Pomegranate, also known as Punica granatum L., is a fruit known for its medicinal properties and health benefits. Prominently cultivated in west Asia and the Mediterranean region, its ancient use has been noted with its numerous health benefits as well. Recent studies have revealed its physiological benefits, especially due to its antioxidative, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, human based studies show promise for several diseases and ailments . Image cited 
The fruit itself is categorized as a “fleshy berry”. It has a round shape with a diameter up to 10 cm and crown shaped calyx at the top . The trees can grow up to 30 ft in height and have bright red, orange, or pink flowers .
Here is a list of some of pomegranate’s benefits:
The pomegranate peel extracts are responsible for the antioxidant activity observed in studies. The peel extract is 10 times higher in antioxidants than the pulp extract. Studies with rats confirmed the antioxidant activity as those who were fed the peel extract were protected from liver damage due to carbon tetra chloride (CCl) toxicity .
Pomegranate extract has been known to induce cell apoptosis (cell death) and inhibits proliferation or increase in the number of cancer cells. Pomegranate juice was found to induce significant apoptosis in lymphoid and myeloid leukemia cell lines (stopping the cell cycle). Studies have also shown pomegranate extract prevents the breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer cell growth .
Pomegranate extract showed anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic (toxic to living cells) activities in breast cancer cells. The extract inhibits the growth of the MCF-7 breast cancer cells through inducing cell death or apoptosis. A study with pomegranate seed oil showed that there is greater breast cancer prevention potential with the oil than the with the juice itself. Pomegranates can also suppress new blood vessel expansion and this development of new vessels is necessary for cancer cells to get oxygen and nutrients to grow. In suppression of the growth, pomegranates can inhibit access to oxygen and nutrients for the tumor growth .
Animal studies showed that oral pomegranate extract administration inhibited the growth of prostate cancer. The aforementioned induction of apoptosis and changes in cell cycle are the mechanisms by which prostate cancer growth is inhibited .
Pomegranate extract is found to be beneficial against lung cancer in humans . Specifically, Li et al. found that pomegranate leaf extract could be effective against lung carcinoma (around the lining or the epithelial tissues of the lungs) cell line through inhibiting cell growth (proliferation), inducing apoptosis, cell cycle interference, impairing cell migration as well as invasion .
The antioxidants in pomegranates have also been employed in cosmeceutical applications for skin health. Pomegranate products, such as juice, oil, and extract, have shown to inhibit UVB-mediated DNA and protein damage , and as result, reduces chances of tumor as well as decrease tumor numbers .
Studies have found that concentrated pomegranate juice could reduce heart disease risk factors.
Hypertension, found with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is the most common disease encountered in primary care of patients yet the majority of patients are not medicated . Pomegranate juice reduces the systolic blood pressure and a study in rates with high blood pressure found that pomegranate juice for 4 weeks could reduce their blood pressure .
LDL, or “bad cholesterol” can also be helped with the consumption of pomegranate. High LDL is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis (disease in the arteries caused by fatty deposits on the inner walls of arteries, causing blockage). Specifically, studies have shown that consuming pomegranate juice for 2 weeks resulted in decreased retention and aggregation of LDL .
In general, here is a table compiled by Kandylis et al., showing the pomegranate derivatives and their target users along with the effect observed .
Clearly pomegranate is a nutrient packed and healthy fruit! With no known toxicity levels and abundant benefits, pomegranate’s importance should not be ignored. From cancer, to cardiovascular diseases, pomegranate’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have shown to improve lives.