It seems like we see or read about some or other new “miracle” cosmetic product or health ingredient every other day. Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of reading about so-called “miracle products and I am sure you are too. However, I have to admit that pomegranate oil grabbed my attention. No, it cannot suddenly make you look 20 years younger than you are. It is also not some sort of cure-all substance that can be used for treating all types of ailments, but it certainly is pretty impressive stuff.
In case you do not already know, pomegranate oil is extracted from the seeds of the pomegranate fruit. Nowadays, it is widely used in the cosmetics and skin care industry, and also in the health supplements industry. If you do an online search, you will see all sorts of wild and outlandish claims regarding what all this oil can do for you. Believe me; much of what you read about pomegranate oil is simply false and misleading information.
Okay, now that I have got all that off my chest, I have to concede that this oil is seriously impressive stuff. In fact, so is pomegranate juice, but in this post, I am mostly only going to talk about pomegranate seed oil. After all, it has also drawn the attention of the scientific community, and that says quite a lot.
Internal Benefits of Pomegranate Seed Oil
While many cosmetic products contain pomegranate seed oil, it is also found in many dietary health supplements. The reason for this is because it has shown some very interesting and very promising results in a wide range of studies. Here are 3 ways in which pomegranate may benefit you internally:
Prostate Cancer, Colon Cancer and Skin Cancer
Heart Disease and High Cholesterol
Low Libido and Erectile Dysfunction
Pomegranate juice and the oil from their seeds contain a very unique range of polyphenols, which in turn makes their antioxidants very unique and very different to other antioxidants, such as vitamin-A and vitamin-C. Interestingly, all parts of the pomegranate appear to be packed full of cancer fighting compounds.
Although more human studies are needed, in vitro and in vivo laboratory studies with animals have shown that various pomegranate derivatives can destroy certain cancer cells and/or slow down proliferation. This seems to be especially true in the case of not only prostate cancer, but also skin cancer and colon cancer. You can read more about this on the US National Library of Medicine website.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Of course, heart disease is often caused or made worse by high cholesterol. Well, according to a double-blind-placebo-controlled clinical study carried out in 2010, a daily 800 mg dose of pomegranate oil over a period of 4 weeks effectively lowered triglycerides (bad cholesterol).
A study which was carried out with human volunteers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh found that consumption of pure pomegranate juice increased testosterone in saliva samples by up to 24%. I should mention that this was not actually the purpose of the study, but it was certainly an interesting discovery. After all, an increase in testosterone is known to heighten mood and increase sexual desire.
Also, because pomegranate oil has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol, this may help to reduce plaque buildup in arteries, and in so doing, also improve blood circulation. Poor circulation is often the cause of erectile dysfunction, so any improvement in blood circulation could lead to improved erectile function.
External Benefits of Pomegranate Oil
Just like pomegranate juice and pomegranate oil can benefit you internally; the oil can also benefit you externally. Just for the record, if you purchase a bottle of the oil for skin care purposes, you should not take it orally unless you are 100% certain that it is food grade oil. If you want to take the oil orally, I strongly recommend looking for a good quality dietary supplement.
Okay, let’s take a look at how the outside of your body can benefit from this wonderful amber colored oil:
Pomegranate for Hair
Pomegranate for Skin Glow
Pomegranate for Anti-Aging
Did you know that pomegranate oil can do wonders for your hair? It does a wonderful job at rejuvenating hair, and the good news is that it is suitable for all types of hair as well. You can rub the oil into your hair and scalp and then rinse it off after about 30 minutes, or you can leave it on. It is not only your hair that will benefit from this, but also your scalp.
If you are worried about ending up with greasy looking hair, you need not be. Pomegranate seed oil is not at all greasy. All it is going to do is leave your hair looking healthy and shiny. The oil nourishes your scalp; it clears debris and grime from the pores; it nourishes your hair follicles, and it penetrates and nourishes every strand of hair from the inside.
There is certainly no shortage of articles online telling you how to make all sorts of skin care treatments with pomegranate seed oil or even pomegranate juice. As is to be expected, much of what you read is just plain hype. However, do not allow that to put you off, because your skin really can benefit from this exotic fruit and its derivatives.
To begin with, cold pressed oil obtained from the seeds of the pomegranate fruit is very effective at cleaning and unclogging your pores. It effortlessly removes pollutants and excess sebum from your pores. The abundance of antioxidants in the oil may also provide an additional layer of protection against the development of skin cancer. This has been proven to be true in studies involving mice, but as far as I know, equivalent studies using humans have not yet been done.
Even if it cannot help to prevent skin cancer, it can and almost certainly will benefit your skin in other ways. For example, when oil from the seeds is applied topically to skin, it is known to promote skin regeneration within the epidermis. Studies have shown that it actually increases the thickness of the epidermis.
