- Punica granatum L.
- Pomegranate family
Parts Usually Used
Seeds, rind of the fruit, fruit, rootbark
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
The pomegranate has slender, often spiny-tipped branches that bear
opposite, oblong or oval-lanceolate, shiny leaves about 1-2 inches
long. One to five large, red or orange-red flowers grow together on
the tips of axillary shoots. The brownish-yellow to red fruit, about
the size of an orange, is a thick-skinned, several-celled, many-seeded
berry; each seed is surrounded by red, acid pulp. Fruit ripens in
September and October. Fruit is juicy and edible.
Grows wild as a shrub in its native southern Asia and in hot areas
of the world. Under cultivation, it is trained to a tree of up to
20 feet, being grown in Asia, the Mediterranean region, South America,
and the southern states of the United States. Grown in greenhouses
in cooler climates.
Anthelmintic, alterative, astringent, hemostatic, laxative, refrigerant,
vermifuge, stomachic, tonic
20% tannin, inulin, mannitol, malic acid, calcium oxalate, pelletierrine,
isoquercitrin, an alkaloid
Legends, Myths and Stories
The pomegranate, along with the peach and the citron, was one of
China's 3 blessed fruits. To the Chinese, it was a symbol of fecundity
and a prosperous future. The many seeds represented numerous male
offspring earning fame and glory.
People of the Near East and the Greeks and Romans associated the
pomegranate with fecundity also. In Greece it was involved in the
story of the goddess of agriculture, Demeter, and her daughter Persephone.
When Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnapped Persephone, Zeus
promised to retrieve her if Persephone had not eaten anything in the
underworld. When it was discovered that she had eaten a few seeds
of a pomegranate given to her by Hades, a compromise settlement was
made: Persephone was allowed to stay with her mother 9 months of the
year but was required to spend the remaining 3 with Hades. The story
can be seen as an allegory representing the cycle of growth, decay,
and regeneration of vegetation, the time in the underworld representing
the resting period of the seed during the winter. The story of Persephone
was reenacted every year at the temple of Demeter at Eleusis near
Athens. In these rites, called the Eleusinian mysteries, the pomegranate
was considered the mystic fruit. These ceremonies were the most important
and impressive of all Greek religious celebrations and were later
adopted by the Romans.
The pomegranate is compared to the joys of a beguiling lover in the
Song of Solomon (4:3, 13; 6:11).
A remedy for tapeworm, pinworm and
roundworm since the time of ancient Greeks. It is high in tannin
content; that makes the rind of the fruit an astringent for internal
and external use; for skin problems, hiccoughs, dysentery,
diarrhea, leucorrhea, blood
purifier, as a gargle for
throat and mouth irritation,
prolapse of rectum or vagina, hemorrhoids,
chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis,
and as a vaginal douche for leukorrhea.
Large doses of the rind can cause cramps, vomiting, and other unpleasant
Care should be taken, using this herb, if chronic constipation is
As with the other toxic anthelmintics, do not mix with alcohol, oil