Herb: Pomegranate


Latin name: Punica granatum


Family: Punicaceae



Medicinal use of Pomegranate:

The pomegranate has a long history of herbal use dating back more than 3,000 years. All parts of the plant contain unusual alkaloids, known as "pelletierines", which paralyse tapeworms so that they are easily expelled from the body by using a laxative. The plant is also rich in tannin, which makes it an effective astringent. It is used externally in the treatment of vaginal discharges, mouth sores and throat infections. The whole plant, but in particular the bark, is antibacterial, antiviral and astringent. This remedy should be used with caution, overdoses can be toxic. The flowers are used in the treatment of dysentery, stomach ache and cough. Along with the leaves and seeds, they have been used to remove worms. The seeds are demulcent and stomachic. The fruit is a mild astringent and refrigerant in some fevers and especially in biliousness. It is also cardiac and stomachic. The dried rind of the fruit is used in the treatment of amoebic dysentery, diarrhoea etc. It is a specific remedy for tapeworm infestation. The stem bark is emmenagogue. Both the stem and the root barks are used to expel tapeworms. Use this with caution, the root bark can cause serious poisoning.The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The dried pericarp is decocted with other herbs and used in the treatment of colic, dysentery, leucorrhoea etc.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
5 m
(16 feet)

Flovering:
June to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Dry limestone soils to 2700 metres in the Himalayas.

Edible parts of Pomegranate:

Fruit - raw. Juicy and refreshing with a sub-acid flavour, they are considered delicious by many people though others do not like the large number of seeds with relatively little fruit pulp. The fruit juice can be used in soups, sauces, jellies, ice cream, cakes etc. The fruit contains about 1.5% protein, 1.6% fat, 16.8% carbohydrate, 0.6% ash. Annual yields from wild trees in the Himalayas averaged 32kg per tree. The fruit is about 12cm in diameter. The fresh seed is soft and can be eaten raw. When dried it is used as a seasoning in dal, fried samosa, stuffings and chutneys. The boiled leaves are said to be eaten.

Other uses of the herb:

A red dye is obtained from the flowers and also from the rind of unripened fruits. The dye can be red or black and it is also used as an ink. It is coppery-brown in colour. No mordant is required. A fast yellow dye is obtained from the dried rind. The dried peel of the fruit contains about 26% tannin. The bark can also be used as a source of tannin. The root bark contains about 22% tannin, a jet-black ink can be made from it. Plants are grown as hedges in Mediterranean climates. Wood - very hard, compact, close grained, durable, yellow. Used for making agricultural implements. A possible substitute for box, Buxus spp.

Propagation of Pomegranate:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse, preferably at a temperature of 22C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first 2 growing seasons. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 4 - 5cm with a heel, June/July in a frame. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood, 20 - 25cm long, November in a warm greenhouse. Layering. Division of suckers in the dormant season. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we prefer to pot them up first and plant them out when they are growing away well in late spring or early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry limestone soils to 2700 metres in the Himalayas.

Known hazards of Punica granatum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.