Pomegranate, Ancient Super Fruit, Modern Science

The pomegranate has been cultivated since ancient times. There are numerous references to the fruit in the Bible. In fact, some Jewish scholars believe the pomegranate was the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden.[1] Let’s look and see what current science has discovered about this super fruit.

In both preliminary laboratory research and clinical trials, researchers concluded that pomegranate juice may be effective in reducing certain heart disease risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status and foam cell formation.[2][3][4]

A macrophage is a type of white blood cell that engulfs and digests cellular debris and foreign substances. Foam cells are a type of macrophage seen in atherosclerosis.

In mice “oxidation of LDL by peritoneal macrophages was reduced by up to 90% after pomegranate juice consumption”.[5]

In a study of people with high blood pressure consumption of pomegranate juice for just two weeks was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure. The juice was found to work by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE) in the same manner that ACE inhibiting high blood pressure drugs work.[6]

According to some research pomegranate juice may inhibit viral infections.[7]

Pomegranates have even been shown to benefit our teeth! The extract of these super fruits have been shown to have antibacterial effects against dental plaque.[8]

In February of 2010 the FDA issued a warning letter to the company POM Wonderful who makes pomegranate juice. The company had been sharing published literate of the antioxidant properties of pomegranate juice without getting permission from the FDA.[9][10][11]

Don’t just eat off the juicy fruit off of those little pomegranate seeds and spit out the seed. Research has uncovered that those little seeds contain numerous beneficial micronutrients.[12][13]


[1]  “A Pomegranate for All Religions” by Nancy Haught, Religious News Service

[2] Aviram M; Rosenblat M; Gaitini D et al. (June 2004). “Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation”.Clin Nutr 23 (3): 423–33. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2003.10.002.PMID 15158307.

[3] Esmaillzadeh A, Tahbaz F, Gaieni I, Alavi-Majd H, Azadbakht L (2004). “Concentrated pomegranate juice improves lipid profiles in diabetic patients with hyperlipidemia”.J Med Food 7 (3): 305–8.doi:10.1089/1096620041938623. PMID 15383223.

[4] Kaplan M; Hayek T; Raz A et al. (1 August 2001). “Pomegranate juice supplementation to atherosclerotic mice reduces macrophage lipid peroxidation, cellular cholesterol accumulation and development of atherosclerosis”. J Nutr. 131 (8): 2082–9. PMID 11481398.

[5] Aviram M; Dornfeld L; Rosenblat M et al. (May 2000). “Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice”.Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 71 (5): 1062–76. PMID 10799367. Retrieved 2011-03-24.

[6] Aviram M, Dornfeld L (September 2001).“Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure”. Atherosclerosis 158 (1): 195–8. doi:10.1016/S0021-9150(01)00412-9. PMID 11500191.

[7] Neurath AR, Strick N, Li YY, Debnath AK (2004). “Punica granatum (Pomegranate) juice provides an HIV-1 entry inhibitor and candidate topical microbicide”. BMC Infect. Dis. 4 (1): 41. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-41.PMC 533885. PMID 15485580.

[8] Menezes SM, Cordeiro LN, Viana GS (2006). “Punica granatum (pomegranate) extract is active against dental plaque”. Journal of herbal pharmacotherapy 6 (2): 79–92. doi:10.1300/J157v06n02_07.PMID 17182487.

[9] “Pom Wonderful Warning Letter”. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 2011-03-24.

[10]“Understanding Front-of-Package Violations: Why Warning Letters Are Sent to Industry”. Retrieved 2011-03-24.

[11] Starling S (March 3, 2010). “FDA says Pom Wonderful antioxidant claims not so wonderful”. NutraIngredients.com. Retrieved March 6, 2010.

[12] Nutrition data for raw pomegranate, Nutritiondata.com

[13] Schubert SY, Lansky EP, Neeman I (July 1999). “Antioxidant and eicosanoid enzyme inhibition properties of pomegranate seed oil and fermented juice flavonoids”. J Ethnopharmacol 66 (1): 11–17. doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(98)00222-0. PMID 10432202.


Ear Infection, a Naturopathic Perspective

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons why a child is taken to a doctor. Although children are more likely to get ear infections, it is common for adults to get them also. In recent years there has been an increase in the frequency of ear infections worldwide.

Let’s take a look at some published studies done to determine the efficacy of using natural and nontoxic ear oil that is commonly found in health food stores. Note that this oil can be made easily at home for a fraction of the price.

A double blind study was done on 171 children with middle-ear infections. During the study they found that children who were given naturopathic ear drops alone had a better response than children who were given ear drops together with antibiotics.

During the study “no evidence was found that systemic antibiotics alone improved treatment outcome”. The study went on to say, “these herbal extracts have the potential to meet all of the requirements of appropriate medication that could be routinely used in the pediatric patient, namely in vitro bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal activity against common pathogens, immunostimulation ability, antioxidant activity, and anti-inflammatory effects”. “They are also well-absorbed with good penetration into the tissue surrounding the tympanic membrane (eardrum). They have been found to enhance local immunologic activity. Finally, herbal extracts are well-tolerated, easy to administer, and less expensive than the new antibiotics. There are no documented side effects”.(1)

Another study was done with 103 children between the ages of 6 and 18 years old. The conclusion was that “an ear drop formula of naturopathic origin is as effective as anaesthetic ear drops and was proven appropriate for the management of AOM-associated ear pain”.(2)

Both of these studies used several herbs in the formula, but the two herbs common in both formulas were garlic (allium sativum) and mullein flowers (verbascum thapsus) in a base of olive oil. The formula is known as Garlic Mullein ear oil and I have seen it work wonders for folks since 1996 when I owned and operated a health food store in New York.

The following video shows how to make ear oil. Note that you don’t need to use fresh mullein flowers and that dried mullein flowers can be purchased online from companies that sell dried herbs. However, with dried flowers you would need to heat the oil/flower blend to extract out the medicinal components of the mullein flowers. There are many ways to make ear oil. This is just one example

(1)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12728112

(2)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11434846