Tips for Growing a Pomegranate Tree
Historically, the pomegrante has been associated with fertility and ripe health. From the latin phrase "grained apple," the pomegranate is mentioned in Ancient Egyptian documents, the Bible, as well as Ancient Roman recipes for love. Belonging to the myrtle family of trees, the pomegranate has long been revered as a both a life-giving and aesthetically pleasing fruit.
HERBAL PROPERTIES AND USES:
This fruit is extremely rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. Currently the extracts, juice and oils of this fruit are being studied for their potent anti-inflammatory agents, as well as their ability to reduce muscular aches and pains. Pomegranate seed oil, as well as pomegranate juice, is known to fight free radicals, reduce swelling, prevent aging, and act as an overall protectant for sunburned and ultraviolet-damaged skin. Studies from Israel have indicated that pomegranate juice reduces breast cancer cells, and may prevent breast cancer cells from even forming. The juice is also being studied for its potential ability to inhibit the development of lung cancer, slow the growth of prostate cancer, as well as in the prevention of osteoporosis. The fruit is an excellent support for lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and raising HDL (good cholesterol), and may even protect your teeth from decay!
Pomegranate Cultivation and Growing Methods
Fruit and seeds.
This hardy shrub does best when planted in well-drained soil, although it can also grow in many difference types of soils, from acid loam to alkaline soil.
This fruit grows best in full-sun and warmth, although it can be grown in partial shade. The shrub is also fairly drought tolerant.
Grows well in USDA growing Zones 7-10. Grows wild in Northern India, southern Europe and California.
Its best to buy pomegranate shrub cuttings from a local nursery. The cuttings should be approximately fifteen inches in length. Pomegranate trees will yield fruit approximately three years after planting.
The flowers of the pomegranate shrub are self-pollinating. One can also improve the fertility of the plant through cross pollination.
Yearly flowers and seeds during spring time, after three years of growth.
The red, bulbous fruit of the pomegranate should be harvested when the color is a deep red hue. You can also tap the fruit for a metallic sound to ensure that it is ripe.
DRYING METHODS / YIELD:
Best fresh or in extract form.
The bush of average size can grow approximately 8-10 fruits per growth, and produces an average of two to three average crops of fruit per year.
PRESERVATION / PACKAGING METHODS:
The raw fruit can be preserved and stored for a long time if refrigerated.
ESSENTIAL OIL USE:
Pomegranate oil is very rare and unique. The oil is used mostly for aromatherapy and has an exotic, fruity aroma. It has restorative, antioxidant properties on the skin, and has been shown in laboratory tests to fight both skin and breast cancer.
High in plant phenols (antioxidants), and the ellagitannins punicalagins and punicalin, as well as gallic and ellagic acids.
IS THIS AN EDIBLE PLANT:
CAUTIONS / CONTRAINDICATIONS:
Generally, pomegranate fruit and juice are completely safe, in moderate amounts. Despite the potential health benefits, it would be wise to talk to your healthcare provider if you plan on taking large amounts of the juice or supplements, especially if you have low blood pressure, allergies, are pregnant, or if you are breast-feeding.
A 2006 study from the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that pomegranate may interacts with common medications such as heart medication, calcium channel blockers, statins, immunosuppressants and protease inhibitors. For this reason, consult with your doctor before taking supplemental pomegranate.
Clinical Research About Pomegranate
- Pomegranate juice inhibits sulfoconjugation in Caco-2 human colon carcinoma cells. Saruwatari A, Okamura S, Nakajima Y, Narukawa Y, Takeda T, Tamura H. J Med Food. 2008 Dec;11(4):623-8. [PMID: 19053852]
- Pomegranate fruit extract impairs invasion and motility in human breast cancer. Khan GN, Gorin MA, Rosenthal D, Pan Q, Bao LW, Wu ZF, Newman RA, Pawlus AD, Yang P, Lansky EP, Merajver SD. Integr Cancer Ther. 2009 Sep;8(3):242-53. [PMID: 19815594]
- The role of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) in colon cancer. Khan SA. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2009 Jul;22(3):346-8. [PMID: 19553187]
- Cellular antioxidant activity of common fruits. Wolfe KL, Kang X, He X, Dong M, Zhang Q, Liu RH. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8418-26. Epub 2008 Aug 30. [PMID: 18759450]
- LaRue, James H. (1980). "Growing Pomegranates in California". California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2007-10-25. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TC3-4W0R3JJ-
- How to Grow Pomegranates. January 11, 2008. Kristie Leong M.D.
- Hidaka M, Okumura M, Fujita K, Ogikubo T, Yamasaki K, Iwakiri T, Setoguchi N, Arimori K. Effects of pomegranate juice on human cytochrome p450 3A (CYP3A) and carbamazepine pharmacokinetics in rats. Drug Metabolism and Disposition. 33.5 (2005):644-8.
- Kim H, Yoon YJ, Shon JH, Cha IJ, Shin JG, Liu KH. Inhibitory effects of fruit juices on CYP3A activity. Drug Metabolism and Disposition. 34.4 (2006):521-3.
- Sorokin AV, Duncan B, Panetta R, Thompson PD. Rhabdomyolysis associated with pomegranate juice consumption. American Journal of Cardiology. 98.5 (2006):705-6.