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Pomegranates: Ancient Roots to Modern Medicine
     

Pomegranates: Ancient Roots to Modern Medicine

by David Heber
 
While one may not find ancient studies that substantiate the pomegranate's curative and preventive qualities, the exalted status of this fruit goes back as far as the history of agriculture itself. Allusions to the pomegranate are readily found in the oldest cultures of the Indus Valley, ancient China, and classical Greece, as well as in the Old Testament.

To modern

Overview

While one may not find ancient studies that substantiate the pomegranate's curative and preventive qualities, the exalted status of this fruit goes back as far as the history of agriculture itself. Allusions to the pomegranate are readily found in the oldest cultures of the Indus Valley, ancient China, and classical Greece, as well as in the Old Testament.

To modern scientists, the biochemistry of the pomegranate is as equally fascinating as its storied place in literature and religion. Providing an unprecedented compilation of scientific information, Pomegranates: Ancient Roots to Modern Medicine offers an exploration of the biochemistry,
health effects, and cultivation of the pomegranate that is as authoritative as it is unparalleled. Featuring the contributions of a multidisciplinary and international team of prominent researchers, it presents the latest findings on the potential human health benefits of this exceptionally polyphenol-rich fruit.

As the research indicates, the physiological effects of pomegranate juice constituents are remarkable in their preventive potential against two of the major chronic diseases of aging - heart disease and cancer.

Many of the pioneering researchers responsible for initiating our newfound fascination with pomegranates discuss its biochemistry, detailing the location and action of the phytochemicals found in the fruit's flesh, peels and seeds. They present evidence of the pomegranate's impact on heart disease, including its ability to enhance nitric oxide production in endothelial cells. They also reveal the significant antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects attributed to the pomegranate in battling several different types of cancer cells, as well as its ability to retard tumor growth in animals.

Recognizing that the pomegranate is only as valuable as it is available, the editors include a substantial section on commercialization and another on plant growth and improvement. These additions make this text as uniquely essential for botanists and agriculturists as it is for nutritionists, cancer researchers, natural product chemists, botanical supplement producers and consumers, and pharmacognosists seeking to evaluate both the pomegranate's legacy and future as a powerful natural healing agent.

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Charles E Elson, BS, MS, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Description: The extensive review of the types of structures of secondary plant metabolites, often termed phytochemicals or non-nutritive compounds, in the pomegranate provides a platform for subsequent reviews of the impact of the fruit and its constituents on physiological responses and underlying molecular actions that contribute to wellness.
Purpose: This book is the 44th in a series of reviews, each with the goal of providing industrial and academic researchers with an in-depth coverage of the current status of research on a major source of phytochemicals with medicinal potential. The bark, leaf, flower, fruit, and seed of the pomegranate tree have been used for centuries to ameliorate diseases. The editors and contributing authors provide timely reviews of the contemporary investigations of chemical constituents of the fruit and seed and the biochemical responses to prominent constituents and extracts of the fruit that likely play roles in disease processes. These efforts lay a foundation for continuing research as do the terminating chapters focused on the critical roles botanical factors and post-harvest technology play in optimizing these medicinal properties.
Audience: The reviews presented by eminent scientists in this book offer industrial and academic researchers a foundation for developing research protocols.
Features: The book opens with a comprehensive listing of the types and classes of phytochemicals (secondary plant metabolites) identified from pomegranate fruit (and tree) with a focus on those likely to be consumed. Subsequent chapters tend to focus on the impact of pomegranate juice rather than individual components on diverse activities that alter the course of diseases (stroke, cardiovascular disease, cancers), antioxidant and antimicrobial actions, and estrogenic activities. In the isolated studies employing specific constituents, the levels required for a definitive action tend to be much higher than those attained in bioavailability studies. Nevertheless, the significant physiological responses to pomegranate juice and fermented pomegranate juice support the concept that is the sum of the distinct responses triggered by the individual classes of phytochemicals that offers greater chemopreventive potency than that attained with the individual components. Responses to pomegranate fruit juice at the molecular level which impact on signal transduction pathways associated with chemopreventive activities are delineated in chapter 6 and again in chapter 7. This redundancy reinforces one's enthusiasm for encouraging the continuation of this line of research. Other than the figures presented in chapters 1 and 3, the remainder are rather pedestrian; captions are misplaced on two figures (6.1, 6.2).
Assessment: This series, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - Industrial Profiles, offers critical updates on the potential benefits attained with the consumption of diverse plant materials. This book extends the offering.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780849398124
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
07/26/2006
Series:
Medicinal and Aromatic Plants - Industrial Profiles Series
Pages:
262
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.80(d)

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