Pomegranate seed oil is derived from the seeds of pomegranates, the fruits of the punica granatum plant. This plant is assumed to be native to the regions of Southeast Asia. The term 'pomegranate' is derived from two Latin words - 'pomum' (apple), and 'granatum' (seeded).
The pomegranate plant has been cultivated in many parts of the Mediterranean and Caucasian (Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) regions for a long time. The reddish fruit produced by this plant contains around 600 seeds that remain covered by a thick skin.
Pomegranate Oil and Its Benefits
The oil extracted from the seeds of pomegranates is mainly known for its moisturizing, nourishing, and protective qualities, for which it is increasingly used in many lip balms, face creams, lotions, and facial serums. This oil has been found to be very effective in softening dry, irritated, and aging skin.
The oil activates the growth of keratinocytes (the major constituent of epidermis), and thereby contributes towards the regeneration of the outer layer of the skin. It is also believed to stimulate the synthesis of collagen, the main fibrous protein of the connective tissues. This oil can also help retain and improve skin elasticity, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
This oil is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties, and so, it can be used in treating minor and major skin irritation, dry and scaly skin, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin disorders. It can also help reduce swelling and muscle pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory property of this oil can be attributed to the presence of conjugated fatty acid, mainly punicic acid in it.
This oil is also touted for its bactericidal properties. According to some recent studies, the oil may be effective in preventing skin cancer, as it can help reduce lesions and tumors. Some experiments performed on mice have shown the efficacy of this oil in reducing the risk of skin cancer. Some laboratory experiments have indicated that this oil may be effective in preventing the proliferation of breast cancer as well.
Pomegranate seed oil can promote the health of the cardiovascular system, and normalize lipid metabolism in hyperlipidemic conditions. It can also protect the body from the damage caused by the free radicals. The oil contains phytoestrogens, which can produce estrogenic and/or antiestrogenic effects, which in turn may help alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
So far, no dangerous side effects of this oil have been reported. This oil is suitable for both topical and internal use, though it is advisable to consult an experienced physician or a professional in this area, before using it internally.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.