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Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Lifesaving Properties of Pomegranate Seed Oil

In Greek mythology, the pomegranate was the fruit that doomed the beautiful Persephone to six months in the underworld as Hades’ chosen queen and partner (a story that explained the annual transition between summer and winter). It was a rule of the Fates that anyone who consumed food or drink in the underworld of the afterlife was destined to remain there. Some Jewish scholars believe that the pomegranate was in fact the real forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden; Hinduism likewise reveres the pomegranate, citing it as a favorite fruit of Durga, the ten-armed goddess of retribution and justice.[i] To this day, pomegranates serve as a prominent symbol of life, luck, fertility, resurrection, and abundance in Armenian, Greek, Jewish, Azerbaijani, Chinese, and Indian cultures, among others.[ii]

Pomegranate seed oil, luxurious and deeply nourishing, appears to deserve the reverence shown by our forefathers worldwide. Extracted from fresh pomegranate seeds, a little bit of this oil goes a very long way—which is fortunate, since it takes over 200 lbs. of such seeds to produce just one pound of this precious elixir![iii] Highly prized due to its rich composition of flavonoids, the omega-5 fatty acid punicic acid (65%), and extremely potent minerals, pomegranate seed oil is prized for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes and can be used internally and externally.

While it might not be the key to heaven, pomegranate seed oil can certainly help us to keep enjoying our time on earth for a little while longer.




Among the most significant benefits of pomegranate seed oil are its anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that oil extracted from this plant disrupts the spread, invasion, and angiogenesis of tumor cells in the body, suggesting a wide range of clinical applications for the treatment and prevention of cancer.[iv] Clinical trials at the Pusan National University of Korea showed that pomegranate seed oil could prevent the spread of breast cancer cells by up to 90%, with its polyphenols successfully inhibiting the formation of cancerous lesions.[v] Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute have also demonstrated how pomegranate extracts contain a wide range of bioactive substances and are used as anticancer agents, particularly due to the punicic acid.[vi] Applying pomegranate seed oil on the skin also fights against the natural oxidation of skin tissue and combats free radicals by stimulating the creation of keratinocytes, resulting in reinvigorated and deeply nourished skin.

  • Overnight facial mask: 2 tsp. rosehip seed oil + 2 tsp. jojoba oil + 1 tsp. pomegranate seed oil + 1 tsp. Vitamin E oil + 5 drops lavender essential oil + 2 drops geranium essential oil. Dab 5-7 drops onto your skin and neck and leave overnight; cleanse skin as usual in the morning.
  • Anti-aging moisturizer: 1 tbsp. cocoa butter + 2 tbsp. jojoba oil + 1 tbsp. pomegranate seed oil + 1 tbsp. aloe vera gel; melt cocoa butter with the oils over low heat and allow to cool; gently mix in aloe vera gel and apply to face with  fingertips.
  • Whipped body butter: 1 oz. cocoa butter + 2 oz. coconut oil + 1 oz. pomegranate seed oil + 4 oz. shea butter (optional: add a few drops of essential oils of your choice); melt cocoa butter over low heat, mix in shea butter and coconut oil till melted, then add pomegranate seed oil. Let cool in freezer for 20 minutes or until stirrable but non-liquid. Whip the mixture with a handheld blender till desired consistency, and apply liberally on your skin.
  • Stimulating hair conditioner: apply pomegranate seed oil directly to your dry hair and massage until absorbed in scalp; wait 20 minutes before shampooing and conditioning as usual. Can be applied once a week for unclogging pores and stimulating follicles.



Antioxidant & Antiradical

Studies reveal that pomegranate oil has chemo-preventive efficacy in mice, including reduced tumor incidence and decreased tumor numbers; the oil has also shown to be effective against UVA- and UVB-induced epidermal damage in humans, supporting the potential use of pomegranate polyphenolics in topical applications.[vii]

Pomegranate seed oil also provides an array of cardiovascular benefits given its high antioxidant concentration (and especially due to its great levels of anti-atherogenic punicic acid) that help to maintain proper cholesterol levels and thereby reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. In a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial hosted by the Obesity Research Center at Iran’s Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, the administration of 400 mg of pomegranate seed oil for four weeks in hyperlipidaemic subjects showed favorable effects of lipid profiles, showing a significant decrease in cholesterol levels.[viii] Pomegranate seed oil has even been proven to protect the liver from damage and to improve its function; a study on rats by Egyptian researchers at Alexandria University revealed that treatment with this oil significantly reduced oxidative stress on the liver and defended it from injury.[ix]



Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Plasmodial, & Anti-Inflammatory

Pomegranates are known to contain hundreds of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, anthocyanins, flavones, lineonic acid, and ellagitannins as some of the most therapeutic; our ancestors were well-aware of these anti-bacterial properties, using extracted oil to treat conditions ranging from ulcers and diarrhea to microbial infections and hemorrhage. Due to its potent anti-plasmodial properties, pomegranate seed oil can also help treat malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that affected around 214 million people and killed an estimated 438,000 in 2015 alone[x]; in India, a powerful medication based on pomegranate is being used to help patients heal from malaria[xi].

Even in possibly less severe scenarios—as when wrestling with a viral infection in the respiratory system—pomegranate seed oil is a commendable ally. Its bioactive polyphenols and antioxidants promote cardiovascular health and optimize blood pressure levels. Studies have shown that the seed extract displays anti-influenza and anti-viral properties, as the plant’s active compounds are in fact toxic to the cells of the virus. Researchers at the University of Havana concluded that traditional medicines entailing pomegranate extracts support the treatment of respiratory diseases.[xii]



The Essence of Balance

In general, it’s hard to go wrong with pomegranate seed oil. Studies have even shown that incorporating it in your diet can benefit mind and muscular coordination, delay the onset of Alzheimer[xiii], and significantly improve verbal and visual memory and retention.[xiv] It’s been proven to promote oral health, alleviate osteoarthritis, and delay skin aging. Just a few drops of this amber liquid in your beauty and health routine can result in remarkable benefits. As always, consult with an expert before use. Check with your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, experience low blood pressure, exhibit plant allergies, or if you're facing or dealing with any type of surgery (pomegranates may interfere with blood pressure control).[xv]