9 Surprising Benefits of Pomegranate Peels
Written by Ellen Landes, MS, RDN, CPT on October 7, 2021 — Medically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition
Pomegranates and their juice may help improve blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels, among other benefits. The red peels comprise about 50% of the fruit and contain more antioxidants than the juice (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
Pomegranate peels are typically discarded and thought of as inedible, but they’re used regularly for various health and beauty benefits in Ayurvedic medicine, an alternative practice with roots in Indian culture (2Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
After being separated from the fruit, the peels can be dried out and ground into a fine powder to be steeped in hot water and consumed as tea or mixed with water to make a paste that can be applied topically. The powder can also be purchased as a supplement.
Thanks to their high levels of antioxidants, pomegranate peels offer several benefits. Here are 9 surprising benefits of pomegranate peels.
1. May help treat some skin conditions
Pomegranate peels are high in antioxidants and polyphenols, and they’ve been shown to treat hyperpigmentation, a condition characterized by dark patches of skin.
One study including 30 volunteers with hyperpigmentation found that applying pomegranate masks and serum daily for about 1 month helped lighten areas of hyperpigmentation with no adverse side effects (5Trusted Source).
Also, it’s thought that a paste made from pomegranate peel powder and water can help treat acne and other skin conditions, likely due to its high levels of antioxidants.
One rat study found that pomegranate was an effective acne treatment. However, more research, specifically human studies, is needed to confirm the role of pomegranate peels in treating acne (6Trusted Source).
Pomegranate peels may also protect against ultraviolet B (UVB) damage and decrease signs of aging, though human research is lacking (1Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
Lastly, when used as an ointment, pomegranate peels promoted wound healing in guinea pigs. Again, human studies in this area are lacking (1Trusted Source).
Pomegranate peels may protect against UVB rays and improve hyperpigmentation, acne, signs of aging, and wound healing. Nevertheless, human studies are limited, and more research is needed.
2. May reduce the risk of chronic diseases
Pomegranate peels may reduce risk factors for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes (1Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
One small, 30-day study found that supplementing with 1,000mg of pomegranate peel extract improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels among people with overweight and obesity by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent (10Trusted Source).
In another study including 37 people with type 2 diabetes, those who took 500 mg of pomegranate peel extract saw improvements in their blood pressure, cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1c, compared with people given a placebo (11)
3. May protect against hearing loss
Oxidative stress is a contributing factor when it comes to age-related hearing loss. Because pomegranate peels are so high in antioxidants, which help protect against oxidative damage, they may help prevent hearing loss (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Studies on mice found promising results, but human studies are lacking. More robust research is needed (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Animal studies suggest that pomegranate peels may help prevent age-related hearing loss, but human studies are lacking.
4. May improve brain function
It has been suggested that oxidative stress plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Because pomegranate peels are high in antioxidants, they might help improve quality of life in those with this condition (14Trusted Source).
Multiple animal studies involving pomegranate peel supplementation have shown promising results, but more research, specifically human studies, is needed (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
One study including 36 healthy adults found that a supplement containing pomegranate peel extract, along with other plant botanicals, improved cognitive performance (16Trusted Source).
5. May have cancer-fighting properties
Pomegranate peels contain high amounts of punicalagin, a polyphenol that has been shown to have anti-cancer properties in some test-tube studies (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
In one such study, pomegranate peel extract was found to be a promising treatment for prostate cancer because of its ability to induce the death of cancer cells (19Trusted Source).
In breast, oral, and colon cancer cells, pomegranate has shown to have an anti-proliferative effect, which means it helps to slow or stop the spread of cancer cells.
Additionally, research suggests that pomegranate peel may be beneficial for liver cancer and have liver-protecting properties, thanks to its high levels of antioxidants (18Trusted Source).
Test-tube studies have shown that pomegranate peel extract limits the growth of some types of cancer cells, including breast, oral, colon, prostate, and liver cancer cells.
6. May improve dental health
When used in a mouth rinse in a study including 30 healthy volunteers, pomegranate peel was shown to help prevent plaque buildup. However, this was an older study, and the results were not considered significant. More research is needed (1Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
Another older study found a mouth rinse containing pomegranate peel extract prevented tooth decay in a group of 50 healthy individuals (21Trusted Source).
Pomegranate peel extract has strong antibacterial activity, and some studies suggest that it may help treat tooth and gum diseases (22Trusted Source).
Because pomegranate peels have strong antibacterial properties, they have been shown to prevent plaque buildup and help treat various tooth and gum diseases when used in a mouth rinse.
7. Has antibacterial properties
Pomegranate peel is used as a mouth rinse in some cultures to help relieve and treat sore throats.
While the antibacterial properties of pomegranate peel are accepted by science, studies confirming its effectiveness in treating sore throats are lacking (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
Another benefit of these antibacterial properties is their ability to help wound healing and fight infections (1Trusted Source).
Pomegranate extracts have been shown to have strong antibacterial properties, which make them effective at preventing infections and improving wound healing.
8. May help treat rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that involves inflammation in the joints. It’s thought that due to pomegranates’ antioxidant properties, they may play a role in decreasing the severity of the disease (1Trusted Source).
One study found that punicalagin, a substance found in pomegranate peel, inhibited joint inflammation and cartilage damage in arthritic mice (25Trusted Source).
Another animal study tested a combination of substances, including pomegranate peel, on arthritic mice. It found that it delayed the onset of the disease and decreased their symptoms (26Trusted Source).
Studies on mice show promising benefits of pomegranate peels on the development and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but more human research is needed.
9. May help prevent bone loss
Some early research and animal studies have indicated that pomegranate peels may help prevent bone loss and regenerating new bone tissue (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
Two studies performed on mice found that all parts of a pomegranate plant, including the peels, prevented bone loss, most likely due to their high levels of antioxidants (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
Preliminary research and animal studies show that pomegranate peels have promising potential to help prevent bone loss and regenerate bone tissue.
How to use pomegranate peels
Pomegranate peel powder can be purchased or made at home. If you’d like to make your own pomegranate powder, you can do so by following these steps:
Separate the peels from the fruit.
Place the peels near a window with direct sunlight for 2 or 3 days, or until they’re completely dried.
Add the peels to a blender or food processor and grind them into a fine powder.
Store the powder at room temperature in an airtight container.
The powder can be used to make a face mask by combining it with enough water to make a paste. Alternatively, you can try steeping the powder in hot water and then straining it to enjoy as an herbal tea.
Studies have not found any adverse effects from using pomegranate peel powder, but it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before trying anything new.
If you decide to use it topically, try doing a small skin patch test to see how your skin reacts before applying it to a large area (1Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Finally, note that the previously mentioned studies used concentrated pomegranate extracts, not peels. While a homemade mask may not do wonders for your skin, it likely won’t do any harm.
The bottom line
Pomegranate peels are often discarded and thought of as inedible, but they offer several surprising benefits thanks to their strong antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
To reap these benefits, you can make your own powder by drying and grinding up the peels, or you can simply purchase premade powder.
While no adverse effects have been documented, it’s a good idea to run any new supplements or treatments by your doctor first.
Just one thing
Try this today: For a homemade face mask, mix 2 parts pomegranate peel powder with 1 part water to create a paste. Apply it onto your clean face and allow it to dry before rinsing it off.
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