Bromelain

background

Bromelain is a sulfur-containing proteolytic digestive enzyme that is extracted from the stem and the fruit of the pineapple plant (Ananas comosus, family Bromeliaceae).
When taken with meals, bromelain is believed to assist in the digestion of proteins. When taken on an empty stomach, it is believed to act medicinally as an anti-inflammatory agent.
The expert panel, the German Commission E, approved bromelain for the treatment of swelling/inflammation of the nose and sinuses caused by injuries and surgery in 1993.

Related Terms

Ananas comosus, Ananas sativus, Ananase®, Bromelain-POS, bromeline (pleural), Bromelainum, Bromeliaceae (family), Bromelin, Bromelins, Debridase, Phlogenzym (rutoside, bromelain, and trypsin), enzyme-rutosid combination, ERC (rutosid, bromelain, trypsin), plant protease concentrate, pineapple, pineapple extract, rutosid, Traumanase®, trypsin.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Sinusitis (sinus inflammation) (Grade: B)
It is proposed that bromelain may be a useful addition to other therapies used for sinusitis (such as antibiotics) due to its ability to reduce inflammation/swelling. Studies report mixed results, although overall bromelain appears to be beneficial for reducing swelling and improving breathing. Better studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
Burn debridement (Grade: C)
A bromelain-derived debriding agent, Debridase, has been studied on deep second degree and third degree burns with positive results. Further results are needed to confirm these results.
Cancer (Grade: C)
There is not enough information to recommend for or against the use of bromelain in the treatment of cancer, either alone or in addition to other therapies.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Grade: C)
There is not enough information to recommend for or against the use of bromelain in COPD.
Digestive enzyme/pancreatic insufficiency (Grade: C)
Bromelain is an enzyme with the ability to digest proteins. However, there is little reliable scientific research on whether bromelain is helpful as a digestive aid. Better study is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Inflammation (Grade: C)
Several preliminary studies suggest that when taken by mouth, bromelain may reduce inflammation or pain caused by inflammation. Better quality studies are needed to confirm these results.
Knee pain (Grade: C)
Bromelain may reduce mild acute knee pain in a dose-dependent manner.
Muscle soreness (Grade: C)
The effects of bromelain on muscle soreness following intense exercise are unclear.
Nutrition supplementation (Grade: C)
There is not enough information to recommend for or against the use of bromelain as a nutritional supplement.
Osteoarthritis of the knee (Grade: C)
There is conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of bromelain to treat osteoarthritis. Further well-designed clinical trials of bromelain alone are needed to confirm these results.
Rash (Grade: C)
Bromelain may help treat skin rash. This treatment may be effective because bromelain has been shown to decrease inflammation, regulate the immune system, and have antiviral effects.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) (Grade: C)
There is not enough information to recommend for or against the use of bromelain in rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Steatorrhea (fatty stools due to poor digestion) (Grade: C)
There is not enough information to recommend for or against the use of bromelain in the treatment of steatorrhea.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) (Grade: C)
There is not enough information to recommend for or against the use of bromelain in urinary tract infections.