Bromelain is not really a herb (although is classified as one), this is a mixture of protein-digesting enzymes, scientifically called sulfur-containing (sulphydryl) proteolytic digestive enzyme that can be found in all parts of the pineapple plant. Biological name of the pineapple is Ananas comosus from family Bromeliaceae.
Bromelain is famous among all healthy supplements; it has various names, such as Bromelin, Ananase, Pineapple Extract, Traumanase, etc. But it’s name Bromelain is the most known and recognizable.
As a therapeutic supplement Bromelain is being used since 1957. Different countries have been studying its therapeutic effect for more than 50 years now. Bromelain is one of the popular supplements in countries of Europe, Asia and Latin America. It takes the 13th place in the list of most widely used herbs in Germany. More and more countries are getting interested in its unique properties and health benefits.
Bromelain is extracted from different part of the common pineapple plant and is produced in all countries all over the world where pineapples are grown. You can find Ananas comosus in most countries of the tropical climate, such as Taiwan and Thailand.
Pineapple is a very tasty food. But even if you can eat the whole pineapple at once, it doesn’t mean you get all necessary Bromelain to your body. The reason is that though Bromelain can be found in all parts of the fruit – the highest concentration of it is in the stem tissue (than in the fruit itself). So, you need to eat the whole stem as well, but it appeared to be not tasty at all.
That is why the easiest way to get bromelain content for your body is to get it from the nutritional Bromelain supplement. This supplement is prepared when the stem of the plant is harvested, peeled and crushed for getting a juice. This juice is full of enzymes that are needed for various forms of supplements.
Bromelain nutritional supplements are available in the form of capsules, tablets and as powder for oral use. Bromelain for external usage is also available (as it is needed for burns) mainly in form of ointments. Besides, Bromelain is often one of the active ingredients in other health supplements (such as for joint).
Bromelain is a mix of enzymes found in the pineapple, and the main two are called fruit bromelain and stem bromelain. Besides enzymes, Bromelain has some other useful ingredients, such as peroxidase, protease inhibitors, acid phosphatase and even Calcium.
Bromelain two main actions are to help digest proteins (when it is taken with or after the meals) and to act as a natural anti-inflammatory for different conditions (when it is applied topically or taken on an empty stomach).
Bromelain is used for various ailment and conditions. Almost most of the cases have strong or good scientific evidence and proofs for the use of these enzymes. The effectiveness is being tested with time and lots of studies. Bromelain is appeared to be effective in the following conditions:
· Injuries (in sport and after the surgery)
Bromelain has shown great results in treating inflammation after the surgery and injury. It also reduces the swelling and pain, associated with the condition. It has been officially approved in Germany for the usage mentioned above.
· Sinus inflammation (or other inflammation)
Bromelain may help in case of sinus and nasal congestion by reducing the inflammation/swelling caused by hay fever or after nose, ear and throat surgery. It eventually improves breathing and suppress coughing, thus becoming a good alternative to antibiotics in this cases. In case of other kinds of inflammation Bromelain can reduce it as well as the physical pain following it.
· For Digestion
Enzymes are very effective in case of different digestive problems, such as gas problems, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, stomach upset and diarrhea (mainly caused by bacteria). Bromelain supplement is often combined with other enzymes that except proteins can also help to digest starch and fat.
· Osteoarthritis and arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis)
It becomes the alternatives to NSAIDs used in case of osteoarthritis and arthritis to reduce pain associated with these conditions. And in comparison with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs the have much less side effects if any.
· Burns and rash (insects bites)
When applied to the burned skin it can be rather effective in case of very severe burns (such as deep second and third-degree burns). Bromelain is often used as a first aid to clean up burns and wounds and to help in case of insect bites and skin rash, as it effectively reduces the swelling, inflammation and pain (together with some anti-viral effect).
Due to its anti-viral properties Bromelain can fight against viruses and bacteria (for example in case of urinary tract infection, pneumonia, bronchitis, etc.)
Effectiveness in using Bromelain for other conditions and ailment needs more scientific evidence and thus time for researches (such as for cancer, HIV, chronic venous insufficiency, reducing of blood clots in the bloodstream, heavy menstrual periods, etc.).
Among side effects indigestion, nausea / vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate and heavy menstruation were reported. People who are allergic to pineapples, or to some other substances (latex, celery, fennel, rye, wheat, grass, some others), people with digestive or bleeding disorders are not advised to take Bromelain. Use it after the consultation of a qualified healthcare professional (especially when you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking other medications or just after the surgery).
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