Ancient secret for hormonal balance
Mankind has revered the magical, mystical pomegranate since the dawn of recorded history. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and the peoples of China, India, and the Middle East found its properties to be life-giving and invigorating.
Furthermore, the pomegranate fruit has been revered for thousands of years in all the world's major religions as The Fruit of Life, springing from The Garden of Paradise. As the traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth, it was also thought to bestow invincibility upon the person who enjoyed its glittering sweet tartness. It is a fruit of legend and power - a sacred symbol of human civilisation. This fruit, known as 'the jewel of winter', was used for centuries in Middle Eastern folk medicine to treat many symptoms.
Modern science has now shown that pomegranates contain a rich and diverse range of beneficial and protective substances, including phytoestrogens, polyphenols, elligatannins, and anthocyanins. These compounds are all powerful antioxidants.
A woman's elixir
Traditionally, the pomegranate has been renowned for being one of the most powerful elixirs for women's health, hormonal balance, beauty, and fertility. The pomegranate assists women of all ages - it enhances fertility, balances menstrual cycles, corrects PMS, and alleviates menopausal hot flushes and night sweats.
In herbal tradition, there is a guiding principle called 'the Doctrine of Signatures' - relating specifically to the similarity of plants and their medicinal uses to parts of the body. By careful observation, one can intuit the healing properties of a plant from some aspect of its 'nature', appearance, or place of growing. According to the renowned Greek healer, Galen, this is "the ancient idea that the Creator left a signature on the plants to tell you what they're for."
Applying this, the Doctrine of Signatures can give greater appreciation about the correlation between the pomegranate's colour and form and its corresponding medicinal properties. The reddish, round fruit is filled with many arils (seeds surrounded by fluid-filled sacs). These arils are encased within delicate inner membranes, very similar to the order, structure and appearance of the milk glands within the breast. The pomegranate also reminds us of the shape and structure of the ovaries, with its many follicles. There is another correlation with the similarity of the colour and shape of the heart and with the red juice reminiscent of the blood.
Far from just a quaint notion, modern science has actually discovered that the benefits of the pomegranate from its seeds, juice, peel, flowers, and stem, do indeed have a profound impact on breast health, fertility, hormonal balance, skin rejuvenation, and heart health.
Hormones and menopause
The flowers, peel, juice and pericarp (the ripened walls of the plant's ovary) all contain compounds that especially help to support and modulate hormones and hormonal balance. One of the most powerful parts of this plant is oil extracted from its tiny seeds, which contains the greatest variety of phytoestrogens found anywhere in nature.
About 80 percent of the oil contains a very rare fatty acid, punic acid. This is similar to conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has potent fat-burning and anti-inflammatory abilities. The seeds have the highest plant source of the oestrogen, oestrone; plus, the main steroidal oestrogen in pomegranate seed oil is 17 alpha-oestradiol, a bio-identical oestrogen that is hundreds of times weaker (and safer) than other forms of oestrogen. In fact, 17 alpha-oestradiol is the mildest of all steroidal oestrogens.
The wide variety of safe phytoestrogens makes the pomegranate unique. Not only does it contain a wider range of phytoestrogens than any other plant, the oestrogenic richness of pomegranate encompasses additional steroidal oestrogens, such as oestradiol, oestriol, and oestrone, with an assortment of many phytoestrogenic flavonoids.
Dr Ephraim Lansky, one of the world's leading researchers and experts in the health benefits of pomegranates, says, "The entire fruit is laced with oestrogens of various potencies in varying amounts. The mildest forms are the most common while the strongest kind is the rarest. There are over 10 oestrogenic compounds found in the pomegranate fruit. Oestrogen is defined as anything that binds to oestrogen receptors. The forms that can bind but not stimulate a strong oestrogenic effect are considered anti-oestrogenic and prevent stronger ones from having an effect. This is important for modulating diseases that are provoked by too much oestrogen."
