PK Needs Modern Cultivars To Increase Pomegranate Production

The P. granatum plant is a shrub or small tropical and subtropical tree cultivated for its delicious fruits, benefits, medicinal properties, ornamental value, and religious significance.

PK Needs Modern Cultivars To Increase Pomegranate Production

Punica granatum L., commonly known as the pomegranate, is a perishable superfruit that grows all over the world. The P. granatum plant is a shrub or small tropical and subtropical tree cultivated for its delicious fruits, benefits, medicinal properties, ornamental value, and religious significance.

The primary centre of origin for the pomegranate is Iran’s Transcaucasia-Caspian region, but the region from Iran to India is also considered a secondary origin.

Currently, pomegranate cultivation spans over 300,000 hectares worldwide. In 2021, SkyQuest estimated that the global market for pomegranates would reach $24.8 billion, reflecting a 5.3% increase compared to the previous year.

In terms of volume, the industry produced more than 3.0 million tonnes in 2021, compared to 2.8 million tonnes in 2020. China is the leading pomegranate producer globally, followed by India. China, India, Iran, Turkey, and the United States collectively account for 76% of global production. Between 2020 and 2021, Pakistan produced 53,374 tons of pomegranates across 6,612 hectares.

It is worth noting that pomegranate (Punica granatum) holds the status of a national fruit in Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and Iran. This article explores the medicinal uses of pomegranate and its various parts, as well as its significance in different cultural and medical traditions.

The beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH) said,

“Pomegranate and its rind strengthen the digestive tract” (narrated by Abu Nuaim, as quoted by Ali).

Health Benefits of Pomegranate

The pomegranate is a fruit of paradise with numerous health benefits, as documented in recent studies. It is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as folic acid.

The pomegranate plant has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, anti-depressant, diuretic, cardio-protective, antidiarrheal, antioxidant, anti-obesity, and anti-diabetic properties. Pomegranate is also useful in the production of cosmetic products, such as anti-dandruff creams.

1. Fighting cancer: Studies have shown that pomegranate juice can combat breast cancer, prevent lung cancer, and slow the growth of prostate cancer.

2. Neonatal brain protection: Pomegranate juice is particularly beneficial for pregnant women as it protects the baby’s brain from damage.

3. Alzheimer’s disease: Pomegranates aid in the prevention and slowing down of Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Blood pressure reduction: Research indicates that consuming 0.05 liters of pomegranate juice per day can lower systolic blood pressure by up to 5 percent.

5. Cholesterol reduction: Pomegranates lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol).

6. Dental protection: Studies suggest that consumption of pomegranate juice can naturally prevent dental plaque.

7. Flawless skin: Pomegranates contribute to maintaining a clear, youthful appearance by reducing skin inflammation. They have been suggesting ways to delay the symptoms of ageing.

8. Immune system protection: Pomegranates are an excellent source of antioxidants, which protect the immune system.

9. Anaemia prevention: Due to their iron content, pomegranates support healthy blood circulation and prevent anaemia.

10. Antiviral properties: Pomegranate juice possesses antioxidant properties that make it effective against viruses.

Medicinal Benefits of Pomegranate in Islamic Teachings

This fruit is nothing short of a wonder in terms of nutrition and structure. Indeed, every creation of God deserves thoughtful consideration.

The pomegranate, a delicious fruit, is mentioned three times in the Quran: in Surah Al-Anaam, Chapter 6, Verses 99 and 141, and in Surah Ar-Rahman, Chapter 55, Verse 68. It possesses a lovely structure with a gem-like beauty, covered in layers resembling a honeycomb, each representing the sustainer.

The pomegranate is considered one of the fruits awaited in Jannah (Paradise) and can be tasted here, offering a glimpse of its divine origins. Every time we look at or consume these fruits, we should realize the immense blessings they provide.

The Quran mentions them to inspire faith in the oneness of God and encourage gratitude for His provision of such beneficial fruits. The benefits of pomegranates are indeed God-gifted, and we should praise Him for them.

Imam Rida said, “Eating pomegranate increases sperm count in men and produces beautiful offspring.” (Al-Mahasen, Vol. 2, p. 546)

Imam Ali al-Rida said, “Eat pomegranate to freshen your breath.” (Tib al-Rida)

Imam Ali al-Naqi said, “Eat pomegranate after cupping. Pomegranate cleanses the blood and purifies the body from within.” (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 59, p. 123)

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq said: “Every Prophet loved pomegranate and brought it with them. In a pomegranate, there is a seed from paradise. Eat pomegranate alone, without sharing it with anyone.” (Al-Mahasen, Vol. 2, p. 521)

Imam Ali al-Rida said, “Eat pomegranate; it increases blood and gives strength to the body.” (Tib Imam Ali Rida, p. 61)

Imam Ali said, “Give pomegranates to children so that they grow up quickly and speak.” (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 66, p. 156)

The Prophet said, “Pomegranate juice cleanses the internal organs of the body.” (Tibb al-Nabawi, p. 29)

Imam Ali said, “Eat pomegranate; it revives the heart, corrects the soul, and dispels satanic whispers.” (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 66, p. 156)

