Punica granatum

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  Punica granatum

 

Punica granatum L., pomegranate, Punicaceae, is native to Iran, but now widely cultivated in the tropical countries for the very popular fruit.   It is a sparsely spinescent large bush or a small tree.

A flowering tree (Punica granatum1), young leaves (Punica granatum2), flower buds and open flowers (Punica granatum3 & Punica granatum4), the fruit (Punica granatum5) and the cut fruit exposing the yellow rind and seed separators (Punica granatum6) which are medicinally the most important part of the fruit,  are illustrated. 

The edible part of pomegranate is the fleshy and juicy coat of the seed that is light to bright pink.   Pomegranate juice is one of the most favourite, but among the expensive, fruit juices in the world.    It is a good source of sugars, vitamin C and iron.  

The dried seeds, particularly of the wild trees, are sour and slightly pungent and used as a condiment called anardana.    

Pomegranate has several therapeutic attributes, the most important being as an antimicrobial.   The alkaloids pelletierine, isopelletierin, tannates and friedelin in the bark have a strong anthelminthic activity.   Leaves, particularly young leaves, rich in phenolic compounds, have astringent and antimicrobial effects.     Flower buds are used in bronchitis.   Traditionally, the yellow fruit rind and the membranous separators have been dried, powdered and mixed with buttermilk or curds and given in gastrointestinal infections in India, for a long time, for its astringent and antimicrobial effects.   It has been shown that even the water extract of the yellow part of the fruit has a very wide spectrum antibacterial activity, very effective against the cholera bacterium and also cures the Madras eye infection.

Flowers yield a red dye.   Fruit rind is rich in tannins used in industry.