Bromelain is a digestive enzyme derived from the stem and fruit of pineapples. It's used to help reduce swelling after surgery or injury.*
Bromelain is typically taken for a short time to help promote healing.* It may reduce minor swelling and bruising following injury or surgery.* Bromelain may promote faster reabsorption of a collection of blood that causes bruising and swelling (hematoma).*
Bromelain is found in the pineapple plant. It is mostly concentrated in the parts you don't eat, especially the stem. To obtain the best health benefits from bromelain, it may be easier to take a dietary supplement.
Supplemental bromelain can help you in several ways:
- Promotes healing after trauma or surgery*
- Reduces bruising*
- Decreases swelling after injury*
- Reduces tenderness after acute injury*
Bromelain has shown health benefits at doses as low as 160 milligrams (mg) a day. For most conditions, research suggests that the best results occur at doses of 750 to 1,000 mg a day.* This is usually split into more than one dose, such as 500 mg taken twice daily.
Most studies in humans report few side effects. However, one study showed an increased heart rate in individuals with high blood pressure who were taking a high dose of bromelain. If you have high blood pressure, consult with your health care professional before taking a bromelain supplement.
It's also possible to have an allergic reaction to bromelain. If you develop breathing problems, stop taking bromelain and seek medical help.
Bromelain may inhibit blood clotting, so it should be avoided if you take a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant), such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) and others.
If you are considering taking a bromelain supplement, check with your health care professional first, especially if you are pregnant or have a health condition.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
July 26, 2016
- Bromelain. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 8, 2016.
- Pavan R, et al. Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: A review. Biotechnology Research International. 2012; Dec. 10 [ePub].
- Bromelain. In: Pizzorno J, et al., eds. Textbook of Natural Medicine. 4th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Churchill Livingston; 2013:620.
- Bromelain Monograph. Alternative Medicine Review. 2010;15(4):361.