London, Aug 23 (IANS): Do not throw that pomegranate peel in the garbage bin. In the near future, it may be a source of drugs for two incurable diseases that affect the elderly.
Two years of research by a Nigerian scientist has shown that sufferers of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease could be helped by punicalagin, a compound extracted from pomegranates.
Olumayokun Olajide from the University of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire showed how punicalagin could inhibit inflammation in specialised brain cells known as micrologia.
He also found the painful inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson's disease could be reduced using the same drug.
"We do know that regular consumption of pomegranate has a lot of health benefits, including prevention of neuro-inflammation related to dementia," Olajide added.
He recommended juice products that have real pomegranate that will have nearly 3.4 percent of the wonder compound punicalagin.
"Most of the anti-oxidant compounds are found in the outer skin of the pomegranate and not in the soft part of the fruit," Olajide added.
Alzheimer's has no cure and sufferers get progressively worse but the new compound could prevent it or slow down its development, he said.
The research was published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.