Pomegranate

c. Susun Weed
Punica granatum

Pomegranate

Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a
pomegranate within thy locks.” Song of Solomon


Type: Nourishing tonic

Properties: Cardio-tonic, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial

Part Used: The fruit with the seeds, or the juice (active constituents of the seeds and the skin)

Preparation and Dose: As little as two ounces of juice a day is effective.

Pomegranate contains: Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, carotenes, biotin, and folates (folic acid); calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc; ellagic acid, punicalagins, polyphenols, fiber.

Cautions: None.

Pomegranate, known as the holy fruit or “forbidden apple,” offers us a delicious way to lower blood pressure, counter plaque buildup in the blood vessels, reduce inflammation throughout the cardiovascular system and “significantly reduce the risks of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack,” according to current research.

Pomegranate juice is better than fresh pomegranate as it contains the important medicinal properties found in the seeds and skin of the
pomegranate, parts rarely eaten when the fruit is consumed raw.
Pomegranate juice works through at least three pathways. First, it reduces oxidation stress throughout the cardiovascular system. Second, it supports the synthesis and activity of nitric oxide. Third, it inhibits oxidation of LDL, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation. In mice, "oxidation of LDL by peritoneal macrophages was reduced by up to 90% after pomegranate juice consumption..." Statin drugs lower cholesterol, so they reduce LDL, but they do little to counter oxidation, the primary cause of blood vessel disease.

Pomegranate directly lowers cholesterol, but it is its antioxidant ability that is notable. The higher the LDL, the faster atherosclerosis develops. But it is oxidized LDL that is the real problem. Oxidized LDL damages the cells that line the coronary arteries, setting the stage for a heart attack. Oxidized LDL also impairs the ability of enzymes that produce nitric oxide, this, in turn, means the blood vessels cannot respond as quickly to change. Recent studies confirm pomegranate’s ability to reduce oxidant-related cellular changes and to “markedly impede the progression of atherosclerosis.”

It is not only perfectly safe to drink pomegranate juice while taking a statin, but doing so has been shown to increase the effectiveness of the statin drug. So much so, that a lower dose of statin can be used, meaning less side effects and greater protection for the heart.

Nitric oxide scavenges reactive oxygen, prevents LDL oxidation, deters the adhesion and aggregation of blood cells and platelets, inhibits the proliferation of smooth muscle cells throughout the vascular system, and improves the health of the endothelial cells which line the blood vessels. Pomegranate juice supercharges these effects.

Drinking as little as a cup of pomegranate juice daily can decrease atherosclerotic lesions in the common carotid artery by 35%. (The lesions increased by 9% in the control group.) One of pomegranate’s best qualities is its ability to effectively prevent the overgrowth of muscle cells in blood vessel walls. This overgrowth contributes to high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, and plaque formation.

Daily use of as little as 2 ounces of pomegranate juice daily can reduce systolic blood pressure in as little as two weeks. Continue consuming up to two cups a day and you may lower systolic pressure by as much as 21%. (It does not seem to have any effect on diastolic pressure.) High blood pressure literally erodes the blood vessels, damaging them and creating inflammation. Pomegranate juice decreases the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). Drugs that inhibit ACE activity are commonly used to treat hypertension; pomegranate juice may be a better choice.

Preliminary evidence suggests that pomegranate keeps the carotid arteries clear of fatty deposits and helps counter hardening of the arteries. It certainly has been shown to improve blood flow to the heart. But it does not seem to prevent narrowing of the blood vessels in the heart itself (stenosis).

Pomegranate not only prevents blood vessel disease, it counters it as well. In a study of people with established coronary heart disease and cardiac ischemia (insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle), those who were randomly assigned to drink 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily showed a significant improvement in blood flow to the heart muscle. (The placebo group worsened.)

Pomegranate juice quenches free radicals at least three times better that other celebrated antioxidant foods and vitamins including wine, blueberries, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Don’t take a vitamin pill, drink some pomegranate juice instead.