Fruiting plants and humans both have reproductive organs called ovaries, and in the case of pomegranate fruit, the anatomical resemblance is absolutely striking. Because our primary relationship to fruit is as a consumer, we are usually too immersed in the joyful act of eating fruit to take notice that it is by definition “the ripened ovary – together with the seeds – from one or more flowers of a plant.”
The differences between species are obvious, of course: fruit-ovaries disperse their seeds by being eaten, and then excreted by animals, whereas human-ovaries, remaining intact within the body, disperse their “seeds” (eggs) by way of the fallopian tubes.
Observing a cross-section of the pomegranate and the human ovary, side-by-side, you can see the remarkable resemblance. The ancient ‘law of signatures’ that Nature weaves into herself, and which is recognized by many systems of traditional medicine around the world, makes it so that sometimes a plant (food) will be of unique benefit to the very organ in the body that it resembles. The walnut, for instance, has a skull-like protective casing, enclosing the bi-hemispheric meat of its seed, which strikingly resembles the very human brain that it is known to nourish with omega-3 fatty acids and other neuroprotective compounds.
In the case of pomegranate fruit, which again, is the ripened ovary – together with the seeds (babies) – from the pomegranate flower, it so perfectly resembles the human ovary in structure (and as we will see, function) that the resemblance is unlikely to be accidental. Could this be Nature revealing her gift of healing in a way that is so obvious that you would have to be blind not to see it?
Is Pomegranate a Natural Alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy ?
What is perhaps more amazing than the anatomical resemblance of pomegranate to the human ovary, is it functional resemblance. Experiments have been performed revealing that pomegranate contains estrogens structurally and functionally similar to those found in mammals, namely, Estradiol, Estrone and Estriol, and are capable of replacing the function of the ovary when removed from female animals (the ovariectomy-induced postmenopausal experimental model).
In a study published in 2004 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, female rats, whose ovaries were removed, developed accelerated bone loss, loss of uterine weight and depressive symptoms which were reversed when administered pomegranate extract:
“Administration of pomegranate extract (juice and seed extract) for 2 weeks to ovariectomized mice prevented the loss of uterus weight and shortened the immobility time compared with 5% glucose-dosed mice (control). In addition, ovariectomy-induced decrease of BMD was normalized by administration of the pomegranate extract.”
Despite the powerful estrogenic properties of pomegranate, this amazing fruit does not exhibit well-known carcinogenic potential associated with synthetic, horse-derived (e.g. Premarin), and even so-called bio-identical or “plant-derived” estrogens. To the contrary, pomegranate has been shown to act selectively to modulate estrogen receptors (SERM) that are beneficial to the organism, while down-regulating activity at the receptors known to be associated with estrogen-sensitive cancers. This type of dynamic intelligence is unique to natural substances, and is not yet reproducible through pharmaceutical preparations.
In an August 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, pomegranate extract was compared to the drugs Tamoxifen (T) and Estradiol (E) and was shown to prevent activity associated with estrogen-dependent cancer promotion, without increasing the weight of the uterus, a well known indicator of the potential carcinogenicity of T and E:
“In conclusion, our findings suggest that PME [Pomegranate extract] displays a SERM profile and may have the potential for prevention of estrogen-dependent breast cancers with beneficial effects in other hormone-dependent tissues.”
In other words, pomegranate is not only non-carcinogenic but is a powerful anti-cancer agent. There have now been 12 studies on its experimentally-confirmed potential to suppress Breast, Prostate, Colorectal, Gastric and Uterine Cancers.
Hormone replacement, by principle, feeds the deficiency due to the well-known negative feedback loop within the endocrine system. It should be regarded as a powerful therapy, not without adverse, unintended consequences.
The change of life that attends the normal aging process, despite conventional classifications, is not a disease. When the burden of hormone production in women shifts away from the ovary (either via age or medical necessity, e.g. full hysterectomy) to the adrenal cortex, the body can be supported to produce additional hormones via basic nutrients, plant hormones and secretagogues, as well as stress reduction techniques and therapies, e.g. aromatherapy. Also, it is possible to regenerate steroid hormones that have undergone transformation into inactive or harmful metabolites via electron donors such as vitamin C.
Let’s look at some of the health benefits of the fruit that heals:
- Consumption of pomegranate decreases serum oxidative stress and reduces disease activity in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.Pomegranate extract suppresses inflammation and attenuates joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis.
- Extracts of gotu kola and pomegranate improve clinical symptoms of chronic periodontitis.
- Pomegranate juice prolongs PSA doubling time, inhibits cell proliferation and increases apoptosis in men with prostate cancer.
- Pomegranate reduces the intima media thickness size of the artery, while also reducing blood pressure and LDL oxidation.Safety: pomegranate juice does not adversely affect insulin sensitivity and contributes to reduction in weight gain.
