Bromelain is an enzyme, which is extracted from a Bromeliaceae plant, such as a pineapple, or any number of tropical flowering plants native to tropical regions. It has been successfully used in natural cures and home remedies due to its effectiveness in treating a variety of digestive disorders and inflammatory conditions.
Bromelain aids in the digestion of valuable proteins. It also prompts the body to naturally produce substances that ward off pain, swelling and that slow the clotting of blood. There is some evidence that this enzyme also stops the growth of tumors. Because of its strong digestive properties, it is further useful in treating digestive ailments, such as upset stomachs and heartburn. It is also believed that it helps in reducing certain bacteria, which may contribute to diarrhea.
The benefits of this enzyme make it a very popular supplement in places like Germany, whose governing bodies have approved it for use in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, particularly those that affect the ear, nose and throat regions. It is also commonly used to treat burns and other skin lacerations.
Other notable uses for it include the treatment of:
- Varicose veins
- Blood clots
- Urinary tract infections
- Injured muscles
- Athletic injuries
- Insect stings
While research continues to test it as an effective agent against cancer, some use it as a complementary treatment in tandem with mainstream treatments while under a doctor’s care.
It should be noted that when used with turmeric or magnesium, the effectiveness of this enzyme might actually be increased.
Symptoms of Deficiency
Used only in cases where health has been compromised, there are no symptoms associated with its deficiency.
While sold in capsule form, tablet form or as a topical treatment, the enzyme is also readily available in nutritious food sources, such as:
- Pineapple juice
- Pineapple stems
When taken in modest amounts, this enzyme is considered safe for most healthy adults. It is not recommended for children, pregnant women or nursing women, as insufficient research has not determined whether or not it is safe for use with these populations.
Individuals with food allergies should consult with a doctor before attempting to use this enzyme in any form. Also, people with specific allergies to pineapple should avoid it even in supplemental forms.
Because it is also useful as a blood-thinner, people with the following conditions should avoid its use:
- Menstrual irregularities
- Peptic ulcers
- Kidney disease or disorders
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Latex allergies
- Bee venom allergies
- Grass allergies
- Wheat allergies
In rare cases, this supplement has been known to cause nausea and vomiting in some individuals. Those who experience bromelain side effects should discontinue its use and immediately consult a physician.
Those who are interested in using bromelain to recover from a specific condition or injury should consult with a trained herbalist or a doctor familiar with its effects in order to properly determine the right dosage amounts if supplemental forms will be taken. However, accessing its healing benefits by consuming pineapple juice is considered to be the best way of using this enzyme in natural cures and home remedies.