Herbs in History: Pomegranate & Turmeric

February 22, 2023

In an effort to preserve and share the fascinating histories of medicinal plants and herbs that have been used around the world for ages, the AHPA Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals (AHPA-ERB Foundation) is honored to partner with Alain Touwaide, Ph.D., and Emanuela Appetiti of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions to tell the stories of Herbs in History.

The first entries of the year continue with pomegranate and turmeric. Preview the entries below and visit Herbs in History online to read more.

Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.)

A Plant with a Pedigree

If there is a plant that may claim to have accompanied Humankind from its origins to present day, it is without doubt pomegranate.

In the biblical narrative of Adam and Eva (Genesis, chapter 3), the serpent in the Garden of Eden led Eva into temptation pushing her to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, whereas God had commented them to neither eat nor touch it. Desiring wisdom, Eva ate the prohibited fruit, and gave it to Adam. Both were expelled from the Garden by God, and, from then on, Humankind eats bread “by the sweat of their face.” The ancient text refers to a fruit that has been identified as a fig by the early Christians and, further on, as an apple. But couldn't it be a pomegranate according to the Iranian interpretation? | Read more...

Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.)


Turmeric from Curcuma longa L. (fam. Zingiberaceae) is an almost mythic plant that attracts because of both the fascination of the East and, possibly more, its radiant color, of a deep, bright, and sunny yellow.

To the Root

Now mostly known in the form of a fine powder or short fragments of roots, Turmeric is the rhizome of Curcuma. Whereas Carl Linnaeus identified two species (Curcuma rotunda and C. longa), these appeared to be two types of the rhizome of the C. lunga species: the central rhizome corresponding to Linnaeus' C. rotunda and the elongated, lateral one to C. longa. Current taxonomy identifies possibly 80 species in the genus, half of which are indigenous to India. | Read more...


About the Project

Herbs in History is made possible by funding from the AHPA-ERB Foundation, as part of the nonprofit foundation's mission promote education and research on medicinal, therapeutic, and health-promoting herbs. Tune in monthly for thoughtfully detailed historical accounts of herbs you know and love, and learn more about the origins of medicinal plants that have stood the test of time.