Pineapples had been used in folk medicine for centuries long before the substance bromelain was discovered in the pineapple plant in 1891. Bromelain has only been used therapeutically in modern medicine since 1957.
In the this article you will learn more about the effects and possible applications of bromelain.
What is Bromelain?
Bromelain is an enzyme – or more precisely: the combination of two enzymes. The active ingredient is obtained from pineapple plant and is used as a herbal medicine to treat swelling, indigestion and inflammation, among other things. Bromelain is also called bromelin and was already used by the Native Americans for curing purposes.
The stem and unripe fruits of pineapple plant contain the largest amount of bromelain, so that the active ingredient is mainly obtained from these parts today. Juice is pressed from the fresh stems and bromelin is extracted, then freeze-dried and ground. In this way, the active ingredient in the form of powder gets into food supplements, for example. The therapeutic effect cannot be achieved by regularly consuming large amounts of pineapple, as the substance is obtained from the stems, not from the fruit.
Although bromelain was not taken seriously by conventional medicine for a long time, there has been a rethink and more and more clinical studies are dealing with the effectiveness of the active ingredient. In the meantime, numerous studies have been able to prove its good effectiveness and tolerability. For this reason, bromelain is used preventively or after operations and injuries in medical fields such as dermatosurgery, facial surgery, burn surgery, traumatology, dentistry or sports medicine.
Bromelain – Effects & Applications
According to a number of studies, bromelain, composed of two protein-splitting enzymes, is said to have various effects. Bromelain has the property of inhibiting inflammation and is said to be able to support digestion in the case of problems with the pancreas. As an anti-inflammatory substance, it is often used to treat swelling after injuries and operations, especially in the nose and sinuses.
In addition, patients suffering from rheumatic diseases, superficial phlebitis and inflammation of the urinary and genital tract can benefit from the combination of bromelain and other enzymes. It can even remove scabs from wounds and is therefore used as a gel for severe burns.
The active ingredient can also improve the nutrient supply of the body. Nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids reach the muscles and organs via the blood. If the blood circulates poorly due to increased blood clotting, the body’s nutrient supply runs more slowly. Because bromelain inhibits blood clotting, blood flow improves and nutrients arrive faster.
Effects of bromelain at a glance:
- Facilitates circulation
- Pain reliever
- Muscle relaxant
- Strengthens the immune system
- Improves nutrient supply
- Helps with bruising
- Helps with joint pain caused by rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and phlebitis
- For non-bacterial swelling of the mucous membranes
- Inflammation of the nasal mucosa
- Sinus infections
- Irritation after sports injuries or surgery
- Inflammation of the urinary and genital organs
How to use bromelain?
Bromelain is most commonly taken in capsule form. It is important that the capsule or tablet is gastric resistant so that it is not digested in the stomach but is only dissolved in the intestine.
The Bromelain capsules from Casida are suitable for this, because they are protected in enteric-coated DrCaps capsule shells. Casida bromelain is absolutely pure and in high concentration. It contains no additional ingredients. Due to this purity, the product is also suitable for vegans. The capsules are taken once a day without chewing about half an hour before a meal with sufficient liquid. It is available in pharmacies (order number /PZN: 17975444
Nevertheless, in some cases special caution is required.
In particular, patients who are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs should be careful when taking bromelain. Through the interaction, bromelain could increase the tendency to bleed. It can also promote the concentration of antibiotics and influence therapy.
Is bromelain capsule an alternative of enzyme preparations?
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to threats such as injury or the entry of foreign objects such as fungi or bacteria into the body. So-called cytokines control inflammation by inhibiting and promoting inflammation at the same time.
In patients with inflammation, there is an imbalance between the inhibitory and propellant cytokine types. In order for the inflammatory process to be healing and quick, the balance must be restored. Enzymes are used for this, which have a pain-relieving and decongestant effect at the same time.
The so-called alpha2-macroglobulins are part of our immune system in the blood and are activated by enzymes in preparations such as Wobenzym. The globulins can then bind exactly those messenger substances that lead to inflammation due to the imbalance. Cytokines, enzymes and macroglobulin are eliminated from the body together in this way.
Wobenzym preparations contain natural concentrated enzymes such as bromelain, which together have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and decongestant effects.
So, bromelain is one of the three active ingredients found in Wobenzym. Compared to the other two active ingredients – rutoside and trypsin – bromelain is the main ingredient and belongs to the family of cysteine proteases. Even if bromelain is not as strong on its own as in combination with the active ingredients mentioned in such preparations, it can still serve as an alternative and unfold its effect.
Maurer, H.R. (2001): “Bromelain: biochemistry, pharmacology and medical use.” In: Cell Mol Life Science 2001 Aug;58(9):1234-45. Zum Online-Artikel: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11577981/
Alexander Helm is a licensed pharmacist (Martin-Luther University) and the founder of Casida. His vision is to combine pharmaceutical know-how and natural remedy into natural health products, and leverage the power of nature to improve human health.