The ancient Greeks believed that its jewel-like seeds sprung from the blood of Adonis; and throughout the ancient world, pomegranate’s symbolic stature was unrivalled, representing anything from prosperity in ancient Egypt, to the fertility of the Promised Land in the Hebrew bible. Some scholars believe it was the pomegranate, rather than the more commonly ascribed apple, that tempted Eve in the garden of Eden.
No less revered today, the pomegranate is one of a select few ingredients widely referred to as a superfood, owing to its high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins C and K, as well as its dietary fibre. Prior to this, pomegranate was also used as a natural remedy for various ailments across Europe and the Indian subcontinent, forming a central part of the Ayurvedic medicinal tradition. Though the pomegranate is thought to have originated from modern day Iran, for centuries it has been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region and Indian subcontinent, while the Spanish settlers are said to have introduced the fruit to Northern and Central America. Its ability to withstand a range of weather conditions means that the pomegranate today grows in a large number of places around the world, including the Middle East and the Caucasus, tropical Africa and central Asia.
Some studies suggest that the topical application of pomegranate seed oil can promote regeneration of the epidermis, giving skin a renewed look and feel. It is also said to help promote collagen production, while helping to alleviate skin blemishes and skin irritation. Some communities historically administered pomegranate juice as sun protection – though we do not recommend trying this one at home.
Elsewhere there is evidence to support claims that consuming pomegranates can reduce cholesterol levels, reduce risk of heart disease and help promote bone production. Not a bad list of credentials for a humble fruit that grows in abundance throughout both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, whose ruddy-brown flesh gives little indication of the glistening treasure that lurks beneath.
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