Health Benefits of Bromelain
English Name: Bromelain
Latin Name: Ananas comosus (Pineapple plant)
Type: Fruit extract
What is Bromelain?
Bromelain is an enzyme found in the stems, skin and flesh of the pineapple fruit. The extract commonly used today is generally taken from the stem or other waste of the plant after the fruit has been processed for consumption. Although the enzyme is found in all parts of the fruit, eating pineapple flesh does not give you a high enough dose of bromelain to produce medicinal effects. The extract contains a very high concentration of the enzyme, which has been used in traditional medicine throughout Central and South America for centuries. Venezuelan chemists first isolated the enzyme in the 1890s when studying the fermentation process of pineapple fruit. When combined with a similar enzyme found in papaya, bromelain is often a main component of meat tenderizing products1.
How does Bromelain work?
The enzyme bromelain has been found to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in many parts of the body, especially the sinuses and other soft tissues2. Bromelain is a protease — an enzyme that effectively breaks down proteins in the body and works on a molecular level to assist cell growth, degeneration and information exchange for a number of vital processes, like DNA replication, wound repair and blood coagulation. The protease complement in the human body is vast and complex, and bromelain is just one enzyme in this group that scientists have isolated3. Because of its molecular functions, bromelain is thought to be integral in supporting the body’s immune responses, especially when it comes to producing substances that reduce inflammation and fight pain4.
What are the benefits of Bromelain?
Studies have shown that bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties are very effective in relieving symptoms of sinus and nasal congestion from a number of different causes. Whether it’s from the common cold, an infection or seasonal allergies, bromelain can support other natural products or medications in alleviating the swelling and congestion in mucous membranes that make breathing uncomfortable. Because of its ability to keep red blood cells from sticking together, bromelain has also shown effectiveness in improving cardiovascular health by preventing dangerous blood clots. It has been found very effective at debriding burn wounds when used topically, and it may help reduce muscle soreness after rigorous exercise. Some studies have found bromelain effective at alleviating some of the swelling and achiness associated with arthritis, and its cell regenerating support may be helpful in alleviating the pain of soft-tissue ailments, like minor knee or Achilles tendon injuries.
Products Featuring Bromelain
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The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
 "Bromelain." National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. September 24, 2017. Accessed October 13, 2018. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/bromelain.
 "Bromelain: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning." WebMD. Accessed October 13, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-895/bromelain.
 López-Otín, Carlos, and Judith S. Bond. "Proteases: Multifunctional Enzymes in Life and Disease." The Journal of Biological Chemistry. November 07, 2008. Accessed October 13, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2576539/.
 Whelan, Corey. "Bromelain: Dosage, Benefits, and Side Effects." Healthline. December 22, 2017. Accessed October 13, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/bromelain#health-benefits.
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke