A random question seeded itself in my mind, early this morning as I was raking up fruit that had been dropped by the pomegranate tree and the quince hedge after a typically windy Strand night.
Can one extract oil from a pomegranate and a quince? And if so, how can it enhance a massage treatment?
The fallen hazel-nuts,
Stripped late of their green sheaths,
The grapes, red-purple,
Dripping with wine,
Pomegranates already broken,
And shrunken figs,
And quinces untouched,
I bring thee as offering.
From: Priapus – Keeper of the Orchard by American poet and novelist ,Hilda Doolittle, 1886 – 1961.
This poem by American poet and novelist ,Hilda Doolittle, is such a beautiful description of autumn in my garden.
These words were going through my mind when a random question about late summer fruit and oil and massage seeded itself in my mind.
Early this morning I was raking up fruit that had fallen from the pomegranate tree and the quince hedge after a typically windy Strand night.
Can one extract oil from a pomegranate and a quince, I wondered? And can it enhance a massage treatment?
If you are wondering why an experienced massage therapist like me don't know the answers to these questions, keep in mind that I have had no training in aromatherapy. I am registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa as a massage therapist registered and aromatherapy falls outside my scope of practice.
I am anything but an expert on aromatic oils and I have not come across either extract of quince or pomegranate as base oil.
But what I do know about these beautiful red and yellow fruits is that they are native to the hot and dry regions of the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
And I know that both are steeped in history and symbolism.
In the Christian and Jewish religions the pomegranate and the quince are both considered that fruit that caused all the trouble for humankind, the fruit from the forbidden tree.
Different versions of the expulsion from Paradise story consider either the pomegranate or the quince as the fruit that Eve offered Adam and which led to them being kicked out of Eden.
Consequently in Christian iconography, the pomegranate is a symbol of Christ's resurrection and the eternal life. In paintings and sculptures of the madonna and child, the Christ child is often depicted holding a pomegranate.
The Qaran, holy book of Islam, also tell us that the pomegranate grew in Jannat or the Garden / Paradise.
In Greek mythology the goddess Persephone who is abducted by Hades, the lord of the underworld, commits herself to him when she eats a few pomegranate seeds. That way the pomegranate becomes the symbol of marriage in Greek culture.
For the Hindu’s, Persians and Chinese pomegranates are associated with the earth goddess and a symbol of fertility and procreation while the ancient Egyptians associated it with prosperity and ambition.
QUICK QUINCE FACTS
Quince or kidoni in Greek, is often referred to as the golden apple and is associated with the goddess Aphrodite (and the Roman Venus).
In ancient Greece, quinces were eaten and used for decoration during wedding feasts as a symbol of love and to encourage fertility.
It all started with Eris, the godess of strife, who, to cause discord in revenge for not being invited to the marriage between Peleus and Thetis, offers a golden apple or quince to be given to the fairest woman at the feast.
Three beautiful goddesses, Hera (some say Artemis), Athena and Aphrodite argue about who should have the quince and in the end it is Paris, the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, who has to decide whom the fairest goddess is.
Aphrodite bribes him to choose her and she promises that if he agrees, he would have the beautiful Helen of Troy. This incident is said to have been the trigger for the ten-year Trojan War.
But looking around me, the mythical attributes of pomegranates and quinces do not seem to have disappeared with the ancient cultures.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF POMEGRANATES
I know that pomegranates and quince have several health benefits and that it has been used as medicine for thousands of years, but I suspect that even today, a lot of what is said about pomegranates and quince many complementary and alternative websites are myths.
When you read the lists of benefits, the fruit sounds like miracle crops.
Still, enough evidence exist that the components of pomegranate such as polyphenols have potential anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic effects.
What research has indicated is that pomegranate is a potent antioxidant. Pomegranate juice has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and free radical activity.
According to the researchers: “pomegranate can be used in the prevention and treatment of several types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases. In addition, it improves wound healing and is beneficial to the reproductive system."
They do add that further human trials and studies are necessary to understand the therapeutic potentials of pomegranate.
Pomegranates can help prevent or treat various disease risk factors including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, hyperglycemia, and inflammatory activities. - Zarfeshany, Asgary & Javanmard, Potent health effects of pomegranate
HEALTH BENEFITS OF QUINCES
Quince is rich in vitamin A and C, sodium, potassium, phosphorous and zinc and dietary fibre.
Over the centuries its fruit, seed, roots and leaves have been widely used in food and as phytomedicine for various ailments including gastrointestinal (GI) disorders (constipation, diarrhoea) and respiratory tract disorders including cold sores, rhinitis and cough.
Quince leaves are traditionally used for nervousness, pain or difficulty in urinating, insomnia, cough, cold abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, fever, and hyperglycaemia. The seed is used for skin abrasions.
BUT DO THESE FRUIT PRODUCE OIL?
It is clear that ingesting various parts of the plants and obviously the fruit benefits us, but can oils be extracted from pomegranate and quince plants?
Indeed it can, my good friend Google informs me.
The yellowish-brown oil has a fruity aroma and is extracted from the pomegranate seed. It is rich in fatty acids and is extracted via cold-press or CO2 extraction.
It is ingested and used in cosmetic and skin care products soap, shower gels, moisturizer and other skin care products.
And yes it is used for massage.
ORCHARD OFFERINGS FOR MASSAGE
Local suppliers that sell pomegranate seed oil claims a myriad of health benefits from soothing skin conditions and scarring to anti-inflammatory properties, anti-oxidising and skin regenerative features
Quince oil seems to be used mostly in cosmetic and skin products. I was not able to find any pure quince oil for sale on the Internet. Many combinations of quince and other fruit are used though.
The oil is rich in phenolic acids and quercetin which acts as an anti-oxidant. Quercetin belongs to a group of plant pigments called flavonoids that give many fruits, flowers, and vegetables their colours.
Well, having learnt what I have learnt, I have set myself the challenge to find pomegranate oil and a massage oil containing quince oil, and try it out.
As soon as I have, I will let you know what my clients think of it.
And if you have used it, tell us about your experience.
Body-mind or mind-body? If you are struggling with physical and mental pain and feel that the dominant health paradigm’s dualistic approach to mind and body seems inadequate to explain anything, I want to talk to you. Join me under the tree in my garden for a cup of rooibos tea and let’s talk massage and SomaSense!