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Bromelain (Ananas comosus)


Bromelain is an extract of pineapple containing a mixture of protein-digesting enzymes. It is used commercially for meat tenderising. Bromelain may help promote digestion of proteins and may relieve symptoms of stomach upset or heartburn. It is useful in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, and seems particularly effective in relieving inflammation associated with infection and physical injuries. Treatment with bromelain has been claimed to speed healing time following surgery or physical injury, and it may also be helpful in treatment for connective tissue disorders including scleroderma (appearance of scar-like tissue on the skin and occasionally on internal organs), bursitis, and tendinitis.

Bromelain supplements are used to help suppress coughing and to reduce nasal mucus associated with sinusitis, and and also to relieve the swelling and inflammation associated with hay fever. Its anti-inflammatory properties may be useful in reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis and possibly even rheumatoid arthritis.

Bromelain is available in tablet or capsule form for oral use. The German Commission E recommends 80 to 320 mg two to three times per day. For specific conditions, higher doses may be prescribed as follows:

  • Digestive aid: 500 mg per day in divided doses with high-protein meals
  • Treatment of traumatic injury: 500 mg four times a day on an empty stomach
  • Joint inflammation: 500 to 2,000 mg a day in two divided doses

Possible side effects

Possible side effects from use of bromelain include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive menstrual bleeding, skin reactions, asthma-like symptoms. It should only be taken under medical supervision, and not for more than 10 consecutive days.



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