Written by Karen Pilkington and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated January 16, 2013

Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Abstract and key points

  • Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is an edible fruit traditionally used to treat a range of ailments
  • Evidence on effectiveness in cancer is insufficient
  • Few adverse effects have been reported

This summary is currently (April 2016) being updated, the version published here was last updated in January 2013. 

Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is an edible fruit originating in the Middle East, the juice of which is widely available commercially. Various parts of the fruit including the juice have been used traditionally to treat a range of ailments.

The juice and other extracts have shown a wide range of bioactivity in pre-clinical studies, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-infective and anti-oxidant effects.

On the basis of this research, beneficial effects are claimed in cancer, specifically in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.

Only two trials in human have been conducted to date: one an uncontrolled trial and the other a randomised controlled trial. Both were in patients with prostate cancer and both reported increased prostate specific antigen (PSA) doubling time.

Pomegranate juice has been widely consumed for many years and has been used in studies lasting up to 3 years and appears to be safe. A small number of cases of allergic reactions and possible interaction with warfarin have been reported. Limited safety data is available on extracts.

There is insufficient evidence from clinical studies to draw conclusions about possible effectiveness in cancer but there do not appear to be any serious concerns as to its safety.

Read about the regulation, supervision and reimbursement of herbal medicine at NAFKAMs website CAM Regulation.

Citation

Karen Pilkington, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Pomegranate (Punica granatum) [online document]. http://cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Herbal-products/Pomegranate-Punica-granatum. January 16, 2013.

Document history

First published in January 2013, authored by Karen Pilkington.

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