Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem. People use it for medicine.
Bromelain can be used to treat a number of conditions, but it is particularly effective in reducing inflammation from infection and injuries. It seems to cause the body to produce substances that fight pain and swelling (inflammation). It also contains chemicals that interfere with the growth of tumor cells and slow blood clotting.
Other possible uses includes:
1) Surgery and Injuries
There is some evidence that bromelain supplements may reduce swelling, bruising, inflammation and pain after surgery and injury. In Germany, bromelain has been approved for these uses by the Commission E since 1993. Large, well-designed studies are needed, because not all studies have confirmed these results.
Bromelain has been suggested as a complementary treatment for sinusitis. Preliminary studies suggest that it may help reduce congestion, improve breathing and suppress coughing. It’s approved by the Commission E as a complementary treatment for nasal and sinus swelling and inflammation after ear, nose and throat surgery. A review of three small but well-designed previously published studies found that bromelain may help relieve sinusitis symptoms.
Bromelain is a popular natural digestive aid due to it’s ability to digest proteins. It’s used for bloating, gas and other digestive symptoms and for conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. Bromelain is often used alone or in combination with other enzymes such as lipase, which digests fats, and amylase, which digests starch. There is little research, however, on the safety or effectiveness of bromelain for digestion.
Bromelain may help with mild pain associated with osteoarthritis. It’s a common ingredient in nutritional supplements marketed as a natural pain remedy for arthritis. Large, well-designed studies are needed to see if it is effective and to find out about possible side effects.
Bromelain and other proteolytic enzymes have been explored as a complementary treatment for cancer. Although there is some preliminary research, there isn’t enough evidence at this time on the safety or effectiveness of bromelain for cancer. It should never be used in place of conventional treatment.
Side effects from bromelain are generally mild and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive menstrual bleeding. People who are allergic to pineapples, wheat, celery, papain, carrot, fennel, cypress pollen, or grass pollen may also be allergic to bromelain. Pregnant women and people with bleeding disorders, high blood pressure, and liver or kidney disease should not take bromelain.
Possible Drug Interactions
Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox)
Taking bromelain might increase how much amoxicillin is in the body. Taking bromelain along with amoxicillin might increase the effects and side effects of amoxicillin.
Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics)
Taking bromelain might increase how much antibiotic the body absorbs. Taking bromelain along with some antibiotics called tetracyclines might increase effects and side effects of these antibiotics.
Some tetracyclines include demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline (Achromycin).
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Bromelain might slow blood clotting. Taking bromelain along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, indomethacin (Indocin), ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Possible Food Interactions
- Potato – Potato contains a substance that might slow down bromelain’s activity in the body.
- Soybean – Soybean contains a substance that might slow down bromelain’s activity in the body.