The Healing Benefits of Pomegranate

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Often referred to is as “ the divine fruit,” the Pomegranate is classified as a berry, and is the size of a grapefruit with a semi-hexagonal shape, and thick and hard ruby-reddish skin. Each seed has a surrounding water-laden pulp, ranging in color from pink to deep red or purple. The seeds are embedded in several white, spongy membranes, which are compactly encased.

Believed to have been harvested in the Garden of Eden, the Pomegranate is part of many ancient folk traditions – all of which consider it a form of medicine. In ayurveda, it is a symbol of both fertility and prosperity. It is considered a fruit-medicine. The pomegranate’s flowers, leaves, bark, peel and of course seeds are all edible.

Botanical Name:

Punica granatum

Native to

Iran and India

Healing benefits

  • Full of antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium

  • Controls body weight

  • Reduces cholesterol

  • Fights against cell damage

  • Inhibits viral infections

  • Pomegranate extracts have anti-bacterial effects which combat dental plaque

Aids with conditions such as

  • Heart disease

  • Cancer, especially prostrate and breast

  • Symptoms of diarrhea

For thousands of years, the pomegranate has been extensively used as a source of food-medicine in ayurveda. The rind and bark are used as a traditional remedy against diarrhea, dysentery and intestinal parasites.

Pomegranate juice also helps to reduce body heat and is useful for people suffering from low blood pressure. In addition, its seeds and juice are considered a tonic for the heart and throat, and help to burn toxins.

The flower juice, rind and tree bark also aid with the following: stopping nose and gum bleeds, toning skin, firming-up sagging breasts (after being blended with mustard oil), and treating hemorrhoids.

It is also fantastic for oral health (immediately controlling bad breath), slowing down the aging process, and (when used as eye drops) for slowing the development of cataracts.

Cautions

Eating pomegranates might interfere with certain medications in the same way that grapefruit juice does. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about drug interactions.

The pomegranate’s wine-red juice will stain your fingers, clothes and countertops. My best trick for getting the seeds out is submerging the fruit under water. This with soften the berry, making the seed removal much easier and cleaner.

Recipe: Vegetarian Fesenjān (A traditional Persian dish)

This recipe is best served over brown rice, quinoa, or roasted or raw vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of walnuts (ayurvedic option: soaked over night)

  • 2 large onions, finely chopped

  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron, dissolved in 1 tabs hot water

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 3/4 cup of pomegranate molasses (make your own by reducing the juice over low heat)

  • 10 dried prunes (ayurvedic option: soaked in water overnight)

  • 3 tbs olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

Finely grind the walnuts using a food processor or coffee grinder. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a heavy bottom pan and set over medium heat. Add onions and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add saffron water and ground coriander, stir. Add grounded walnuts; stir back and forth to prevent sticking. Continue to cook until the walnuts begin to release their oil – should take about a minute or so.

Now add the pomegranate molasses and a cup or more of water (if the sauce seems to thicken, add more water). Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer. Add the prunes, and then give it another stir or two.

Lower the heat; simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Bon Appetit!



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Gaia Herbal 101: The Powerful Elderberry

The humble elderberry, of the genus Sambucus, has been a multipurpose herbal workhorse for centuries. Species of Sambucus are found throughout the Northern hemisphere from Asia to North America — throughout the world, elderberry has been used for medicine, food, and wine making.

In Chinese medicine, elderberry is called “Jei Gu Mu,” and is used to treat the “damp” conditions we call colds or flu. It is also used to reduces fevers and treat urinary tract and bladder imbalances — Jei Gu Mu is said to work specifically in the bladder, kidney, and lung meridians.

Eastern woodland Native Americans made tea from dried elderberry plant leaves, poultices for wounds from the flowers, and cooked the berries to make throat-soothing syrups for winter cold and flu symptoms. Evidence of cultivated elderberry plants has been discovered by archaeologists near early native settlements and sacred sites.

In Europe, Elderberry was attributed with magical qualities — folk wisdom said that a person could hide under an elderberry bush to escape goblins, trolls, and witches. There are several stories of elderberry bushes being portals to fairy realms.

Elderberry Medicinal and Protective Properties

Elderberry has been called “the medicine chest of the common people.” As a folk medicine, elderberry has been used to treat constipation, stomach upset, colds, sore throat, and rheumatism. The fruit, or berries, contain antioxidant flavonols and have high levels of Vitamins A, B6, and C as well as iron, potassium, and calcium.  

While it is known that cancer cells may appear in the body at any time, it is the combination of robust immune function with a diet rich in flavonoid antioxidants that helps to stop rogue cells in their tracks, preventing tumor formation.  

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