POMEGRANATE Punica granatum –
Punica granatum Linn. belongs to the family Punicaceace. It is a large deciduous
shrub up to 10m in height with smooth dark grey bark and often spinescent branchlets. Leaves are opposite, glabrous, minutely pellucid-punctuate, shining above and bright green beneath. Flowers are scarlet red or sometime yellow, mostly solitary, sometimes 2-4 held together. Stamens are numerous and inserted on the calyx below the petals at various levels. Fruits are globose, crowned by the persistent calyx. Rind is coriaceous and woody, interior septate with membraneous walls containing numerous seeds. Seeds are angular with red, pink or whitish, fleshy testa.
Pomegranate is a native of Iran, Afghanistan and Baluchistan. It is found growing wild
in the warm valleys and outer hills of the Himalaya between 900m and 1800m altitude. It is cultivated throughout India, the largest area being in Maharastra.
Pomegranate has long been esteemed as food and medicine and as a diet in
convalescence after diarrhoea. The rind of the fruit is highly effective in chronic diarrhoea
and dysentery, dyspepsia, colitis, piles and uterine disorders. The powdered drug boiled with buttermilk is an efficacious remedy for infantile diarrohoea. The root and stem bark are good for tapeworm and for strengthening the gums. The flowers are useful in vomiting, vitiated conditions of pitta, ophthalmodynia, ulcers, pharyngodynia and hydrocele. An extract of the flowers is very specific for epistaxis. The fruits are useful in anaemia, hyperdipsia, pharyngodynia, ophthalmodynia, pectoral diseases, splenopathy, bronchitis and otalgia. The fruit rind is good for dysentery, diarrhoea and gastralgia. Seeds are good for scabies, hepatopathy and splenopathy.
Properties and Activity
Pomegranate fruit rind gives an ellagitannin named granatin B, punicalagin, punicalin
and ellagic acid. Bark contains the alkaloids such as iso-pelletierine, pseudopelletierine,
methyl isopelletierine, methyl pelletierine, pelletierine as well as iso-quercetin, friedelin, Dmannitol and estrone. Flowers give pelargonidin-3, 5-diglucoside apart from sitosterol,
ursolic acid, maslinic acid, asiatic acid, sitosterol-b-D-glucoside and gallic acid. Seeds give malvidin pentose glycoside. Rind gives pentose glycosides of malvidin and pentunidin. Fluoride, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and phosphate are also reported from fruits. Leaves give elligatannins-granatins A and B and punicafolin.
Rind of fruit is astringent, fruit is laxative. Bark of stem and root is anthelmintic, and
febrifuge. Rind of fruit and bark of stem and root is antidiarrhoeal. Pericarp possesses
antifertility effect. Fixed oil from seeds are antibacterial. Bark, fruit pulp, flower and leaf are antifungal. Aerial part is CNS depressant, diuretic and hypothermic.
sources MEDICINAL PLANTS