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OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW

This monograph covers the peer-reviewed basic science and clinical research on POM Wonderful® pomegranate juice (PJ) and supporting evidence on generic PJ and PJ components. Research on other parts of the tree (bark, leaf, and root) have not been included in this review. POM Wonderful PJ is a proprietary product made exclusively from the whole fruits of ‘Wonderful’ pomegranates (Punica granatum ‘Wonderful’, Punicaceae) grown in California by Paramount Farming Company (Bakersfield, CA). The whole fruit POM Wonderful PJ is richer in antioxidant compounds than juice made solely from the arils. POM Wonderful PJ is also distinct from most commercial whole fruit juices in that it has been chemically characterized and normalized to contain specified levels of bioactive constituents to the extent that such characterization is possible for a natural food product.

Pomegranate fruit has a fascinating history of traditional use as food, medicine, and cultural icon, dating back thousands of years.1 Originating in the Middle East, pomegranates were one of the earliest fruits to be domesticated, and their range now includes the Far East, India, the Mediterranean, and the Americas. A symbol of fertility and immortality, pomegranates’ healing properties were discussed in one of the oldest medical texts, the Ebers papyrus from Egypt (circa 1500 BCE).2 The fruit is mentioned in both Greek and Persian mythology representing life, regeneration, and marriage.3 In Judaism, pomegranate seeds are said to number 613—one for each of the Torah’s 613 commandments. The fruit is also one of the 3 blessed fruits in Buddhism. In various forms of traditional Asian medicine, pomegranate fruits were recommended as a health tonic and as a treatment for numerous ailments including diarrhea, dysentery, and diabetes.

Modern scientific research employing in vitro, animal, and human models has found that POM Wonderful PJ is a potent antioxidant that promotes cardiovascular health and inhibits the proliferation of many cancers. To date, most pomegranate researchers have focused on the juice’s polyphenolic constituents, especially the ellagitannins and gallotannins such as punicalagins, as these compounds exert strong antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer activity. POM Wonderful PJ clinical trials are critically reviewed in the Clinical Review section on page 11.