Imam Ali said: “Whoever eats pomegranate with a happy face on Fridays, Allah keeps his heart illuminated for forty days. If he eats two, it remains illuminated for one hundred and twenty days. If he eats three, it keeps away satanic whispers on the same day.” (Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 974)

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq said: “The pomegranate is the leader of one hundred and twenty species of fruits that were brought from Paradise by Adam.” (Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 975)

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq said, “The smoke of the pomegranate tree kills worms and insects.” (Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 974)

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq said, “Eat pomegranate with its white inner skin because it reforms the stomach and increases intelligence.” (Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 972)

Imam Sadiq (as) said: “Whoever eats pomegranate for breakfast, his heart remains alive for forty days. His heart will be luminous.” (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 66)

Imam Jafar al-Sadiq said: “Eat pomegranate because even a single pomegranate seed entering your stomach removes a disease from your body. It eliminates satanic whispers and aids digestion.” (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 66, p. 164)

The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said, “There is not a pomegranate that does not have a pip from one of the pomegranates of the Garden of Jannah (Paradise) in it.”

Traditional Medicinal Uses

Pomegranate has been valued in traditional medicine systems for centuries.

1. Ayurvedic Medicine: All parts of the pomegranate plant, including roots, bark, flowers, fruits, and leaves, are used in Ayurveda. It is considered a potent blood tonic, anti-parasitic agent, and remedy for various conditions such as diarrhoea, ulcers, and bleeding gums.

2. Islamic Medicine: Pomegranate is mentioned in Islamic tradition for its ability to treat jaundice, spleen disorders, heart choking, coughs, enhance the voice, and cleanse the face.

3. Persian Medicine: In Persian medicine, pomegranate is used to alleviate hunger headaches and heal oral aphthae. It is also believed to strengthen the mind and improve blood quality.

4. In Greco-Arab medicine, the bark and root are used for treating various ailments, including cough and bile disorders.

According to Bu Ali Sina’s book on pomegranates, they possess various medicinal properties. They can stop bleeding, strengthen gums, heal chronic wounds, and aid in treating liver inflammation, coughing, and sores.

According to nutritionists, pomegranates are a nutritious and heavenly fruit packed with minerals and vitamins. They contain potassium, sodium, sugars, fibre, vitamins A, B6, B12, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Pomegranates are beneficial for skin, hair, and nail health, improving heart health, alleviating anaemia, and treating various diseases.

Specific Parts and Their Uses

Different parts of the pomegranate offer various health benefits:

Punica granatum bark

Traditionally, a portion of Pgranatum bark has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, inflammation, nosebleeds, sore throats, ulcers, and hoarseness. The bark is also used to combat parasitic diseases like malaria. Additionally, bark extracts from P. granatum inhibit iron corrosion due to their high thermal properties and acidity.

Punica granatum flowers

Pomegranate flowers have traditionally been used to treat cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. They have antimicrobial properties and have been found effective in treating common bacteria such as Salmonella enteritidis and Kentucky, which cause intestinal infections.

Punica granatum leaves

The leaves of P. granatum are used to treat and control cholesterol, promote weight loss, and manage diabetes nephropathy.

Studies have shown that the leaves possess anti-inflammatory, anticholinesterase, and cytotoxic properties, as well as antibacterial and antibiotic effects.

Furthermore, researchers have identified anti-diabetic and anti-cancer properties. Another study found that the leaf extract has antidandruff and anti-lice properties, suggesting its potential use in stimulating hair growth.

Punica granatum seeds

Pomegranate seeds have antimicrobial, anti-cancer, and antioxidant effects. They are traditionally used to prevent pregnancy and treat urinary problems. They are used in the treatment of various diseases, such as cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, and obesity, as well as for improving male fertility.

Punica granatum peels

The peels of pomegranates make up 43% of the fruit. Extracts from the peel are frequently used in the treatment of ulcers and diarrhoea, as well as inhibiting RNA replication.

They are also used as ruminant feed. Pharmaceutical properties identified in pomegranate peels include antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-malignant effects. Fruit peels have been found to have antioxidant activity in breast cancer.

Punica granatum juice extracts

Pomegranate juice, derived from the sweet red arils, is highly recommended for its vitamin C content. It is also a source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, zinc, and copper.

Conclusion

Pomegranate is a remarkable fruit that offers numerous health benefits and holds significance in Islamic teachings. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, possesses anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, aids in maintaining cardiovascular health, reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, protects against Alzheimer’s disease, boosts the immune system, and promotes flawless skin.

Islamic teachings highlight the medicinal benefits of pomegranate, including its effects on fertility, digestion, blood purification, and overall well-being.

Furthermore, traditional medicine systems such as Ayurveda and Persian medicine have long recognized the therapeutic potential of different parts of the pomegranate plant. From the bark to the seeds, each component offers unique health benefits. Overall, pomegranate is a divine gift of nature with versatile medicinal uses and cultural significance.

This article is jointly authored by Ali Abid, Dr. Muqadas Aleem, and Dr. Muhammad Azam Khan.