Interestingly, the same study referenced above also showed that while the pomegranate oil from the seeds promoted regeneration of the epidermis, extracts from the peel promoted regeneration of the dermis. Seed oil and extracts from the peels of pomegranates have also been widely used successfully for treating things like inflammation, infections, and even ulcers. I would certainly recommend using pomegranate oil for skin problems such as acne.
Pomegranates, along with their seeds, are a rich source of a substance known as Ellagic acid. In one study carried out on hairless mice that were exposed to UV light for 8 weeks, the researchers discovered that ellagic acid was able to prevent UV related collagen destruction and minimize wrinkle activity.
As we all know, sun exposure is one of the biggest causes of premature aging. We all age at some point, and the vast majority of us end up getting lines and wrinkles at some point as well. We cannot prevent this process from happening, but we can slow it down considerably if we take proper care of our health and our skin.
If ellagic acid can prevent or slow down collagen destruction even a little bit, surely that must be good news for anyone who wants to slow down the effects of aging.
Pomegranate Oil vs. Pomegranate Powder
Some people will argue that the oil is superior to the powder, while others will argue that the powder is superior to the oil. So, what is it? Let us first take a look at the main differences:
- Pomegranate Seed Oil – If you purchase good quality oil from a reputable supplier, it will be cold-pressed essential oil obtained from the seeds of organically grown pomegranate trees.
- Pomegranate Powder – Again, if you purchase your powder from a reputable supplier, it will be from organically grown seeds that have been freeze dried and then ground into a powder.
Obviously, there will be a very distinct difference in taste, and yes, from a nutritional point of view, there is a bit of a difference as well, but not a significant difference. It really all depends on what your own personal needs and requirements are.
Personally, I favor the oil rather than the powder for hair and skin care purposes. On the other hand, I favor the powder for use as a healthy food additive. It can be sprinkled on, or added to so many different types of dishes. Not only is it exceptionally healthy, but it also adds a lovely flavor to many dishes.
Apart from adding to things like stews and curries, you can also sprinkle on countless sweet dishes and desserts, including, cakes, pancakes, waffles, etc. You can also add it to many different beverages. Stir a spoonful into a glass of soda water and ice, and you have got a cool and refreshing drink that is packed with goodness.
As I have said, I prefer the oil for skin care and the powder for adding to foods and beverages. One other thing that you need to be aware of is that some powders are made from the seeds, and some powders are made from the skin of the fruit. Both are really good, but if you are going to start using the powdered form, I would recommend using powder derived from the seeds.
Although I favor the oil for skin care and the powder for consumption, you can use the powder for treating your skin as well. The powder can be used to make facial masks by mixing it with various liquids such as milk, honey or lime juice for example. The resultant mixture can then be used as a nutrient rich facial cleanser, or as a mask. It is even better if you have got some of the oil as well as some of the powder because then you can combine the two for a super-potent facial treatment.
Pomegranate Juice as a Substitute
Pomegranate juice is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so I would certainly recommend incorporating pomegranate juice into your diet. However, it can be quite challenging for many people to find good quality juice. Most of the juice you see on supermarket shelves has been processed to some extent. Still, if it is all you can get, then I would say it is better than nothing.
In terms of consumption and diet, you could easily use fresh pomegranate juice as a substitute for the powder. I don’t think it could replace pomegranate oil for external skin care though. Do not forget, cold pressed seed oil is very concentrated. Let us take a look at a few nutritional differences between the juice and the seeds:
According to the SELF Nutrition Data website, 1 cup (about 250g) of Pomegranate juice will only contain about 0.2 grams of fiber, while 250g of seeds will contain about 10 grams of fiber. Seeds also contain significantly more protein than juice, and considerably more vitamin C. Juice, on the other hand, is a far better source of vitamin K.
If you have easy access to fresh pomegranate fruit, then I would recommend eating the fresh fruit rather than relying on commercially available juice and powders for your nutritional requirements. If the fresh fruits are hard to come by, then by all means find some good quality juice and/or seed powder, or a good dietary supplement.
For external skin care, I personally do not think that juice or powder can be used in place of the seed oil. The oil from the seeds has so many excellent qualities that can be a huge benefit to skin when it is applied topically. The oil is also rich in linoleic acid which makes it a fantastic option for people who have oily skin as well.
You will find linoleic acid in many “oil-control” facial cleansers, but you can be sure that pomegranate seed oil has more of it than most brand name soaps and cleansers. Of course, in addition to the linoleic acid, pomegranate seed oil is also loaded with things that will leave your face feeling wonderfully refreshed and rejuvenated.