Ananas comosus

bromelain, pineapple Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme derived from pineapple juice. It is best known as a digestive aid and for its anti-inflammatory properties. It treats inflammation by breaking down proteins in swollen tissues. This is especially useful after traumatic injuries to tissue. It also has anti-viral properties and can break down blood clot formation. It prevents blood clots by decreasing the amount of fibrin in serum.

In addition, it has been utilized to treat heart disease, arthritis and upper respiratory infections. It can also promote healing of wound caused by burns, and increase the action of anti-biotics and chemotherapy.

Bromelain Health Benefits

  • Atherosclerosis. Has anti-clotting action, may prevent ischemic stroke and heart attacks. Inhibits platelet clotting. Breaks down plaques.
  • Bronchitis. Decreases bronchial and sinus inflammation. Reduces metabolism of tetracycline and "cylines" so they last longer.
  • Bruises, cuts, lymphedema. Inhibits formation of prostaglandin which reduces swelling.
  • Ulcers and gastritis. Speeds digestive process, aids in healing of ulcers. Speeds gastroparesis (slow digestion) in diabetes.
  • Gout. Accelerates decomposition of uric acid crystals in joints relieving pain.
  • HIV/AIDS. Inhibites protease, an enzyme needed by HIV to replicate itself.
  • PMS(pre-menstrual syndrome). Can inhibit prostaglandins which cause uterine contraction.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Inhibits kinnins which cause swelling, digests fibrin involved in osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondilitis and scleroderma.

Considerations In Use

Available in tablet forms and when used by itself as much as 50% of the medication is passed out of the GI tract unabsorbed. Many times it is combined with papain so the more of it actually enters the bloodstream, as a result the combination formula is preferable to pure compound. Take 500mg with each meal.

You should use bromelain for only 8-10 days.

Taking with tetracycline will increase the concentratiton of the antibiotic in the bloodstream and therefore may increase allergic reactions.

You should not take this supplement if you are on Coumadin or any other blood thinners, if you are pregnant, or have kidney disease or hypertension.

There have been many reports on the internet saying that Bromelain may help with cancers as it has anti-tumor effects. Unfortunately these have been studies on mice only and it is a long step from laboratory mice studies to full clinical trials on humans.

Avoid bromelain if you are allergic to pineapple.


Brien S, Lewith G, Walker AF, et al. Bromelain as an adjunctive treatment for moderate-to-severe osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized placebo-controlled pilot study.QJM. Dec 2006;99(12):841-850.
Desser L,et al. Oral therapy with proteolytic enzyes decreases excessive TGF-beta levels in human blood. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2001;47:S10-5.

Read about more herbs at the Herb Dictionary Online.

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