Antiinflammatory and anti-cancer activities of pomegranate and its constituent, ellagic acid: Evidence from cellular, animal, and clinical studies

Phytother Res. 2020 Apr;34(4):685-720. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6565. Epub 2020 Jan 7.


Inflammation is commonly characterized as a defensive and protective reaction of the body to various exogenous or endogenous stimuli, which aims to maintain the body health. Punica granatum (pomegranate) and its constituent ellagic acid (EA) are recently more taken into accounts since their promising pharmacological effects. Therefore, we aimed to obtain a comprehensive review regarding antiinflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant activities of both pomegranate and EA and their possible involved mechanisms. In the procedure, scientific databases, including Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar, were searched in the English language, until the end of January 2019. Pomegranate belonging to the Punicaceae has been used for medical purposes from ancient and in different cultures. Several studies have also supported that EA is the major active compound of pomegranate and possesses antimutagenic, antiinflammatory, antifibrosis, anticancer, and antiaging properties. It has been suggested that pomegranate and EA possess promising immunomodulatory effects in preclinical models as well as human studies through regulation of the T-cell function and suppressing humoral immunity. Hopefully, we wish that this review and information could be helpful for designing further experiments to investigate the potential protective effects of pomegranate and EA.

Keywords: cancer; ellagic acid; immune system; inflammation; pomegranate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clinical Studies as Topic / methods
  • Clinical Studies as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / statistics & numerical data
  • Ellagic Acid / isolation & purification
  • Ellagic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Ellagic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Pomegranate / chemistry*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ellagic Acid