Since ancient times, the pomegranate and pomegranate tree have shown up as sacred symbols in many of the world's religions. The pomegranate was part of Catherine of Aragon's coat of arms, and was included in those of many others, especially medical institutions. Traditional medicine and spiritual systems including Ayervedic, Roman, Judaism and Buddhism refer to the fruit's health-giving properties, and it also is known for its effect on fertility and rejuvenation. In fact, many scholars believe the pomegranate may have been the original Tree of Life, as there are many descriptions of it in the Bible.
New research is confirming why pomegranates may be the life-givers they have been honored as in the past. One of the important groups of compounds in pomegranate is ellagitannins, of which punicalagin is the main one. Punicalagin is able to break down into bioavailable ellagic acid within the body; the latter does not exist naturally in a free form. Ellagitannins form complexes unique to their source and also provide health benefits.
A new proprietary blend of pomegranate ellagitannins, gallotannins and anthocyanins, is now available on the market for use in dietary supplements and functional foods. According to Geni Herbs (Noblesville, Ind.), the makers of PomElla[r], it is useful for a number of health benefits, including helping to regulate the inflammatory response, promoting healthy vascular function, providing potent antioxidant activity and maintaining optimal cardiovascular health. This proprietary blend--called PomElla--was shown to inhibit LDL cholesterol oxidation in vitro, more evidence that it promotes optimal cardiovascular function. Company officials claim PomElla is the only pomegranate product available that is standardized to punicalagin content, and has been proven to inhibit LDL oxidation in vitro better than either vitamin E or pure ellagic acid.
In vitro as well as clinical studies have confirmed the synergy of the constituents in PomElla. In the in vitro research, PomElla exhibited five times greater antioxidant behavior than either vitamin E or ellagic acid. The study measured the decrease of copper-catalyzed oxidation of LDL+VLDL cholesterol isolated from human plasma by the three antioxidants. The new study supports the previous research on punicalagin, and that the wide range of antioxidants in pomegranates work by modulating inflammatory processes which result in cardiovascular benefits. Results of human clinical research confirming its health benefits are expected to be released this summer.
PomElla is available in powder, granular and tea cut forms. According to Blake Ebersole, marketing assistant of Geni Herbs, it is suitable for a wide range of applications, from dietary supplement to functional food applications. “Most of the companies that buy PomElla are interested in using it in their fruit-based food and beverage applications. It is especially useful for those applications in which companies are looking to increase the antioxidant power. We are also looking at the possibility of its use in topical applications in the future, so you can imagine there is a wide range of application options possible.”