Historical or Traditional Use:
The first isolation of Bromelain was recorded by the Venezuelan chemist Vicente Marcano in 1891 from the fruit of pineapple. In 1892, Chittenden, assisted by Joslin and Meara, investigated the matter fully and called it ‘bromelin’. Later the term ‘Bromelain’ was introduced.
Bromelain was first introduced as a therapeutic supplement in 1957. Research on Bromelain was first conducted in Hawaii but more recently has been conducted in countries such as Asia, Europe and Latin America. Germany has recently taken a great interest in Bromelain research; Bromelain is currently the 13th most widely used herbal medicine in Germany.
• Used after Surgery and Sports Injuries
BromelainTM supplements may reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain following surgery and physical injuries. In fact, an authoritative body in Germany called the Commission E (similar to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved the use of BromelainTM for these purposes.
• MEAT TENDERIZING
Bromelain is one of the most popular substances to use for meat tenderizing. Historically, meat tenderizing enzymes were often injected into the muscle of animal.
Today, approximately 900% of meat tenderizer use is in consumer households.
BromelainTM is sold in a powdered form, which is combined with a marinade or directly sprinkled on the uncooked meat. The enzyme will penetrate the meat and by a process called forking, cause the meat to be tender and palatable when cooked.
If the enzyme is allowed to work for too long, the meat may become too “mushy” for many consumers’ preferences.
• MEDICAL USES
- It works by blocking some pro-inflammatory metabolites that accelerate and worsen the inflammatory process. So it is an anti-inflammatory agent.
- So it can be used for sports injury, trauma, arthritis, and other kinds of swelling.
- It may be used in the treatment of athletic injuries, digestive problems, phlebitis, sinusitis, and aiding healing after surgery.
- It has also been proposed for the treatment of arthritis chronic venous insufficiency, easy bruising, gout, hemorrhoids, menstrual pain, autoimmune disorders, ulcerative colitis, and sinusitis.
- Studies have shown that Bromelain can also be useful in the reduction of platelet clumping and blood clots in the bloodstream, especially in the arteries.
- It may have treatment potential for HIV.
- BromelainTM supplementation up to 460 mg has been shown to have no effect on human heart rate or blood pressure; however, increasing doses up to 1840 mg have been shown to increase the heart rate proportionately.
- Some studies on animals indicate that application of BromelainTM on the surface of the skin may remove dead tissue from third-degree burns. This application has not yet been tested on people, but traditional and current day practices in Japan, Hawaii and Taiwan include use of topical BromelainTM to clean wounds and burns.
- Similarly, some clinicians may recommend this topical agent to reduce swelling from insect bites or stings.
- Bromelain supplements may help suppress cough, reduce nasal mucus associated with sinusitis, and relieve the swelling and inflammation caused by hay fever.
Bromelain is approved by the German Commission E for the treatment of sinus and nasal swelling following ear, nose, and throat surgery or trauma.
- BromelainTM help to promote and maintain proper digestion and may relieve symptoms of stomach upset or heartburn, particularly when used in conjunction with other enzymes such as amylase (which digests starch) and lipase (which digest fats).
- BromelainTM may help to control diarrhea caused by bacteria.
- BromelainTM supplements may be effective, if used along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications (such as ibuprofen and diclofenac) for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis.
- Long-standing use of BromelainTM may be helpful in the treatment of connective tissue disorders including scleroderma (build up of tough scar-like tissue in the skin and, at times, internal organs), bursitis, and tendonitis.
- Some scientific evidence from test tubes and animals suggests that Bromelain can fight against infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. Therefore, BromelainTM may be useful in the treatment of bronchitis, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections.
- Bromelain may help in the treatment or prevention of amyloidosis.
- 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.
- It has been studied for its effectiveness in treating angina and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD), both alone and in combination with other therapies
• Available Forms
BromelainTM is available in tablet or capsule form for oral use. It may also be used topically to treat severe burns.
How to Take It
There are no known scientific reports on the pediatric use of BromelainTM.
Therefore, use of this supplement is not currently recommended for children.
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 meals
- Traumatic injuries: 500 mg four times a day on an empty stomach
- Joint inflammation: 500 to 2,000 mg a day in two divided doses
Because supplements may have side effects or interact with medications, they should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider.
BromelainTM is generally recommended for no longer than 8 to 10 days in a row.
• Side effect
- Nausea, vomiting,
- Menorrhagia (excessively heavy menstrual flow)
- Possible allergic reactions,
- Increased heart rate
- Individuals who are allergic to pineapples should not use BromelainTM supplements because skin reactions and/or asthma-like symptoms may occur.
- Pregnant women and individuals with bleeding disorders, high blood pressure and liver or kidney disease should consult a healthcare provider before taking BromelainTM.
- People with peptic ulcers should not use BromelainTM.
- People with other digestive disorders should consult a qualified healthcare professional before using BromelainTM.
• Possible Interactions
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use BromelainTM.
It should not be taken with the following Antibiotics
In a clinical study, it is found that the combination of Bromelain and amoxicillin if given, Bromelain increases the levels of this antibiotic in the blood.
Some studies suggest that Bromelain may increase the body’s ability to absorb tetracycline, but results of other studies have been conflicting. Until studies confirm these results, it would be wise to avoid combining Bromelain and tetracycline.
Studies suggest Bromelain may also increase the absorption of other medications
Such as: chemotherapy drugs such as 5-fluorouracil and vincristine, ACE inhibitors such as captopril and lisinopril, medications that causes drowsiness, such as benzodiazepines lorazepam or diazepam and some antidepressants, narcotics such as codeine and barbiturates such as phenobarbitol.
People taking aspirin, warfarin, or other medications that thin the blood should use BromelainTM with extreme caution because of a possible risk of bleeding when used together.
It should also be used with caution by people taking herbs and supplements that are thought to increase the risk of bleeding, such as ginkgo biloba and garlic.