HISTORY OF POMEGRANATE SEED OIL USAGE
Fondly referred to as “The Fruit of Life” and as “Nature’s Power Fruit,” Pomegranates symbolize numerous concepts, theories, and legends for several religious, cultural, spiritual, and medical practices. Specifically, these fruits have traditionally been emblematic of abundance, ambition, beauty, eternal life, fertility, hope, human civilization, the irrevocable bond of marriage, mystery, sanctity, resurrection, and royalty. In many countries, Pomegranates have traditionally been offered as a wedding gift that represents a wish for the newlywed couple to give birth to as many children as the number of seeds contained within the fruit. The imagery of the glossy, deep red, bulbous berry with dark green leaves has been implemented heavily in art and literature not only for the abovementioned portrayals but also for its representation of spiritual prosperity and chastity.
In Greek mythology, Pomegranates represent the cycle of death and rebirth. In one version of a myth that serves to explain the changing of seasons, it is said that Hades, the god of the Underworld, kidnapped Zeus’ daughter Persephone to marry her. In the Underworld, where she was without food and drink, her captor convinced her that the seeds of the beautiful Pomegranate fruit were jewels meant to be tasted. Unaware that those who consumed food or drink from the Underworld were fated to spend eternity there, she gave in to the temptation. Having consumed only 6 of the seeds, however, this led to 6-month imprisonment in the Underworld every year, as opposed to eternity. This became the cold period during which the earth suffered through the harsh winter season. Each year, she was released for 6 months, a time during which the earth experienced warmer weather that encouraged flowers to bloom and vegetation to grow, a period referred to as the seasons of spring and summer.
According to historical sources, there is evidence of the existence of Pomegranate trees as early as 4000 B.C. The origin of their cultivation and naturalization has been traced to the Mediterranean and to the East, spanning regions from Iran to the western Himalayas of Northern India. The trees have also been known to flourish in Southern Europe and in the drier climates of northern Africa, the Middle East, and some parts of the U.S., such as California and Arizona. It traveled to Southeast Asia and China, having been discovered along the Silk Road, where it was seen as a representation of abundance and future generations. Settlers and traders introduced the fruit to Korea, Japan, and Latin America, where it continues to be cultivated. In Ancient Egypt of 1600 BC, the high value placed on Pomegranates as a symbol of life after death made them a requirement in a Pharaoh’s residence, where they were painted on the walls and on tombs. In traditional medical practice, the ancient Egyptians used Pomegranates to eliminate intestinal worms. The imagery of the fruit was found on temple pillars, mosaics, on the robes of priests, and on coinage. Roman women fashioned headdresses out of Pomegranate plant twigs to indicate their marital status, and armies carried spears that replaced the spikes on their tips with Pomegranates, which were seen as a sign of strength.
Throughout history, each part of the Pomegranate fruit served a purpose: the delicate flower was crushed to create a red dye; the peel was used to dye leather; and the “glittering,” “ruby” seeds were used not only for food but also to make medicines, cosmetics, and anti-parasitic tonics. Aside from its beauty, this fruit with revitalizing properties offers countless health benefits, which has given it the status of a legendary and influential fruit that signifies human civilization.
Its health-enhancing benefits were used in several medicinal practices. In Ayurveda, it was used to lower fever, and in Greek medicine, it was used to address diabetes. The plant’s roots and bark were used to stop bleeding and dysentery as well as to soothe ulcers. Research studies have shown that Pomegranates also help to maintain good cholesterol levels, support heart health, ease symptoms of menopause, boost immunity, maintain normal blood pressure and healthy joint function, soothe and prevent inflammation, support proper digestion, and maintain healthy skin and teeth.
The name Pomegranate is likely derived from the medieval Latin words for “apple” – pomum – and for “seeded” – granatum. A second meaning of the word granatum is “of a dark red color,” with reference to its seeds. It is believed that, during the first Moorish period, the Spanish city of Granada was named after the Pomegranate, and today the coat of arms for the province of Granada bears a Pomegranate.
In its raw fruit form, Pomegranate seeds are used for culinary purposes such as in baking, cooking, or to garnish dishes. They are also used to create drinks such as juices and smoothies as well as alcoholic beverages including cocktails and wine. Pomegranate seeds are pressed to produce Pomegranate Oil, which is known to have numerous beneficial properties for skin, hair, and overall health.
POMEGRANATE SEED OIL BENEFITS
The main chemical constituents of Pomegranate Carrier Oil are Punicic Acid, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Phytosterols, and Tocopherol (Vitamin E).
