Pomegranate: Yields light to bright yellows, yellow-greens to browns
Source: From local markets or a dried/powdered dye
The extract from the rinds of this fruit, Punica granatum, made into dye, is high in tannin and also improves the light and wash-fastness of any dye mixed with it. In India and Southeast Asia, it is used as both a dye and a mordant.
From Ancient Iran and Persia, the pomegranate skins and flowers were used to dye wool and silk, mostly in carpet production and other textiles. The tree bark as well as the fruit contain high levels of tannins and were used for curing leather for centuries in Morroco. The leaves can produce an ink when soaked in vinegar.
The name derives from Latin pomun granatum, meaning apple and seed. Pomme-grenade in the old French language is the closest in translation and in early English, the apple of Granada. The Spanish call the fruit granada and it's also the name of it's ancient city going back several millenia. They later brought the fruit to the Caribbean, Grenada and Latin America.
From its origins in Iran, it was also grown extensively in India and other regions of Central Asia, Georgia, Armenia and across the Mediterranean for thousands of years. It spread along the Silk Road and overseas by traders from its source in South China.
In many regions of the World , it is a symbol of fertility, prosperity and good fortune. From Ancient Egypt to Greek mythology, Judaism and Christianity and the Old Testament of the Bible, the pomegranate is front and centre.
Some believe it was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. It's depiction in art, literature and architecture details it's importance in many cultures. In King Solomon's temple it stands for righteousness as well as in Christian motifs a; in a 4th Century Mosaic depicting Christ, now in the British Museum. Botticelli and da Vinci painted the fruit in the hands of Jesus or the Virgin Mary.
The pomegranate features prominently in Greek Mythology; from the blood of Adonis and the beauty of Hera to Zeus, Isis and the constellation of Orion. It's also featured on coins from these ancient periods.
By the 16th Century, it had arrived in Spanish America and then by the late 1700's to California and the English Colonies.
Today the pomegranate still resonates in tradition. It shows in the Greek Orthodox calendar on Christmas Day and the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. At Greek and Armenian weddings, it's tradition to smash a pomegranate on the floor or against a wall, spreading the seeds as a sign of fertility and future children. On New Year's it's smashed for good luck. In Chinese and Indian cultures, the fruit and its seeds still represent properity and fertility.
As for medicinal purposes, the Egyptians can claim the oldest medical journals from 1500 BC where it was used for treating tapeworm and infections.
Other medical uses include a drink concoction of the bark in which the tannins provide relief from indigestion, muscle weakness and paralysis. The leaves and rind were crushed and used as an astringent to slow bleeding and also steeped and drank to stop diarrhea and dysentery. Used as a poultice, the crushed flowers and buds helped with bronchitis and a mixture gargled for oral health or sore throat.
Today the pomegranate is referred to as a superfruit for its nutritional values and health benefits. It can provide a good 40% daily intake of vitamin C per 100 ml serving of juice. The antioxidants can be especially beneficial for cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, arthritis, diabetes and lymphoma. The juice may also minimize dental plaque buildup and contains antiviral and antibacterial properties. The edible seeds are a good source of dietary fibre.
Grenadine syrup used in cocktails originally was made with pure pomegranate and also with various ingredients and recipes.
India is still the largest producer of the fruit for export followed by Iran.