The ability of the many components found in the pomegranate to
help safely and modulate and regulate hormones is certainly good news for women of all ages. These weaker and safer forms of oestrogens (while helping to stimulate the less responsive menopausal oestrogen receptors) will not contribute to oestrogen dominance. Pomegranate's oil, as well as its juice, peel and flowers all help reduce many of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. With the added progesterone- like benefits, women can experience more balanced hormones.
Another challenge to women's health is the increasing incidence of chronic inflammation. Inflammatory conditions include: endometriosis, fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, arthritis, autoimmune disease, asthma, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Inflammation goes hand-in-hand with free radical damage. Dr Lansky developed a process creating potent pomegranate extracts combining fermented pomegranate juice, peel, leaves, flowers, and seed. This combined antioxidant activity has a powerful synergy.
Research demonstrates that the pomegranate extract's anti-inflammatory effect inhibited the inflammatory enzyme COX-2 by an impressive 31 to 44 percent. Since oestrogen dominance also exacerbates inflammatory conditions, this superior fermented extract, in addition to its hormonal benefits, also has a huge impact on reducing inflammation. This is another huge plus for women's hormonal health!
The pomegranate is a paradoxical fruit. It has beneficial oestrogenic properties as well as anti-oestrogenic properties. Pomegranate extracts are able to effectively kill both oestrogen-positive and oestrogen-negative breast cancer cells. Dr Lansky reported in Breast Cancer Research & Treatment that, according to published studies, his unique pomegranate extracts selectively inhibited or killed the growth of breast cancer cells in culture. His ongoing research has demonstrated the extracts initiate eight different actions or mechanisms that can prevent breast cancer, as well as help in the treatment of breast cancer:
* Suppresses breast cancer cells
* Interferes with cancer's growth cycle
* Inhibits products of hormones that stimulate cell growth
* Stops tumour cell invasion
* Initiates apoptosis (cell death)
* Promotes cell differentiation
* Has anti-angiogenesis properties (stopping the growth of blood vessels to tumours)
* Acts as an aromatase inhibitor (stopping the fat cells from making oestrogen)
According to Dr Lansky, "Pomegranates are unique in that the hormonal combinations inherent in the fruit seem to be helpful both for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Pomegranates seem to replace needed oestrogen often prescribed to protect postmenopausal women against heart disease and osteoporosis, while selectively destroying oestrogen-dependent cancer cells."
Ovarian cancer hope
A yet unpublished study conducted at Yale University found impressive results with pomegranate extract and ovarian cancer cells. The study used the most virulent ovarian cancer lines, which had been resistant to all forms of treatment. The pomegranate extract was able to inhibit the cancer growth. Other types of cancers have responded positively in studies using pomegranate extracts, including prostate, stomach, lung cancers, and leukaemia.
Without adequate lubrication, vaginal tissue becomes dry and thin. Besides painful intercourse, it can also lead to incontinence, bladder infections, and pelvic floor problems. The only really effective solution is a vaginal oestriol cream, which is not advised for women diagnosed with breast cancer, or at high risk of breast cancer since. Even though it is a weaker form of oestrogen, it can still increase oestrogen levels.
This is where pomegranate comes to the rescue. Dr Earl Surwit of the University of Arizona's College of Medicine conducted a study looking for alternatives to oestrogen creams, and found that a pomegranate lipid complex successfully restored vaginal lubrication and healthy vaginal tissue. It also had a positive effect on incontinence and helped to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. In every way, the pomegranate extract was as effective as oestrogen creams, without raising oestrogen levels.
Treatment program: Use pomegranate seed oil, both topically, applying 2-4 drops daily to the vulva, and intravaginally. In addition, use a good pomegranate seed extract to help balance the entire hormonal system. Women who have been used this combination have reported an unexpected bonus: to their delight, they have experienced increased libido!
Pomegranate seed oil has many cosmetic benefits, including the ability to restore epithelial tissue, which means it helps repair and stimulate the regeneration of new skin cells. It can be used topically, directly on the hands and face, as well as orally, as a dietary supplement to:
* Nourish and revitalise your skin and body
* Stall the effects of ageing while strengthening and supporting your immune system
* Soothe minor irritation as it smooths away wrinkles