PUNICIC ACID is known to:
- Help increase the body’s resilience after experiencing inflammation
- Soothe muscle pain
- Reduce swelling
- Increase collagen production and reduce its breakdown, thus preventing the signs of aging on the skin
- Rejuvenate and strengthen the hair, leaving it looking lustrous and feeling healthy
OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 9) are known to:
- Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
- Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
- Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
- Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
- Boost immunity
- Exhibit antioxidant properties
- Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain
LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 6) are known to:
- Moisturize hair and promote its growth
- Facilitate wound healing
- Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
- Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
- Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
- Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
- Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin
PALMITIC ACID is known to:
- Have emollient properties
- Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
- Be the most common saturated fatty acid
STEARIC ACID is known to:
- Have cleansing properties that purge dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin
- Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
- Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
- Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
- Have exceptional cleansing properties
- Soften skin
PHYTOSTEROLS are known to:
- Boost collagen production
- Relieve skin of sun damage
- Promote the growth of newer, firmer skin
- Boost immunity
- Reduce the appearance of scars and other unwanted blemishes
VITAMIN E is known to:
- Have antioxidant properties that slow the look of aging and boost circulation
- Repair scarred and blemished skin
- Prevent moisture loss from skin and hair
- Offer soothing relief to skin that has been burned
- Deeply cleanse pores and balance oil production
Used topically in skincare and in massages, Pomegranate Carrier Oil boosts collagen production and exhibits anti-inflammatory qualities. Its ability to repair skin that is damaged, dry, or aging makes it an ideal ingredient in skincare cosmetics. Pomegranate Carrier Oil enhances skin elasticity and is known to support hormonal balance in both men and women, thereby enhancing skin texture. Aside from lending moisturizing and firming properties, it nourishes skin while offering soothing and protective properties, especially to skin that is irritated and sunburned. By stimulating cells in the outer layer of skin, Pomegranate Oil promotes the reversal of skin damage, consequently uncovering a newer layer of skin and, in so doing, promoting a more youthful look and feel. In this way, it reduces the appearance of scarring. Suitable for all skin types, including oily and acne-prone skin, Pomegranate Oil leaves lasting moisture without leaving a greasy residue or clogging pores.
Used medicinally, Pomegranate Carrier Oil works to deeply penetrate the skin to soothe and reduce inflammation while protecting skin against sun damage. The high antioxidant content of Pomegranate Oil helps prevent damage caused by free radicals, which causes the skin to wrinkle and thicken. For those suffering from skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, it offers hydration that relieves the discomfort. By directing nutrients into the skin cells, Pomegranate Oil accelerates the reconstruction of skin to speed wound healing and to reestablish skin health.
Used in hair, Pomegranate Carrier Oil works effectively on all hair types to hydrate dull, dry strands and to protect it against harsh environmental stressors such as pollution. By stimulating circulation to the scalp and eliminating dirt and buildup therein, Pomegranate Oil prevents damage to the hair follicles and increases the growth of stronger, healthier hair. Its anti-bacterial properties protect the scalp against bacteria that contribute to conditions such as scalp psoriasis and scalp eczema, and it relieves redness, itchiness, and inflammation associated with these conditions. Pomegranate Oil balances the scalp’s pH level and counteracts greasiness.
Pomegranate Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
- COSMETIC: Regenerative, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Anti-aging.
- MEDICINAL: Regenerative, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-microbial.
CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY POMEGRANATE SEED OIL
Punica granatum, the fruit-bearing deciduous Pomegranate botanical, is grown both for its fruit crop and as decorative plants for parks and gardens. It grows as either a shrub or a tree that can reach a height between 5 and 10 m (16 and 33 ft). Although Pomegranate trees are able to grow from seeds, it is more common for them to be propagated from hardwood cuttings in order to prevent the seedlings from having genetic variations. Pomegranate trees tend to have long lifespans with some varieties in France reputed to live for 200 years.
Being sensitive to the cold, Pomegranate trees prefer climates that are either tropical or warm and temperate. They thrive in regions that experience hot, dry summers and cool winters with the usual rainfall. They cannot withstand areas with more moisture than usual, as the lack of adequate drainage leads to rotting in their roots. Their ability to tolerate frost depends on their species, but they can generally withstand a temperature range of -12 ᵒC to -7ᵒC (10 ᵒF to 18 ᵒF); however, even this range may cause damage.
Pomegranate trees can grow in a wide range of soil types including clay and sandy soils, but they grow best in heavy loam that is well-drained and has an optimal pH of 5.5 to 7. Their growth may be restricted by soils that are alkaline. Although the trees can tolerate partial shade, the ideal growing condition is under exposure to full sun. At the time of initial planting, Pomegranate trees require adequate moisture with watering every couple of days to ensure that the roots are firmly established. The soil should not, however, be overly saturated. Once established, the botanical can tolerate dry conditions even droughts, which makes them adaptable to mild desert climates.
