Pomegranates (Punica granatum L.) have a long history of antimicrobial use. They were utilized as a traditional remedy for thousands of years under the Ayurvedic system of medicine.
Every part of the pomegranate plant has been tested for antibacterial activities, including the flowers, bark, fruit juice, peel, and arils.
Though pomegranates are generally safe and extremely nutritious, some individuals may face certain undesirable effects. These may include allergies, excessively low blood pressure, drug interactions, and issues during pregnancy. In this article, we will further elaborate on the possible side effects of pomegranates.
Table Of Contents
Side Effects Of Pomegranates
1. May Cause Allergies
This is the most serious of all side effects of pomegranates. Though rare, pomegranate allergies can be life-threatening. Please take the sign of any allergy seriously.
Symptoms of these allergies include itching, swelling, irritation in the throat, stomach pain, and hives. In severe cases, one may experience shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing, swelling of the throat and tongue, and anaphylactic shock (1).
In a study, a patient had developed swelling of the ears, erythema (reddening of the skin), and itching within 10 minutes of pomegranate ingestion. Further investigation found that she was allergic to apples and birch pollen as well (1).
2. May Interact With Certain Drugs
Pomegranate can interact with certain medications and cause undesirable side effects. These include the following (make sure you cross-check with your doctor):
- Medications changed and broken down by the liver, like amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), fluoxetine (Prozac), ondansetron (Zofran), tramadol (Ultram), rosuvastatin (Crestor), etc. (2).
- Medications for high blood pressure, like ACE inhibitors (Capoten, Vasotec, Prinivil, Altace, Zestril, etc.) and antihypertensive drugs (Diovan, Cozaar, Cardizem, Lasix, etc.). The juice may reduce blood pressure way too much, especially if someone is on antihypertensive drugs (3).
As per another report, pomegranate can inhibit the action of an enzyme important for drug metabolism (4).
If you are on any form of medication, please check with your doctor if you can consume pomegranate. This is especially important if you are taking medications for high blood pressure.
3. May Lower Blood Pressure Way Too Much
Studies show that pomegranates can lower blood pressure levels (5). This is good news for most people. But individuals with low blood pressure or uncontrolled fluctuations in blood pressure levels must stay away from pomegranates.
This is one reason pomegranate may cause issues during surgery. Hence, stop pomegranate intake at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery. Since research is limited in this regard, it is important you speak to your doctor.
4. May Cause Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR) During Pregnancy
Though the juice could be safe, there is not enough research on the safety of other forms of pomegranate (like pomegranate extract). Hence, stick to the juice during pregnancy. Animal studies showed that pomegranate juice supplementation reduced fetal abdominal and head circumference (6).
If you have any history of allergic reactions, avoid pomegranate and consult your doctor or midwife.
5. May Cause Digestive Disorders
There is insufficient information in this regard.The excessive consumption of pomegranate may cause many disorders, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in some people.
As per anecdotal evidence, excessive intake of this fruit may also irritate the gastrointestinal tract. However, there are no scientific studies to back this up.
These are some of the probable ill effects of pomegranates. In case you face any allergies after consuming pomegranates, here is what you can do.
What To Do If You Face Allergies
Stop eating the fruit and avail medical attention immediately. But until you visit the doctor, you can make use of some quick remedies.
If your symptoms involve a skin condition, do not rub or scratch the area. Also, don’t wash for long with soap or water as it will irritate the area further. Apply a skin lotion or ointment. This helps maintain skin moisture. Also, change to loose-fitting clothing.
In case of other severe reactions, please rush to the doctor right away. Look out for other symptoms like chest pain, drowsiness, confusion, fainting, and wheezing.
Pomegranate is one of the most nutritious fruits. But if you are allergic to it, be cautious. Excess consumption of pomegranate may cause some adverse effects. Hence, consult your doctor.
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
What medications do pomegranates interfere with?
Pomegranate may interfere with medications like Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Rosuvastatin (Crestor), Warfarin (Coumadin), and Tolbutamide (Orinase). Taking this juice with these medications may cause blood pressure to go too low.
Can pomegranate seeds cause constipation?
Excess intake of these seeds may increase the risk of intestinal blockage in people with chronic constipation. However, there is limited information in this regard.
How much pomegranate should you eat per day?
Pomegranates are nutrient-dense and low-calorie fruits. You can eat 1 to 2 cups of pomegranate arils a day.
Does pomegranate juice aggravate diabetes?
Juice, in general, is not recommended for individuals with diabetes. Hence, eating the whole fruit is better. Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants that are believed to help reduce blood sugar levels. The juice could also help fight inflammation and aid diabetes treatment (7). However, there is no research stating that juice may aggravate diabetes.
Is pomegranate good for the liver?
Yes, pomegranate is good for liver health. This fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, and exogenous antioxidants, which may protect the liver from damage (8).
- Anaphylactic reactions to pomegranate: identification and characterization of eliciting IgE-reactive components, Clinical and Translational Allergy, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Rhabdomyolysis Associated With Pomegranate Juice Consumption, The American Journal of Cardiology.
- Pomegranate Juice Consumption Inhibits Serum Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Activity and Reduces Systolic Blood Pressure, Atherosclerosis, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Effects of Pomegranate on Drug Metabolizing Cytochrome P450 Enzymes Expressions in Rats, ResearchGate.
- Effects of pomegranate juice on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Pharmacological Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- 6. Pomegranate Juice Supplementation Alters Utero-Placental Vascular Function and Fetal Growth in the eNOS−/−Mouse Model of Fetal Growth Restriction, Frontiers in Physiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Effects of Concentrated Pomegranate Juice on Subclinical Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes: A Quasi-Experimental Study, International Journal of Endocrinology Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Pomegranate action in curbing the incidence of liver injury triggered by Diethylnitrosamine by declining oxidative stress via Nrf2 and NFκB regulation, Scientific Reports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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