Researchers from Department of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio, suggest that oral consumption of pomegranate extract may reduce inflammation.
The study led by Tariq Haqqi showed that blood samples collected from rabbits fed pomegranate extract inhibited inflammation.
Researchers hope that pomegranate extract may provide humans with relief of chronic inflammatory conditions.
Pomegranate extract is already used as a treatment in alternative medicine for inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis.
Although pomegranate extract has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions in experiments on isolated tissues, it is not known whether ingestion of it can produce the same anti-inflammatory effects in living systems.
The rabbits were orally given pomegranate extract equivalent of 175mls of pomegranate juice
The team then measured the levels of antioxidants in blood samples and compared to blood samples collected before ingestion of pomegranate extract.
The plasma collected from rabbits showed significantly higher levels of antioxidants than samples collected before ingestion of pomegranate extract.
The extract also significantly reduced the activity of proteins that cause inflammation, specifically cyclooxygenase-2, along with reduction in production of pro-inflammatory compounds produced by cells isolated from cartilage.
Haqqi said, "the use of dietary nutrients or drugs based on them as an adjunct in the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions may benefit patients".
"Current treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs can have serious side effects following long-term use. Further research is needed, however, especially on the absorption of orally ingested substances into the blood," he added.
The study is published in BioMed Central's open access Journal of Inflammation.