As the tree matures, it develops twisted, barbed branches that grow glossy, oblong, evergreen leaves in an opposite or subopposite arrangement. Its bright red blooms, which grow individually or in clusters of up to 5 flowers, have between 3 and 7 petals each. The flowers of some Pomegranate tree varieties may have double blooms – that is, they may have flowers with extra petals, which make them appear to contain a flower within a flower. Double bloom Pomegranate flowers tend to look like Carnations and are unlikely to yield any fruit crops, as they are mainly grown for their flowers. Other varieties of Pomegranate produce white or yellow flowers.
In the first year of growth, Pomegranate trees may produce only a few fruits, as the fuller harvest typically occurs between 2 and 3 years after planting. The most vigorous growth and the highest fruit yield is demonstrated by the plants that are between 3 and 15 years old. Depending on the plant variety, the usual period during which the tree begins to bear fruit is between 5 and 7 months after flowering. In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is usually in season from early fall to winter, between the months of September and February. In the Southern Hemisphere, the fruit is usually in season in the autumn, between the months of March and May. The fruit is considered to be a berry.
The Pomegranate fruit grows to a size between that of a lemon and that of a grapefruit. It is round and has a thick, smooth, tough leathery outer skin or Rind, which may be as lightly colored as a brownish-yellow or as darkly colored as a deep red. Inside, the Pomegranate has a paper-thin white skin called a Membrane, which conceals the fruit below. Underneath this layer, the fruit is divided by a spongy, white, fleshy casing known as the Albedo that forms at least 5 seed pods, which are sometimes referred to as “chambers” or “compartments.” These sac-like pods separate the pulp, which is made up of tiny, jewel-like, edible seeds called Arils, of which there can be between 200 and 1400, depending on the size of the fruit.
Each seed is covered with an edible, fleshy and gelatinous, water-laden seed coat, which can range in color from white to purple or deep red. These seeds are embedded in the spongy Albedo, forming in clusters that resemble a honeycomb. They are tart and juicy. Depending on the Pomegranate variety, there is diversity in the fruit size, in the color of the rind and the arils, and in the hardness of the arils, to name a few variables.
Pomegranates stop maturing once they are taken off their trees. If left on the trees, they will over-ripen, split open, and lose their flavor. Because each variety of Pomegranate has a differing color when ripe, the ideal indicator of the fruit’s ripeness is its size, which should be between 2 and 5 inches wide. If the size alone does not confirm its ripeness, another method to check for its readiness is to tap the fruit with a finger to listen to the sound it makes. If there is a metallic resonance, it is ripe. When harvesting Pomegranates, they are not picked or pulled off the plants; rather, at their bases, they are clipped from their thick stems with the aid of pruning shears. This harvest method protects both the tree and the fruits from potential damage.
HOW IS POMEGRANATE SEED OIL EXTRACTED?
When the extraction process begins, Pomegranate Carrier Oil is derived from its ripe seeds by cold pressing, which preserves the oil’s quality as well as its enzymes, nutrients, and vitamins by protecting it from heat. To produce 1 lb (16 oz.) of Pomegranate Seed Oil, more than 200 lbs (3200 oz.) of fresh Pomegranates seeds are required.
The resultant crude oil is light with a thin consistency. It ranges in color from pale yellow to golden yellow and has an aroma characteristic of an Omega-5 fatty acid odor profile. Pomegranate Oil that undergoes further refinement is either colorless or yellow, and its characteristic scent is similar to that of most carrier oils. The final color of Pomegranate Carrier Oil may also range in color from soft amber to orange to dark red.
POMEGRANATE SEED OIL USES
The uses for Pomegranate Carrier Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include massage oils, face oils, massage gels, shower gels, lotions, creams, facial serums, soaps, lip balms, shampoos, and other hair care products.
Used topically, Pomegranate Oil makes an ideal ingredient for anti-aging moisturizers that not only hydrate skin but also facilitate skin healing. To create a natural anti-aging serum, blend 20 drops each of Pomegranate Carrier Oil, Frankincense Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Liquid Vitamin E, and Jojoba Carrier Oil in a small jar. Before bed, gently massage 4 drops of this serum all over the face and allow it to sit on the skin overnight. This blend will enhance the skin’s elasticity and tone while balancing its oil production and pH level, leaving it looking youthful, healthy, smooth, and radiant. To diminish the appearance of scars, and to heal blemishes, wounds, acne, and skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema, gently wash the affected areas. Next, apply a few drops of Pomegranate Carrier Oil directly to the areas. Skin will look and feel less inflamed, irritated, and dry. For a facial oil that protects and enhances dry or mature skin, blend 40 drops Pomegranate Carrier Oil, 40 drops Rosehip Carrier Oil, 2 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil, 2 drops Rose Otto Essential Oil, 2 drops Frankincense Essential Oil, and 2 Helichrysum Essential Oil. Mix the oils together, then pour the blend into a 5 ml (0.16 oz.) dropper bottle. Before each use, shake the bottle well. Pour a few drops on the palm and, using the fingertips, apply the oil to the face, massaging it into the skin using gentle, circular motions. This blend should be used within 6 months.