- “Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) flower improves learning and memory performances impaired by diabetes mellitus .
- “Oral feeding of pomegranate fruit extract inhibits early biomarkers of UVB radiation-induced carcinogenesis. Pomegranate polyphenols have a protective effect against UVA- and UVB-induced cell damage. Pomegranate polyphenol inhibits UVB-mediated oxidative stress and photoaging in keratinocytes (skin cells).
- Pomegranate extract and beta-sitosterol may be a useful uterine stimulant. Pomegranate extract protects against alcohol and aspirin-induced gastric mucosal injury.
- Pomegranate fruit extract rich in punicalagin reverses the proatherogenic effects of perturbed shear stress on endothelial function .
- Pomegranate has blood sugar regulating properties.Pomegranate improves depressive symptoms and bone properties in a menopausal syndrome model due to its estrogen content (estradiol, estrone and estriol).
- Pomegranate inhibits ovariectomy-stimulated bone loss , and may be of clinical significance to women experiencing menopausal syndrome.
- Pomegranate juice has a chondroprotective effect in an animal mode of osteoarthritis of the knee joint.
- Pomegranate juice has a protective effect on kidney stone formation (nephrolithiasis) .
- Pomegranate juice reduces blood pressure by inhibiting Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) activity in diabetics.
- Pomegranate peel extract prevents liver fibrosis in biliary-obstructed patients.
- Pomegranate peel extract protects against ionizing radiation-induced enteritis and leukocyte damage.
- Pomegranate seed extract attenuates chemotherapy-induced acute nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity.
- Pomegranate seed oil fed to patients enhances B-cell function as measured by immunoglobulins G and M.
- Pomegranate seed oil has a protective effect against pesticide-induced nephrotoxicity .
- Pomegranate seed oil rich in punicic acid has a positive effect on lipid metabolism (particularly triglycerol metabolism) in obese, hyperlipidemics .
- Pomegranate seed oil suppresses chemically induced colon cancer .
- Punica granatum (pomegranate) ameliorates dextran sulfate sodium induced ulcerative colitis.
- Topical application of a methanolic extract of pomegranate speeds wound healing time .
- A combination of pomegranate rind extract, copper and vitamin C have antimicrobial activity against multidrug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- A variety of natural substances have preventive potential in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Bael (Aegle marmelos), Bombax ceiba (Salmalia malabarica), Pomegranate (Punica granatum), Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), Holarrhena antidysenterica, Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) and Triphala exhibit strong anti-Salmonella typhi activity, in vitro.
- Pomegranate and berries have a relatively high cellular antioxidant activity.
- Methanolic extract of pomegranate fruit demonstrates antibacterial activity against a broad range of pathogenic bacteria.Pomegranate peel extracts exhibit antibacterial and antifungal activity against oral pathogens.
- Pomegranate and fulvic acid may have therapeutic value in a wide range of viruses. Pomegranate exhibits antiviral activity.
- Pomegranate compounds exhibit antiproliferative and antiaromatase activity in breast cancer cells in vitro. Pomegranate fruit extract impairs invasion and motility in human breast cancer. Pomegranate has potent anti-aromatase activity warranting its use for human breast cancer.
- Pomegranate compounds modulate the growth of human gut bacteria, increasing levels of Bifidobacterium breve and Bifidobacterium infantis.
- Pomegranate contains four compounds ellagic acid, caffeic acid, luteolin and punicic acid, which inhibit prostate cancer cell invasion and have synergistic effects with one another. Pomegranate exhibits anti-cancer activity against breast cancer cells. Pomegranate exhibits significant antitumor activity against human prostate cancer.
- Pomegranate fruit exhibits protective properties against the advesrse effects of UVB radiation.
- Pomegranate fruit extract may hold promise in leukemia treatment.
- Pomegranate fruit peels exhibit broad antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens.
- Pomegranate inhibits human pancreatic cancer cells.Pomegranate juice, total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin suppress inflammatory cell signaling in colon cancer cells.Punicic acid, a conjugated linolenic fatty acid from pomegranate seed oil, protects from experimental colon inflammation by inhibiting TNF alpha-induced neutrophil hyperactiviation.
- Pomegranate polyphenol inhibits influenza virus and has a synergistic effect with oseltamivir.
- Pomegranate seed compounds have estrogen receptor enzyme modulating activity. Punicic acid, an omega-5 fatty acid found within pomegranate, is capable of inhibiting breast cancer proliferation. Unlike tamoxifen and estradiol pomegranate exerts selective estrogen receptor modulator activity without uterotrophic properties.
- Pomegranates have anti-influenza activity.
History is abundant with stories of pomegranate, its miraculous medicinal and healing properties. This is a special fruit, the miracle fruit, a fruit that represents fertility, procreation and prosperity in many cultures — a fruit of creative representation created by the Goddess of creation.
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