Monday, May 27, 2013

Prodigal Pomegranite (seed oil)

Punica granatum (pomegranate tree)

The Pomegranate tree is native to Asia and throughout the Middle East.  This tree and it's prized red globe-like fruits have been cultivated by humans for food, medicine, and beauty since ancient times. Like many fruit trees, it takes the pomegranate tree approximately 3 years to begin bearing fruit, and once reaching maturity (around 10-15 years after planting) 500 or more fruits can ripen in a single growing season.  Typically pomegranates are found to be "in season" from late September to February in the Northern Hemisphere and early March through May in the Southern Hemisphere. These trees are naturally drought resistant however the most fruit comes from trees that are watered in regular intervals.

Harvest Time
Only the best fruit is sold as fresh whole fruit, the remainder of each harvest is set aside for juicing and turning into pomegranate seed oil.  What is left after juicing is often fed to cattle and other livestock animals in the region.  There has been a spike in demand for both pomegranate juice and the precious oil that resides with in the seeds over the last 5-7 years.  The United States and Europe are the number one consumers of pomegranate products in the world. Did you know that it takes over 200 pounds of fresh ripe pomegranate fruit to make just a single pound of its precious seed oil?

Pomegranate Seeds

Why is the oil of this delicious and beautiful fruit so sought after?   This soft amber liquid holds fast to its origins and carries along with it a slightly fruity odor. It is a highly nutrient dense oil that can be used both internally as well as having many external uses.  Pomegranate seed oil is rich in the rare Omega 5 essential fatty acid (not nearly as well known as its counterparts omega's 3, 6, and 9).  In fact pomegranate seed oil is the only known botanical source of Conjugated Linolenic Acid CLnA, also known as Punicic Acid.  Punicic Acid is one of the most potent antioxidants currently known. This little beauty also falls under the category of a natural plant based estrogen (phytoestrogen).  The molecular structure of this particular fatty acid makes it very easy to be absorbed and used by our skin. It works in a way that helps bring other nutrients directly into the skin cell.  And when our cells have proper nutrition this in turn accelerates the process of healing and rejuvenation. Pomegranate seed oil contains many vitamins and minerals that are also beneficial to our skins health and well being. For example vitamin B1, B2, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium are all found with in.  In studies it is showing that this lovely little oil has much to contribute to our skins vitality.  It creates firmer more supple skin by improving elasticity, balances skin pH, has anti inflammatory properties, and leaves no greasy residue on the skins surface.  It helps unify color and overall tone of facial skin by lightening hyperpigmented areas. It is moisturizing and a known natural preservative, it protects our skin from free radicals and is even said to prevent and help destroy the formation of caner cells when applied topically to sun damaged skin.

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What do you know about pomegranate seed oil? do you currently use it internally? Externally? Please share, we would love to know your thoughts on this recently very sought after oil.

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