritis, and colitis, taken as an infusion.
- Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and the tissues fixing teeth to the jawbone (periodontitis or periodontist). The infusion is applied in mouth rinsings and can help improve loose teeth.
- Pharyngitis and tonsilitis applied in gargles.
- Leukorrhea (white vaginal flow), applied in vaginal irrigations.
WARNING! The root bark of the pomegranate tree must never be administered to weak or nervous people, to children on a milk diet, and pregnant women. Never exceed the recommended doses.
How to use The Pomegranate Tree
- Cold extract with 60-90 g of root dried bark in half a liter of water. Steeping for 24 hours. Then boil over low heat until the liquid reduces a half. Drink for two or three days, in the morning, on an empty stomach. It can be sweetened with honey or flavored with peppermint essence. For children, put only 20-30 g of bark. A laxative infusion is recommended to be drunk a couple of hours after each intake.
- Infusion of flowers, with 20-30 g per liter of water. A pomegranate rind can be added per liter. Take a spoonful every hour until diarrhea stops.
- Mouth rinses and gargles, with the infusion of flowers with bark used internally.
- Vaginal cleansing or irrigations with the infusion mentioned above.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 523, 524. Print.