Pomegranate flower: a unique traditional antidiabetic medicine with dual PPAR-alpha/-gamma activator properties

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2008 Jan;10(1):10-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2007.00708.x.


PPARs are transcription factors belonging to the superfamily of nuclear receptors. PPAR-alpha is involved in the regulation of fatty acid (FA) uptake and oxidation, inflammation and vascular function, while PPAR-gamma participates in FA uptake and storage, glucose homeostasis and inflammation. The PPARs are thus major regulators of lipid and glucose metabolism. Synthetic PPAR-alpha or PPAR-gamma agonists have been widely used in the treatment of dyslipidaemia, hyperglycaemia and their complications. However, they are associated with an incidence of adverse events. Given the favourable metabolic effects of both PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma activators, as well as their potential to modulate vascular disease, combined PPAR-alpha/-gamma activation has recently emerged as a promising concept, leading to the development of mixed PPAR-alpha/-gamma activators. However, some major side effects associated with the synthetic dual activators have been reported. It is unclear whether this is a specific effect of the particular synthetic compounds or a class effect. To date, a medication that may combine the beneficial metabolic effects of PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma activation with fewer undesirable side effects has not been successfully developed. Pomegranate plant parts are used traditionally for the treatment of various disorders. However, only pomegranate flower has been prescribed in Unani and Ayurvedic medicines for the treatment of diabetes. This review provides a new understanding of the dual PPAR-alpha/-gamma activator properties of pomegranate flower in the potential treatment of diabetes and its associated complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Flowers*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lythraceae*
  • Male
  • PPAR alpha / drug effects
  • PPAR alpha / metabolism*
  • PPAR gamma / drug effects
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism*
  • Phytotherapy*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • PPAR alpha
  • PPAR gamma