Pomegranate: The Celestial Fruit?

Which of the following medical organizations would you say features the pomegranate in its coat of arms?

  • The British Medical Association
  • Royal College of Physicians
  • Royal College of Midwives
  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

The answer?  - Not just one, but all of them. Such is the reverence with which the world of medicine has and continues to embrace this crowned jewel of the fruit kingdom.

"we are just beginning to fully understand why pomegranates have been venerated for millennia for their wide ranging medicinal properties."

As if the endorsement of such esteemed medical institutions was not enough - way before the medicinal properties of the pomegranate were described it was also held sacred by many of the world’s religions including; Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity & Islam.

Centuries have passed and today using the most expensive & sophisticated tools and procedures we are just beginning to fully understand why pomegranates have been venerated for millennia for their wide ranging medicinal properties.

Protocols designed for demonstrating the effectiveness of man made pharmaceutical drugs (the cost of bringing a new drug to market has been estimated between $500million to $2billion1) are being used to provide an evidence base for the effectiveness of pomegranates (effectively freely available from the drug cabinet of nature) in treating various ailments.

In January 2000, the British Medical Association launched the Millennium Festival of Medicine. Using the theme “Celebrating the past, shaping the future” many of the events looked at changes in medical practice over the centuries. When it came to designing the logo for the Festival, the committee had a short list of some very strong contenders to choose from - namely; the human body, DNA, a heart beat and the pomegranate2.

How was the Millennium Festival of Medicine to be branded? What was more pivotal to the message of “celebrating the past” and “shaping the future” of medicine, healthcare and wellness?

You guessed correctly, in a further astonishing endorsement of the pomegranate, it was chosen as the logo for the Millennium Festival of Medicine.

In Persian* mythology Isfandyiar having eaten a pomegranate becomes invincible. Arguably the medal for invincibility has to be awarded to the pomegranate itself. Anything able to stand the test of time in the way the humble pomegranate has deserves the respect and adoration with which civilizations and clinicians of the past and present embrace this celestial fruit.

Dr Sepe Sehati, Co-founder, ClickTell Consulting

1.  Health Aff (Millwood) 2006, 25 (2): 420–8
2.  BMJ 2000, 3214:1153-4
*. Pomegranates originated in Persia (modern day Iran).

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