Τhe fruit and its symbolism

The pomegranate is a symbol of fertility, prosperity, fruitfulness and good luck.

For many centuries, on New Year's Day, tradition dictates that we welcome the New Year by splitting a pomegranate open on the doorstep for good luck. The pomegranate, an archetypal symbol in the traditions of many ancient peoples, is also split open at weddings to symbolize fertility, prosperity, and good luck for the new couple, not only in our country but across various cultures. In China, it is customary to give a ceramic pomegranate as a wedding gift, while Bedouins split open pomegranates and throw them into the newlyweds' tent to bring fertility. Moreover, the pomegranate symbolizes both life and death, as even when dry on the outside, its seeds remain full of juice on the inside.

Chemical Composition 

The botanical name of the pomegranate is Punica granatum. 'Punica' takes its name from the ancient Phoenician city in North Africa, where Roman soldiers, en route to the first Phoenician war in the 3rd century BC, first encountered the pomegranate tree. Meanwhile, "granatum" means "granular". In English, it is called pomegranate due to its resemblance to an apple with many seeds. The name is derived from the Latin word 'pomum,' meaning apple, and "granatus", meaning "with seeds".

The Hebrew name for the pomegranate (rimmon) and the Arabic name (rumman) both trace their origins to the words "fruit of heaven", reflecting the high regard that peoples hold for this fruit.

The pomegranate fruit is composed of three main parts, each with its own botanical and chemical properties: the seeds or episperm, the juice, and the rind. Rich in vitamins A, B, C, and minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, silicon, sodium, sulfur, zinc, etc., it also contains large quantities of the antioxidant selenium and is extremely low in calories.

Most of the chemical analysis of pomegranates has focused on the juice, pericarp, and seed oil. The juice contains significant amounts of hydrolytic tannins (gallic and ellagic acids), anthocyanins (cyanidin, delphinidin, pelargonidin), as well as phenolic acids (caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid). The rind contains substances such as luteolin, quercetin, kaempferol, and narisenin in large quantities.

Particular attention has been paid to researching pomegranate seeds, specifically focusing on seed oil (the seed refers only to the hard, white, inner part; the red, juicy coating that encloses the seed is called the episperm). Seed oil contains approximately 60% alpha-punic acid, a potent antioxidant. It is primarily used in cosmetics production due to its emollient, nourishing, rejuvenating, soothing, and healing properties. Pomegranate seeds also have the highest estrogen content among plants, reaching 17mg/kg of dry seeds. There is growing interest in the potential of pomegranate oil as a potent plant estrogen and its possible role in cancer prevention, particularly breast cancer.



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