perpetual student
Dec 3, 2007
Texas, USA
I've been searching for a natural nasal decongestant, since my ENT did not help as much as I thought she would / should. Bromelain is one of my finds. It comes from the pineapple stem. I tried it before for swimmer's ear, but it failed for me. Then I discovered that I had an allergic reaction from pineapple. I'm going to try again as allergies change over time. My allergic reaction, to pineapple, was that it promoted more histamine in me. That is not good. Perhaps the enzyme will have mercy.


Bromelain is a mixture of protein-digesting (proteolytic) enzymes found in pineapples (Ananas comosus). Pineapple has been used for centuries in Central and South America to treat indigestion and reduce inflammation. Bromelain, which is derived from the stem and juice of the pineapple, was first isolated from the pineapple plant in the late 1800s. The German Commission E approved bromelain to treat swelling and inflammation following surgery, particularly sinus surgery.
Bromelain can be useful in treating a wide range of conditions, but it is particularly effective in reducing inflammation associated with infection and injuries.
Surgical Procedures and Sports Injuries
Although studies show mixed results, bromelain may reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain following surgery and physical injuries. It is often used to reduce inflammation associated with tendinitis, sprains and strains, and other minor muscle injuries.
Wounds and Burns
Some studies of animals indicate that bromelain (applied to the surface of the skin) may be useful in removing dead tissue (debridement) from third-degree burns. In addition, a preliminary study using a debridement agent that is derived from bromelain to treat people with second- and third-degree burns showed a benefit. Bromelain may also be applied topically to reduce swelling from insect bites and stings.
Sinusitis (Sinus inflammation)
Although not all studies agree, bromelain may help reduce cough and nasal mucus associated with sinusitis, and relieve the swelling and inflammation caused by hay fever. The German Commission E approved bromelain for the treatment of sinus and nasal swelling following ear, nose, and throat surgery or trauma.
Bromelain can digest proteins and may help relieve stomach upset or heartburn, particularly when used in conjunction with other enzymes such as amylase (which digests starch) and lipase (which digests fat). One animal study suggests that the antibacterial effects of bromelain may help control diarrhea caused by bacteria. Another study suggests bromelain may be a novel therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. However, human studies are needed.
Arthritis and other Inflammatory Conditions
Studies show mixed results, but one study suggested that a combination of bromelain, rutosid, and trypsin was as effective as some commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis. NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and diclofenac (Voltaren), among others. Similarly, preliminary studies suggest that bromelain may also help reduce pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, but the results are not definitive.
Some evidence from test tubes and animals suggests that bromelain can kill some viruses and bacteria. That could make it a useful addition to conventional treatment of bronchitis, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. But more research, including human studies, is needed to see whether it is truly effective.

Dietary Sources:

Bromelain is found in the common pineapple plant, but not in high enough doses to have a medicinal effect.

Available Forms:

Bromelain is available in tablet or capsule form for oral use. A topical variety is sometimes used by health care providers to treat severe burns. You should never attempt to treat a severe burn yourself; always seek medical attention.

How to Take It:

Because there are no known scientific studies on the pediatric use of bromelain, do not give it to children.
The German Commission E recommends 80 - 320 mg 2 - 3 times per day. For specific conditions, higher doses may be prescribed:

  • Digestive aid: 500 mg per day in divided doses with meals
  • Injuries: 500 mg 4 times a day on an empty stomach
  • Arthritis: 500 - 2,000 mg a day in two divided doses


Because supplements may have side effects or interact with medications, you should take them only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider. Bromelain is generally recommended for no longer than 8 - 10 days in a row.
Side effects from bromelain are generally mild and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive menstrual bleeding.
People who are allergic to pineapples should not take bromelain because skin reactions or asthma-like symptoms may occur.
Pregnant women and people with bleeding disorders, high blood pressure, and liver or kidney disease should not take bromelain.

Possible Interactions:

If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use bromelain without talking to your health care provider.
Antibiotics -- Bromelain may increase the amount of antibiotics absorbed by the body. In one clinical study, the combination of bromelain and amoxicillin increased the levels of amoxicillin in the blood. Also, some studies suggest that bromelain may increase the body's absorption of tetracycline, but results of other studies have been conflicting.
Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs (blood-thinners) -- Bromelain may affect the blood's ability to clot, and could interfere with any blood-thinning drugs you are taking, including:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Aspirin
Sedatives -- Some experts believe bromelain may increase the effect of drugs that have a sedating effect, including:

  • Anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakote)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium)
  • Drugs to treat insomnia, such as zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and ramelteon (Rozerem)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Alcohol
The same is true of herbs with a sedating effect, such as valerian, kava, and catnip.

Alternative Names:

Ananas comosus; Bromelainum

  • Reviewed last on: 3/14/2009
  • Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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perpetual student
Dec 3, 2007
Texas, USA
Original Poster
In a double-blind trial, 48 patients with moderately severe to severe sinusitis received bromelain or placebo for 6 days.38 All patients were placed on standard therapy for sinusitis, which included antihistamines, analgesics, and antibiotics. Upon completion of the study, inflammation was reduced in 83% of those taking bromelain compared to 52% of the placebo group. Breathing difficulty was relieved in 78% of the bromelain group and 68% of the placebo group. Overall, good to excellent results were observed in 87% of patients treated with bromelain compared to 68% on placebo.
Benefits were also seen in two other studies enrolling a total of more than 100 individuals with sinusitis.39,40

38. Ryan RE. A double-blind clinical evaluation of bromelains in the treatment of acute sinusitis. Headache. 1967;7:13-17.
39. Taub SJ. The use of ananase in sinusitis: A study of 60 patients. Eye Ear Nose Throat Mon. 1966;45:96,98.
40. Seltzer AP. Adjunctive use of bromelains in sinusitis: a controlled study. Eye Ear Nose Throat Mon. 1967;46:1281-1288.


New member
Aug 18, 2011
Bromelain is one of the supplements I take daily and I've noticed that it

1. increases circulation in my legs- eg, my legs don't suddenly fall asleep anymore when I'm sitting with them crossed

2. I don't have stuffy nose

3. It also caused a weight loss, mainly around the midsection area. I've read up on this, and primarily it's because bromelain helps to digest food. Since I was a child, I had been gluten intolerant, but with bromelain, I found I could eat modest amounts of bread without its bloating effects