There is evidence that pomegranate juice offers protection against cardiovascular disease. While pomegranates (punica granatum) have been around for thousands of years, not much research had been done until recently. Most of the research was first conducted in Israel and has been ongoing. One of the first studies to gain attention showed that pomegranate juice had potent antiatherogenic (biologically active substance that prevents atherogenesis, the accumulation of lipid containing plaques on the innermost layers of the arteries) effects in healthy humans and in atherosclerotic mice that may be attributable to its anti oxidative properties. A few months later, the results of a study conducted at the University of California showed an antioxidant activity three times higher than those of red wine and green tea.
Then, another study in Israel showed that pomegranate juice reduced the development of atherosclerosis in mice that already had advanced atherosclerosis. The next month , results of another study showed a 36% decrease in serum ACE activity and a 5% reduction in systolic blood pressure in patients who drank pomegranate juice. The study concluded that pomegranate juice can offer a wide protection against cardiovascular diseases which could be related to its inhibitory effect on oxidative stress and on serum ACE activity.
In the past 5 years, 150+ more studies and publications involving the pomegranate have been indexed at U.S. National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database, with findings that suggest many healthy benefits of this fruit. Probably the most significant is in the reduction of cardiovascular disease.
Another exciting study in March, 2005 tested the effects of pomegranate juice on samples of cultured human coronary artery cells exposed to extreme stress in vitro (as they would be in someone with high blood pressure), and also on hypercholesterolemic mice. The study showed that administration of pomegranate juice significantly reduced the progression of atherosclerosis, and that the proatherogenic effects induced by perturbed shear stress can be reversed by chronic administration of pomegranate juice. Implications of this is that chronic administration of pomegranate juice may be effective in both prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis.
The results of another 3-year study suggest that pomegranate juice decreases carotid intima-media thickness and systolic blood pressure in patients with carotid artery stenosis.
In the most recent article about pomegranates, posted at PubMed on January 17, 2007, the authors stated, “The last 7 years have seen over seven times as many publications indexed by Medline dealing with pomegranate and Punica granatum than in all the years preceding them.” They noted that the seed, juice, peel, leaf, flower, bark and roots each have pharmacologic activity. They concluded that “the phytochemistry and pharmacological actions of all Punica granatum components suggest a wide range of clinical applications for the treatment and prevention of cancer, as well as other diseases where chronic inflammation is believed to play an essential etiologic role.”
Passion Flower has also shows promise of lowering high blood produce by regulating nervous system neurotransmitters that reduce anxiety. (Passiflora incarnata) is accepted for medicinal use in Germany, France, and other European countries for the treatment of nervous anxiety, and was at one time approved as a sedative and sleep aid over-the-counter drug in the U.S. After a review of night-time sleep aids by the FDA in 1978, it was no longer recognized as effective by the FDA since no American company submitted data on safety and efficacy as required by the FDA, so it was dropped as an over-the-counter drug.