A bruise is characterized by a dark purple or blue spot on the skin that is typically the result of impact from bumping or banging into something. This causes small blood vessels under the skin to rupture and leak blood into your tissues. Depending on the size of the bruise, it may take days or weeks to fully heal and disappear. However, it has been suggested that bromelain may speed the recovery time for bruise healing.
Bromelain is a protein digesting enzyme that is found naturally in pineapples. Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory and is used in treating tendinitis, arthritis and swelling and pain related to muscle injuries. Bromelain is thought to decrease bruising by breaking down proteins that trap fluids in the tissues after an injury. Central and South American natives have used this remedy for centuries.
There is some research to support the use of bromelain in reducing healing time of bruises. In one study involving boxers, the effect of bromelain on reducing face and upper body bruises was compared to placebo. Seventy-four boxers received bromelain and 72 boxers were given placebo. Only 10 boxers taking placebo had lost all signs of bruising within four days as compared to 58 in the group taking bromelain, reports an early and often cited clinical trial of bromelain published in the August 1969 issue of "Practitioner."
Bromelain has also been shown to be effective in those who experience bruising as a result of trauma from surgery. In women recovering from episiotomy, the rate of bruising reduction is faster in those taking bromelain supplements than those taking placebo, according to a study published in the August 2005 issue of the "British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology." The differences noted in this study did not, however, reach statistical significance. Although bromelain is widely used and generally considered to be a safe substance, more randomized, controlled clinical trials are necessary to establish this.
The recommended dose will depend on your reason for using bromelain. Eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice will not provide sufficient amounts of bromelain to aid bruise healing. A dose of 250 mg taken three times daily between meals can be used for the treatment of bruising, suggests the guide "Sports and Exercise Medicine for Pharmacists," published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.
- "Sports and Exercise Medicine for Pharmacists"; "Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain; 2006
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Bromelain; 2009
- "Practitioner;" Control of Swelling in Boxing Injuries; Blonstein; 1969