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Health Benefits of Pomegranate Peels

Pomegranate- bright red, with ruby colored, jewel like seeds/arils embedded within it, has been revered as a divine fruit. Believed to have flourished in the Garden of Eden, Pomegranate finds itself as a part of ancient symbolism, rituals, beliefs and folk practices.

Vedas – the most ancient texts of Hindu Philosophy, consider Pomegranate as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. In Chinese symbolism, pomegranate with its bright red skin and tasty seeds, is a symbol of abundance, passion, happiness and fertility.1 Its beauty and mouth refreshing flavor also comes with equally amazing health benefits. The flowers, leaves, bark, peel and off-course the arils or seeds of pomegranate are all edible and have potent medicinal qualities.

Pomegranate peels left to dry in an old brass plate, near smoldering ‘chulha’ (cooking stove that uses wood as fuel) or in the sun, was a common sight at my maternal home in Goa. Pomegranate peels were one of the most precious ingredients of my grandmother’s medicine box. Throwing away peels of pomegranate was criminal according to her! With so many health benefits under its ‘skin’, wasting peels of fruits like pomegranate is indeed a crime.

Ayurveda holds pomegranate fruit in high regards due to its ability to pacify all the three doshas. It has been considered useful and wholesome in many diseases ranging form anemia, dysentery, diarrhea, heart disease, intestinal worms and many more. Peels or rind of pomegranate which is astringent and bitter in taste can be used in treating many disorders. Due to the Kashaya- tikta i.e. astringent- bitter taste of the peel, it helps in curbing swellings, inflammations, diarrhea, dysentery, bleeding etc. It promotes healing, boosts digestion and is a tonic for the liver.  It is packed with antioxidants and can be used as a potent preservative in foods as well as in pharmaceutics. In fact, pomegranate peel has more antioxidants than the arils. Pomegranate peels also have anti-bacterial activity.

How to dry pomegranate peels?
Choose only organic pomegranates for saving the peels.
Score or give longitudinal cuts on the peel of the fruit. Then, gently remove the peels with hands or by using a paring knife.
Once all the arils/ seeds are collected, cut or tear the pomegranate peel into pieces of about one inch size.
Arrange thinly in a plate or a cookie sheet so that no peels are overlapping each other.
Place in a sunny spot every day till the peel gets hard and loses all the moisture.
Once the dried peels have completely cooled, place them in a zip-lock bag or an airtight container.

A must have home remedy in your medicine cabinet; pomegranate peel can be used for giving relief in following conditions:

Diarrhea/dysentry , colitis, hemorrhoids,  passing blood or mucus through stools:
Sun-dried pomegranate peel- ½ cup
Cumin seeds- 1tbsp
Buttermilk- ½ cup
Rock Salt to taste
Soak the pomegranate peel in water for about 30 minutes. Once it softens, blend all the ingredients in a food processor, till they are homogenized. Add rock salt to taste. Give 1/4th to 1/2 cup of this mixture, three to four times in a day in case of diarrhea, dysentery, colitis, hemorrhoids/piles and stomach ache. This recipe also works for pets (dogs and cats)  if they are suffering from watery stools or are passing blood or mucus through stools.

Pomegranate peels contain tannins, which are very powerful astringents help in reducing the inflammation of the intestines, swelling of the hemorrhoids, tightens the intestinal lining and stops bleeding and diarrhea. Paste of pomegranate peel can also be applied externally to swollen and bleeding piles.

Boils, pimples and acne:
Roasted and powdered pomegranate skin can be mixed with rose water or lime juice and applied as a face-pack for soothing pimples, boils, acne and for removing white heads and black heads.
Bad breath (halitosis), gingivitis, mouth ulcers:
1tbsp of pomegranate peel powder should be taken twice daily with water for preventing bad breath. Gargles with decoction of pomegranate peels are also effective in this condition. Massaging gums with pomegranate peel powder  helps in soothing swollen, inflamed and bleeding gums. Pomegranate powder mixed with tiny amounts of freshly ground black pepper can be used as a toothpowder for preventing dental caries.
Sore throat, loss of voice, hoarseness:
Decoction made by boiling pomegranate peels can be used for gargling in case of sore throat and tonsillitis.

Pomegranate with all its benefits is truly an amazing fruit. Next time you bring a pomegranate home, save the peels for a handy home remedy when in need.

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