Chinese Name: Shi liu
Medical Name: Fructus punica
Latin Name: Punica granatum
Origin: Fruit
Taste: Sweet, slightly bitter

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

Western Research

Phytomedicine. 2009 Jul 6.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum) purified polyphenol extract inhibits influenza virus and has a synergistic effect with oseltamivir..
Haidari M, Ali M, Ward Casscells S 3rd, Madjid M..
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA; Texas Heart Institute, 6770 Bertner Ave., MC 2-255, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
We tested the hypothesis that pomegranate polyphenol extract (PPE) has anti-influenza properties. Using real time PCR, plaque assay, and TCID 50% hemagglutination assay, we have shown that PPE suppresses replication of influenza A virus in MDCK cells. PPE inhibits agglutination of chicken red blood cells (cRBC) by influenza virus and is virucidal. The single-cycle growth conditions indicated that independent of the virucidal effect PPE also inhibits viral RNA replication. PPE did not alter virus ribonucleoprotein (RNP) entry into nucleus or translocation of virus RNP from nucleus to cytoplasm in MDCK cells. We evaluated four major Polyphenols in PPE (ellagic acid, caffeic acid, luteolin, and punicalagin) and demonstrated that punicalagin is the effective, anti-influenza component of PPE. Punicalagin blocked replication of the virus RNA, inhibited agglutination of chicken RBC's by the virus and had virucidal effects. Furthermore, the combination of PPE and oseltamivir synergistically increased the anti-influenza effect of oseltamivir. In conclusion, PPE inhibited the replication of human influenza A/Hong Kong (H3N2) in vitro. Pomegranate extracts should be further studied for therapeutic and prophylactic potential especially for influenza epidemics and pandemics.

Phytother Res. 2009 Jun 5.
Chondroprotective effects of pomegranate juice on monoiodoacetate-induced osteoarthritis of the knee joint of mice..
Hadipour-Jahromy M, Mozaffari-Kermani R
Department of Pharmacology, Tehran Medical Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.
To study the effectiveness of pomegranate juice on osteoarthritis, mono-iodoacetate induced loss of articular cartilage in the mouse tibiofemoral joint was used as a model. Mono-iodoacetate is an inhibitor of glycolysis which promotes osteoarthritis similar to that noted in human osteoarthritis. The histopathology of the subchondral bone and cartilage of mouse knee joints treated with a single intra-articular injection of mono-iodoacetate (0.1 mg) and killed at 1, 14 and 28 days post injection was investigated. The effect of pomegranate juice (4 mL/kg, 10 mL/kg, 20 mL/kg, orally) was studied in different groups. Histopathological changes in knee joints were seen after 2 weeks. Early osteoarthritis was characterized by areas of chondrocyte degeneration, which sometimes involved the entire thickness of the articular cartilage in the tibial plateaus and femoral condyles. Changes to the subchondral bone and proteoglycan contents, focal fragmentation and collapse of bony trabeculae with fibrosis and necrosis, and synovial cell proliferation were observed. The administration of pomegranate juice dose dependently prevented the negative effects of iodoacetate. Chondrocyte damage was significantly prevented, with proteoglycan less affected, especially in the groups receiving a high amount of pomegranate juice. No cell proliferation or inflammatory cells were detected in the synovial fluid. The effectiveness of pomegranate juice in improving histopathological damage is emphasized and its chondroprotective effect in vivo highlighted.

Exp Dermatol. 2009 Jun;18(6):553-61.
Protective effect of pomegranate-derived products on UVB-mediated damage in human reconstituted skin..
Afaq F, Zaid MA, Khan N, Dreher M, Mukhtar H
Department of Dermatology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation, particularly its UVB (290-320 nm) component, is the primary cause of many adverse biological effects including photoageing and skin cancer. UVB radiation causes DNA damage, protein oxidation and induces matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Photochemoprevention via the use of botanical antioxidants in affording protection to human skin against UVB damage is receiving increasing attention. Pomegranate, from the tree Punica granatum, contains anthocyanins and hydrolysable tannins and possesses strong antioxidant and anti-tumor-promoting properties. In this study, we determined the effect of pomegranate-derived products--POMx juice, POMx extract and pomegranate oil (POMo)--against UVB-mediated damage using reconstituted human skin (EpiDerm(TM) FT-200). EpiDerm was treated with POMx juice (1-2 microl/0.1 ml/well), POMx extract (5-10 microg/0.1 ml/well) and POMo (1-2 microl/0.1 ml/well) for 1 h prior to UVB (60 mJ/cm(2)) irradiation and was harvested 12 h post-UVB to assess protein oxidation, markers of DNA damage and photoageing by Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. Pretreatment of Epiderm with pomegranate-derived products resulted in inhibition of UVB-induced (i) cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD), (ii) 8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), (iii) protein oxidation and (iv) proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) protein expression. We also found that pretreatment of Epiderm with pomegranate-derived products resulted in inhibition of UVB-induced (i) collagenase (MMP-1), (ii) gelatinase (MMP-2, MMP-9), (iii) stromelysin (MMP-3), (iv) marilysin (MMP-7), (v) elastase (MMP-12) and (vi) tropoelastin. Gelatin zymography revealed that pomegranate-derived products inhibited UVB-induced MMP-2 and MMP-9 activities. Pomegranate-derived products also caused a decrease in UVB-induced protein expression of c-Fos and phosphorylation of c-Jun. Collectively, these results suggest that all three pomegranate-derived products may be useful against UVB-induced damage to human skin.