The American Botanical Council (ABC) welcomes Verdure Sciences’ adoption of pomegranate (Punica granatum, Lythraceae) through ABC’s Adopt-an-Herb botanical education program.
Verdure Sciences’ adoption supports ABC’s extensive HerbMedPro database, ensuring that this essential educational resource remains up to date for researchers, health professionals, industry, students, consumers, and other members of the herbal and dietary supplements community.
HerbMedPro is a comprehensive, interactive online database that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data on the uses and health effects of more than 250 herbs, spices, and medicinal plants.
“Pomegranate is highly recognized for its antioxidant properties and has become increasingly popular with the masses over the past decade,” wrote Kristen Marshall, marketing coordinator for Verdure Sciences. “It is important to continue to strive for excellence in the industry, even with a well-established ingredient like pomegranate.”
She also noted that expanding research and emerging evidence are supporting the safety and efficacy of punicalagins (characteristic antioxidant constituents of the pomegranate fruit). According to Marshall, Verdure Sciences believes the adoption is important because Pomella Extract, the company’s branded, patented, and proprietary standardized pomegranate extract, was developed to deliver punicalagins and other beneficial metabolites to the body.
“Verdure is excited to partner with ABC to recognize the increasing clinical initiatives on pomegranate and curate scientific and clinical research into HerbMedPro through this adoption,” Marshall continued.
Ajay Patel, founder and CEO of Verdure Sciences, wrote: “It is our responsibility to strive for continuous improvement by ensuring that supplements have proven identity, are safe, and meet label claims.”
According to Patel, pomegranate adulteration is a growing concern that can be addressed with effective traceability programs and by testing raw materials with validated methods. “In addition to focusing on sound quality-control practices and traceability, we must create supplements that deliver clinically efficacious doses of active compounds,” Patel added. The company believes the adoption will help achieve these goals.
ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal said: “ABC is deeply grateful to Verdure Sciences for its generous adoption of pomegranate on ABC’s HerbMedPro database. Pomegranate’s popularity in beverages and dietary supplements has made it a major food and dietary ingredient in international markets. Verdure’s adoption of pomegranate will allow ABC to keep up with the scientific and clinical literature on pomegranate for the benefit of scientific researchers, industry members, and consumers.”
Pomegranate is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree that can grow to more than 20 feet tall. It has been cultivated for millennia for its edible, orange-sized fruits and as an ornamental plant. Native to Persia, pomegranate reportedly was one of the first domesticated fruit crops, along with fig (Ficus spp., Moraceae), date palm (Phoenix dactylifera, Arecaceae), grape (Vitis vinifera, Vitaceae), and olive (Olea europaea, Oleaceae). The species was cultivated and naturalized throughout parts of the Mediterranean region at such an early date that it sometimes has been considered indigenous to some of these areas. Pomegranate, which is fairly drought-tolerant and generally adapts well to a wide range of climate and soil conditions, was domesticated independently in various locations.
There is evidence that pomegranate was domesticated in the Middle East about 5,000 years ago. Pieces of pomegranate peel from the Early Bronze Age were discovered at Jericho and Arad (both in present-day Israel). In addition, excavations of the Uluburun shipwreck, a shipwreck thought to be from the 14th century BCE (the Late Bronze Age) that was discovered in 1982 off the Mediterranean coast of present-day Turkey, yielded remains of pomegranate among the cargo. In 1323 BCE, a pomegranate-shaped silver vase and painted ivory pomegranate spoon were among more than 5,000 objects that were entombed with the Egyptian King Tutankhamun. To the Egyptians at the time, pomegranate symbolized the promise of an afterlife. Pomegranate also was mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey as being a fruit common to the gardens of Phoenicia and Phrygia.
In his Naturalis Historia, the first-century Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote: “The branches of the pomegranate keep away snakes, the little buds neutralize the stings of scorpions, and the fruit is in request for easing the nausea of women with child.” Also in the first century, the Greek physician Dioscorides, in his De Materia Medica, recommended pomegranate to treat various ailments, including earaches and ulcers.
The pomegranate is significant in the religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. It often is associated with fertility and invincibility. Some scholars believe that it was a pomegranate, not an apple (Malus spp., Rosaceae), that the serpent used to tempt Eve in the biblical Book of Genesis, since apples are not believed to be native to the geographical area of the Eastern Mediterranean.
The common name “pomegranate” derives from the Latin pomum, meaning “apple,” and granatum, meaning “seeded” or “many seeded.” The Romans reportedly called the species malum punicum, meaning “apple of Carthage,” which evolved to Punicum granatum. Eventually, 18th-century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus assigned the Latin binomial Punica granatum to the species.
More information about pomegranate can be found on the pomegranate adoption page in ABC’s HerbMedPro database and its HerbMedPro record.
About Verdure Sciences
Established in 1997, Noblesville, Indiana-based Verdure Sciences is a supplier of plant-based ingredients. The company’s commitment to quality control and its global procurement network enable it to offer both new and traditional ingredients with traceability and scientific validity, according to its website. The company believes in the intrinsic synergy of plants that have been used as medicine for centuries. It focuses on developing what it calls “natural spectrum” extracts that reflect a plant’s natural phytochemical profile. A research network of universities, medical centers, and laboratories helps Verdure Sciences develop its ingredients. The company screens ingredients for biological activities, safety, and chemical characterization. It also evaluates the environmental impact of sourcing botanical raw materials. Ingredients that meet the company’s initial criteria are then evaluated with a variety of studies, often including human clinical research. Verdure Sciences serves and supplies customers around the world with botanical ingredients, and it offers product support through innovative marketing and educational efforts.
About Adopt-an-Herb and HerbMedPro
Verdure Sciences is one of 54 US and international companies that have supported ABC’s educational efforts to collect, organize, and disseminate reliable, traditional, and science-based information, including clinical studies, on herbs, medicinal plants, and other botanical- and fungal-based ingredients through the Adopt-an-Herb program. This program encourages companies, organizations, and individuals to “adopt” one or more specific herbs for inclusion and ongoing maintenance in the HerbMedPro database. To date, 60 herbs have been adopted.
Each adopted herb is continuously researched for new scientific articles and pharmacological, toxicological, and clinical studies, ensuring that its HerbMedPro record stays current and robust. Access to the studies is conveniently organized by publication type, with each study condensed to a one-sentence summary with a link to the official abstract on PubMed (the US National Library of Medicine’s free-access database) or other publicly accessible database.
HerbMedPro is available to ABC members at the Academic level and higher. Its “sister” site, HerbMed, is available to the general public at no cost, with access to 25-30 herb records from the larger HerbMedPro database. In keeping with ABC’s position as an independent research and education organization, herb adopters do not influence the scientific information that is compiled for their respective adopted herbs.