Bromelain is commonly found in pineapples from the stem to the juicy flesh. The natural enzyme extract is used for numerous medicinal purposes due to its anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting capabilities. Studies show that natives of South America have been using pineapple for centuries to fight inflammation and treat indigestion. Research is continuing to unveil the full potential of the enzyme apart from treating hay fever, ulcers, slowing clotting, shortening labor, helping in weight loss, and preventing pulmonary edema.
Supplements of the enzyme are today being used as a control measure for arthritis. Due to the little research done on the effects of the substance, most conclusions rely on the results shown by users of bromelain. The enzyme is thought to release an anti-inflammatory substance that helps to restore damaged cartilage and reduce destruction of tissues in osteoarthritis patients. For maximum effect, the users have to combine it with trypsin protein and rutin from buckwheat. Patients have reported reduced pain and improved joint functioning after using the supplement regularly.
Different communities have also used pineapple juice to treat inflammation induced by muscle contractions due to sprains and injuries. Even sportsmen are using bromelain supplements after intense exercises to prevent soreness and relax the muscles. However, initial studies have not found proof of any connection between the healing of muscle injury and bromelain.
The German Commission E, a scientific advisory board of the “Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte” equivalent to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, and similar agencies in other European countries have approved the use of bromelain after sinus surgery to reduce swelling and shorten healing time. The Commission recommends a dose of 80- 320 mg 2 or 3 times a day as a general supplement. Arthritis patients should swallow 500 – 2000 mg twice a day depending on their level of response. The doses should be taken on an empty stomach for maximum effect. However, if taken as a digestive aid, the patient must use the capsules with meals.
Consecutive prescriptions of bromelain must not exceed 10 days. People with allergies against pineapple and pollen, bleeding disorders and kidney problems, and pregnant women and children should not take the supplement. Due to its slowing of clotting, the supplement should not be taken before surgery.