Pineapple, bromelain and end of misery of joint pain.
Written By Health Hub
July 21, 2017
The medicinal use of this plant Pineapple can be traced in several native cultures. The documentation of its phytomedical properties is available since 1875. The medicinal properties of this fruit are attributed to the presence of protein digesting enzyme called Bromelain. This enzyme can be extracted from both fruit and the stem.
The enzymes extracted from different parts of the fruit vary in composition. Stem bromelain, consisting of thiol endopeptidases and other components like phosphatase, glucosidase, peroxidase, cellulase, escharase, and several protease inhibitors, is considered to be medicinally more significant
The stem is largely thrown out as a waste byproduct, but for medicinal use, bromelain has to be actually extracted from the stem instead of the fruit. The best part of Bromelain is that, the biological activity of this enzyme remains intact even when it gets absorbed in the human intestines (Pavan, et al).
How does bromelain bring an end to the misery of joint pain?
Current studies suggest that Bromelain decreases the levels of prostaglandins like PGE2 and thromboxane A2, along with the modulation of certain immune cell surface adhesion molecules. Through this mechanism of action, Bromelain tries to control inflammation, thus controlling the pathogenesis of arthritis (Akhtar and Haqqi). In order to compare the performance of diclofenac and bromelain in patients suffering from osteoarthritis of knee, 103 patients were given a combination of bromelain, trypsin, and rutin. Surprisingly, after six weeks, both diclofenac and the combination drug showed similar results.
Patients reported a significant and similar reduction in the pain and inflammation (Pavan, et al). This study suggests that bromelain can act as an alternative drug in place of regularly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Bromelian also shows analgesic properties as it can directly influence pain mediators such as bradykinin, thus providing a relief from pain in arthritic patients. Studies conducted on 28 patients, with moderate or severe rheumatoid or osteoarthritis showed that Bromelian could reduce swelling of soft tissues, pain and joint stiffness. No side effects were reported during this study, indicating that Bromelian can be used in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis.
Other medicinal uses of Pineapple
This fruit is rich in micronutrients such as vitamin C, manganese, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, copper, and dietary fiber. Along with these micronutrients, the phytochemicals like ascoumaric acid, ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid and ellagic acid help in the general improvement of physical health. This fruit shows DNA protective capacity (Izquierdo-Vega et al). According to a research published in the journal Planta Medica, bromelain performed better in comparison to the chemotherapeutic drug 5-fluoraucil, while treating cancer in animals. Bromelain fights cancer by dissolving fibrin. Cancer cells usually hide under fibrin due to which the immune system is unable to detect them. However when once the fibrin is dissolved, the cancer cells become uncloaked and this allows the immune system to destroy them.
Bromelain is effective against heart problems. It either prevents or minimizes the severity of angina pectoris and transient ischemic heart attack. It breaks down cholesterol plaques thus preventing atherosclerosis. Bromelain also provides relief from chronic autoimmune disorders. Bromelain nullifies the effects of certain pathogens like Vibrio cholera and Escherichia coli that cause diarrhoea. Bromelain is also topically applied as a cream to get relief from second/third degree burns and to remove damaged tissue from wounds.
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