The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a paper entitled "The effect of pomegranate juice supplementation on strength and soreness after eccentric exercise" in July of 2011. Here is the abstract:
The purpose of this study was to determine if pomegranate juice supplementation improved the recovery of skeletal muscle strength after eccentric exercise in subjects who routinely performed resistance training. Resistance trained men (n = 17) were randomized into a crossover design with either pomegranate juice or placebo. To produce delayed onset muscle soreness, the subjects performed 3 sets of 20 unilateral eccentric elbow flexion and 6 sets of 10 unilateral eccentric knee extension exercises. Maximal isometric elbow flexion and knee extension strength and muscle soreness measurements were made at baseline and 2, 24, 48, 72, 96, and 168 hours postexercise. Elbow flexion strength was significantly higher during the 2- to 168-hour period postexercise with pomegranate juice compared with that of placebo (main treatment effect; p = 0.031). Elbow flexor muscle soreness was also significantly reduced with pomegranate juice compared with that of placebo (main treatment effect; p = 0.006) and at 48 and 72 hours postexercise (p = 0.003 and p = 0.038, respectively). Isometric strength and muscle soreness in the knee extensors were not significantly different with pomegranate juice compared with those using placebo. Supplementation with pomegranate juice attenuates weakness and reduces soreness of the elbow flexor but not of knee extensor muscles. These results indicate a mild, acute ergogenic effect of pomegranate juice in the elbow flexor muscles of resistance trained individuals after eccentric exercise.
Sometimes... okay, lots of times... I find strength and conditioning research to be quite limiting and, in the end, not that helpful. It's been well accepted and practiced for years that the best post-training meal to consume is a liquid meal with roughly a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbs:protein.
Pomegranate juice really has nothing more substantial in it (for exercise recovery) than any other fruit juice or a sports drink. It's ALL sugar.
Take this study for what it's worth: further proof that something is better that nothing after you train. I'm sure the study participants would have been better served and demonstrated recovery in the "knee extensor muscles" if they'd been given a pomegranate drink that also included the proper ratio of carbs:protein.
Here's a SUPER simple recipe for a recovery drink I make for myself:
3-4 tbsp Nestle Quick powder
1/2 scoop protein powder