Pomegranate Tea: Medicinal Properties, Buying Tips, and More
Pomegranate tea is typically made from dried and crushed pomegranate flowers or from the dried arils (arils are the flesh-coated seeds inside the pomegranate fruit). In the US and UK, health food stores that stock this exotic flower tea usually sell it blended with other teas – such as green, white, or oolong tea – as the flavor of pure pomegranate tea can be quite strong. Whether pure or blended with other teas, pomegranate tea has been shown to offer some interesting health benefits.
To learn more about the medicinal properties of this healthy herbal infusion, continue reading. At the end of this article you'll also find a couple of tips on where to get real pomegranate tea (not the fake stuff that is labeled pomegranate tea but that only contains pomegranate flavoring).
Note: Talk to your doctor before using pomegranate tea medicinally to treat any health problem or condition.
Pomegranate Tea Provides Antioxidant Protection
Pomegranate arils (the flesh-coated pomegranate seeds) are well-known for their strong antioxidant qualities, but a study published in the July 2006 issue of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology reveals that also pomegranate flowers have enormous antioxidant properties, both in vitro and in an in vivo setting using mice.
Antioxidants are thought to gobble up free radicals, unstable atoms that damage the body by attacking healthy cells. The cellular damage caused by free radicals can promote the development of a wide range of diseases and health problems, including macular degeneration of the eye, many cancers, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, an impaired immune system, and thrombosis. Furthermore, free radicals have been linked to premature aging of the skin, while antioxidants from foods and drinks like pomegranate flower tea are thought to fight wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging skin.
Tip: If you find the natural flavor of pure pomegranate tea too sharp, try making your own antioxidant-rich tea blend by infusing dried pomegranate flowers or dried pomegranate arils with loose green tea leaves (green tea is loaded with antioxidants, just like pure pomegranate tea)..
Medicinal Value of Pomegranate Flower Tea for Diabetic Patients
Practitioners of Unani medicine (a form of traditional medicine largely based on based on the teachings of Greek physician Hippocrates) and Indian Ayurvedic healers have been using pomegranate flowers as a natural treatment for diabetes and insulin resistance for centuries.
To test whether pomegranate flowers actually have medicinal value in the treatment of diabetes, a group of researchers from the University of Sydney, Chongqing Medical University, and Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine treated mice with a diet containing pomegranate flower power for 55 weeks. The researchers found that the pomegranate flower extract reduced ageing-induced insulin resistance, glucose concentrations during oral glucose tolerance test, and the adipose insulin resistance index. However, as this study was carried out on mice, not humans, further research is needed to investigate the potential health benefits of pomegranate flower tea in diabetic or pre-diabetic humans.
This study was published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2012.
Pomegranate Tea May Help Fight Atherosclerosis
Just like pomegranate seeds and juice, pomegranate flower tea might provide some health benefits for the cardiovascular system. In one study, consumption of pomegranate flowers was found to slow down the development of atherosclerosis in mice. The anti-atherosclerosis effects of pomegranate flowers were found to be even stronger than those of pomegranate juice, peels, and seeds. This study appeared in the February 2008 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, occurs when cholesterol, fat, calcium, cellular waste products, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard desposits called plaques. It is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
Where Can You Get Real Pomegranate Tea?
In some countries, such as Turkey, you may be able to find real pomegranate flower tea in the stores. However, in countries like the US and UK, finding tea blends featuring real pomegranate flowers or pomegranate arils can turn out to be a challenge (many tea blends labeled as pomegranate tea only contain pomegranate flavoring). If you have no luck in getting the real stuff in the specialty stores or health food stores in your area (or if you simply like the convenience of online shopping), check out these online offers:
- Tiesta Tea's Herbal Tea Featuring Pomegranate (from Amazon.com) – this blend contains apple pieces, hibiscus, elderberries, apple bits, pomegranate arils, and blueberries
- ESP Emporium's Green Tea and Pomegranate Blend (from Amazon.com) which contains green tea (90%), freeze-dried whole red currants, pomegranate arils, freeze-dried raspberry pieces, and mallow blossoms