Organic Pomegranate Seed Oil
The pomegranate grows as a shrub or small tree that has spiny branches and short-stemmed evergreen leaves. Although the fruit is a berry, it grows to be about the size of a lemon or grapefruit. A single organic pomegranate can contain hundreds of seeds that turn a deep red color when the fruit is ripe. The polyphenols in the seeds are rich in antioxidants that make pomegranate seed oil a practical choice for use as a moisturizer, facial and skin toner, anti-aging skin product, and anti-inflammatory agent.
Although the pomegranate tree is native to the region in the Middle East that is presently known as Iran, the fruit has been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean and northern India since ancient times. But it wasn’t until the mid 1700s that Spanish settlers brought the tree to America where today the fruit is grown in California and Arizona. Modern cultivation of the tree also occurs in Korea, Japan, South China, and Southeast Asia.
Early medical records from about 1500 BC indicate that the ancient Egyptians used the pomegranate to treat tapeworm and other parasites. In the ancient Ayurveda system of medicine – first developed in India – the pomegranate was used as an ingredient in many herbal remedies.
Early folk medicine used the seeds or rind of a pomegranate as a contraceptive. The seeds contain estrone – a natural estrogen secreted by a woman’s ovaries. This particular hormone suppresses the secretion of gonadotrophins – follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) – which trigger ovulation, explaining its use as an ancient form of birth control.
Although the Romans were the first to invent a screw press machine, which they originally used when making wine and olive oil, screw presses have become a common type of oil seed press. Presses come in different sizes and the amount of oil that can be extracted depends on the kinds of seeds being pressed. Oil extracted from seeds at a lower temperature by way of a cold press method is of higher quality and therefore offers better health benefits.
Organic Pomegranate Seed Oil for Skin Care
Like other seed oils, the antioxidants in pomegranate seed oil help protect the skin from free radical damage, which slows skin aging. Punicic acid, a fatty acid in the oil helps stop collagen breakdown by fighting free radicals, thereby reducing the number of wrinkles that form. Pomegranate seed oil moisturizes dry skin, making it more elastic. This is important since the loss of skin elasticity leads to sagging. Moisturizing with the oil gives skin a smoother, plumper, and more youthful look. Vitamin C in the oil also helps to firm and tone your skin by improving skin elasticity.
Additional uses of pomegranate seed oil include treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Pomegranate is a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, flavonoids, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), and natural phenols including ellagitannins – tannins that help the damaged cells repair or shut down so that new, normal cells can form. When this doesn’t happen, cells become cancerous, leading to malignant growths and tumors.
The findings of some animal and in vitro studies suggest that extracts made from pomegranate oil may slow the growth of cancer cells. Although most studies to date have examined the effect of pomegranate on breast and prostate cancer cells, a few studies in mice have looked at the effect of pomegranate on skin cancer.
Other Healthful Benefits
Phytonutrients in the pomegranate boost the immune system and may help prevent degenerative and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Plants produce phytonutrients to help them stay healthy. These same phytonutrients can provide healthful benefits for people. As one example, the phytonutrients and flavonoids in pomegranate seed oil lower bad cholesterol levels, helping to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Punicic acid in the oil helps the body fight inflammation and may offer protective benefits relating to diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. Ellagic acid is a natural antioxidant found in pomegranate that may keep cancer from spreading by preventing the growth of cancer cells. The vitamins B and C in the oil also help to strengthen the body’s immune system.