Bromelain is a sulfur-containing enzyme extracted from pineapples. Bromelain is proven to help with the digestion of protein (it is a proteolytic enzyme). Having shown remarkable therapeutic actions, bromelain is safer than allopathic drugs.
Bromelain is absorbed by the body intact, so it is also thought to have effects outside the digestive tract.
In fact, bromelain is known as a natural anti-inflammatory for conditions such as arthritis and it is one of the most popular herbs sold in Germany.
But the healing capabilities don’t stop there.
When used as a digestive aid, bromelain is usually taken with meals. When used for inflammatory conditions, practitioners typically recommend taking bromelain between meals on an empty stomach to maximize absorption.
Why People Use Bromelain
Surgery and Injuries
Walker et. al., (2002): While investigating the effect of bromelain on acute knee pain, the pilot study reported significant improvement after a month’s intervention. These results were consistent with earlier reports of bromelain supplementation (Uhig, 1981; Vogler, 1988; Lotti et al., 1993).
One to two capsules after surgery has reduced swelling, bruising, inflammation, injury and pain. --German E Monogram
J.M. BRAUN et. al., in 2004, studied children under the age of 11 years diagnosed with acute sinusitis. Data from 116 patients across Germany were analyzed. The shortest mean period of symptoms was observed in patients treated with Bromelain alone (6.66 days), followed by the standard therapy (7.95 days) and those treated with a combination of bromelain and the standard therapy (9.06 days). Patients of the bromelain monotherapy group showed a statistically significant faster recovery from symptoms compared to the other treatment groups. No unwanted side-effects were reported.
Studies have demonstrated that bromelain reduces congestion, improves breathing and suppresses coughing. It is approved by the German government for the treatment of nasal and sinus swelling and inflammation after ear, nose and throat surgery.
Bromelain is used as a natural digestive aid due to its ability to digest proteins. It is used for bloating, gas and other digestive symptoms and for conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
The anti-inflammatory action of bromelain is believed to be due to its proteolytic nature. Evidence also suggests an immunomodulatory and hormone like activity acting via intracellular signaling pathways. In fact bromelain has also been shown to reduce cell surface receptors such as hyaluronan receptor CD44, which is associated with leukocyte migration and induction of pro-inflammatory mediators (engweda et al 2001; Eckert et al., 1999; Hale et al., 2002). Manhart et al. (2002) has shown bromelain to significantly reduce CD4 lymphocytes, which are primary effectors in animal models of inflammation. Bromelain is a natural pain inhibitor associated with osteoarthritis; studies demonstrate it helps with mild pain.
Pharmacological agents with modulation of anti-inflammatory, proteolytic, platelet aggregation inhibition and prostaglandin synthesis have been considered to be beneficial in regulating tumor growth and its metastasis ( Batkin et. al., 1985; Honn, 1983; Sato et. al., 1983). Bromelain, with similar regulation actions, has shown protective properties on tumor cell growth retardation and lung metastasis (Batkin et. al., 1985 Batkin et al., 1988A: Batkin et al 1988B; Taussin and Batkin, 1988). Batkin et al., (1988B): While studying the anti-metastic effect of bromelain- with or without its proteolytic and anticoagulant activities- in the animal model of lewis lung carcinoma, significant reduction in total number of metastasis was reported in both active and inactive bromelain as compared to control groups.
Queensland Institute of Medical Research-QIMR: While studying bromelain in 2005, researchers at QIMR reported the discovery of tow proteins they named CCS and CCZ and found that they could block growth of a broad range of tumor cells including breast, lung, colon, ovarian and melanoma.
Studies showing the anti-cancer effects of bromelain have been published in peer reviewed studies (Beuth J. et. al., 2008.). Enzyme therapy in cancer patients suffering from breast and colorectal cancers and plasmacytoma has also been studied. Studies demonstrated that systemic enzyme therapy significantly decreased tumor-induced and therapy-induced side effects and complaints such as nausea, gastrointestinal complaints, fatigue, weight loss, and restlessness and obviously stabilized the quality of life. For plasmacytoma patients, complementary systemic enzyme therapy was shown to increase the response rates, the duration of remissions, and the overall survival times.
As far back as 1972, bromelain has been shown effective in the treatment of inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis, soft tissue injuries, colonic inflammation, chronic pain and asthma. Other conditions of inflammation have been investigated as a possible treatment.