Used in hair, Pomegranate Carrier Oil may be applied directly to the strands and the scalp to restore shine to dull hair and to repair damage caused by environmental stressors. Hair will be revitalized, nourished, and protected. A few drops can be added to regular, natural shampoo, and conditioner to contribute its anti-fungal properties as well as to eliminate dandruff and inflammation. It may also be used as a serum that can be applied to the ends of freshly washed but towel-dried hair. Pomegranate Carrier Oil may be blended with Coconut Carrier Oil at a ratio of 1:4 and used as a hot oil hair treatment after the blend is gently heated. Once applied to the scalp, it should be allowed to sit for at least 2 hours before being washed out with a regular shampoo. By stimulating circulation to the scalp, this blend will also promote the growth of healthy, new hair that is stronger and longer. This hot oil treatment will yield the best results if used on the hair once a week until significant results are achieved. Hair’s natural oil production will be regulated so as not to be produced in excess, and hair that is frizzy, weak, and damaged will be noticeably smoother, softer, stronger, and shinier. The frequency of use may be reduced at this point and then it can be used once a month in order to maintain the look. A few drops of Pomegranate Carrier Oil may also be smoothed onto the hair as a non-greasy heat-protectant serum before heated hair tools are used.
Used medicinally, Pomegranate Oil can be used as a base for blends that can be used on the body or the face. For a therapeutic massage, 1 Tbsp. of Pomegranate Carrier Oil can be blended with 15 drops of any essential oil known to have healing properties. This can be massaged into the areas of the body affected by pain, soreness, or inflammation to promote faster healing. For a soothing bath blend with anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and revitalizing properties, mix 8 drops of Pomegranate Carrier Oil into 3 handfuls of preferred mineral bath salt and dissolve the blend in warm bathwater. Alternatively, 8 drops of Pomegranate Carrier Oil can be blended with whole milk before being added to bathwater. Skin afflicted with sun damage, itchiness, and irritation will find relief through this calming soak. For a massage blend that relieves soreness associated with inflammation, blend together 60 ml (2 oz.) Pomegranate Carrier Oil, 4 drops Yarrow Essential Oil, 4 drops Turmeric Essential Oil, and 4 drops German Chamomile Essential Oil. Simply massage this blend into aching joints or muscles to reduce pain and relax the body.
A GUIDE TO POMEGRANATE SEED OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS
POMEGRANATE CARRIER OIL (REFINED)
Botanical Name: Punica granatum
Found in: India
- Being refined to a colorless or yellow liquid
- Having an aroma that is typical/characteristic of carrier oils
- Being suitable for applications in both soap and skincare
- Being a “face oil,” in that it moisturizes and nourishes dry skin
- Providing a feeling of natural moisture, softness, and smoothness after application to the skin
- Absorbing into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slight oily residue, though only small amounts are normally used in combination with other oils
POMEGRANATE ORGANIC CARRIER OIL
Botanical Name: Punica granatum
Found in: Israel
- Being rich in essential fatty acids
- Having high emollient properties
- Being an effective moisturizer that may help to prevent skin damage caused by environmental stressors and to prevent skin conditions caused by dryness
- Reducing the signs of aging by protecting the skin’s suppleness and diminishing the appearance of fine lines
- Being pale to golden yellow in color
- Having a characteristic Omega-5 fatty acid odor profile
- Being ideal for use in massages, due to its natural soothing properties
- Soothing and softening the texture of the skin, making it look fresh
- Alleviating chapped, rough, and itchy skin caused by dryness
- Moisturizing the skin to revitalize the complexion
- Nourishing the hair and revealing its natural sheen
- Being absorbed by the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue
- Being gentle enough for use on the most sensitive skin
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR POMEGRANATE SEED OIL
Carrier oils are for external use only. Pomegranate Carrier Oil should not be ingested and should not be stored within the reach of children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with all other oils, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm or another generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime-size amount of Pomegranate Oil to check for sensitivities. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours indicates that the oil is safe to use.
Pomegranate Carrier Oil is not known to produce any side effects; however, potential side effects include stomach upset, skin inflammation or irritation, and complications with pregnancy. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action.
Pomegranate Oil is also known to lower blood pressure, which is advantageous for those suffering from hypertension. Contrarily, this property can make the oil dangerous for those taking medication to lower blood pressure. To prevent these side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
Due to its potential to cause complications with pregnancies, especially in the early stages, it is highly recommended that the use of Pomegranate Carrier Oil be avoided by women who are pregnant or trying to conceive until there are conclusive studies establishing that there is no risk of injury or loss.