Originating in the area situated between Iran and the Northern section of India, the Pomegranate fruit is appreciated across the globe for its flavorful taste and nutritional value. It has been cultivated since ancient times for its thirst-quenching capabilities. During the Middle Ages, cultivation of this red fruit migrated to Indonesia, while Spanish settlers brought it to North America a few centuries later. Derived from the Latin words for apple (pomum) and seeded (granatus), the word pomegranate sounds quite similar in many different languages.
The Pomegranate fruit grows on a small tree (Punica granatum) that is spiny and covered with an abundance of leaves. It typically grows no larger than twelve feet in height, and often resembles an overgrown shrub more than a tree. Due to its robust nature, the Pomegranate tree can survive as long as two centuries. It is a resilient tree that can withstand harsh climates, including drought-like conditions and severe cold. It thrives in either subtropical or temperate climates. The fruit has a tough skin that is deep red in color. Its interior contains numerous seeds that are quite hard and surrounded with fruity flesh offering a tart taste. The fruit has grown in popularity across the world, partly for its juice, which is extracted from its seeds, and partly for its fleshy fruit.
The symbolism of the Pomegranate travels along many paths. Many religions make use of the Pomegranate as a symbol of birth, death, life, eternity, prosperity, fertility, and marriage. Not only has the Pomegranate’s reflective symbolism been held as sacred, but the fruit itself has been held in high value for a variety of medicinal purposes. To the ancient Chinese, the Pomegranate symbolized great wealth and an abundance of sons. This fruit is filled with many seeds, offering the promise of fertility.
A variety of Tarot cards include the Pomegranate on them. While it is clearly symbolic of fertility, abundance, love, and marriage, it is also symbolic of generosity and lusciousness. As a Tarot symbol, the Pomegranate is closely aligned with female sexuality, reflecting the power of passionate women. William Shakespeare brought meaning to the Pomegranate in one of his plays (Romeo and Juliet), in which a nightingale sat upon a Pomegranate tree outside the bedroom of Juliet. In the play, the fruit symbolized true love as well as forbidden love.
In Greek mythology, the Pomegranate is viewed as a symbol of fertility, resurrection, and fruitfulness, reflecting the changing of the seasons as Persephone, daughter of Demeter (the goddess of crops) and captive of Hades (the king of the underworld) rises from the underworld where she has been held by the power of Hades, only to return later on in the year. Her fate was sealed once she consumed a portion of a Pomegranate.
Containing high amounts of powerful antioxidants, Pomegranates offer protection against disease and skin damage, making it a beneficial ingredient in topical skincare formulas. Antioxidants protect the cells of the skin from injury caused by aging and the sun, including wrinkles, expression lines, and dullness. Offering a pleasant, sweet scent, Pomegranate extract is a natural active ingredient that is rich in anti-aging properties.
Both sun damage and the natural aging process are responsible for reducing the skin’s natural ability to protect itself, heal quickly, and repair unnecessary damage. Pomegranate extract is often included in skincare formulas to deliver rejuvenating capabilities to the skin. The Pomegranate offers regenerative capabilities for both the dermis and epidermis, two significant layers of the skin. Containing high levels of Ellagic Acid, the extracts of the fruit enhance the longevity of the skin cells found in the dermis and referred to as fibroblasts. These cells are responsible for producing the collagen and elastin needed by the skin to maintain its existing structural condition. The stores of Ellagic Acid found in Pomegranate extract enhance the skin cell’s ability to heal after experiencing minor damage.
Pomegranate extract is a natural ingredient, and as such, it offers a holistic alternative to synthetic additives and harsh chemicals. It is gentle on the skin and non-irritating in nature. It is thought to stimulate blood flow in a positive manner, minimize the existence of plaque in the arteries, and lower the quantity of bad cholesterol found in the blood.