Fresh pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain. In Central and South America, pineapple has been used as medicine for many years. Traditionally, pineapple has treated a number of medical conditions including congestion of the sinuses, although research on the effectiveness of pineapple for most conditions is limited. Consult your physician before changing your diet or taking any supplements.
Benefits of Pineapple
The bromelain found in pineapple may help to treat different ailments. Bromelain is an ingredient in Phlogenzym, a prescription medication to treat arthritis. According to the National Institutes of Health, bromelain is possibly effective for the treatment of joint pain. It is also used to treat muscle soreness after exercise, knee pain, severe burns and inflammation. Bromelain may help to reduce swelling following surgery or injury and may help to treat hay fever; however, more research is needed before the effectiveness of bromelain for these other uses can be rated.
Pineapple and Sinuses
Fresh pineapple has been used to treat some conditions of the sinuses. The German Commission E, an expert panel that reviews herbal remedies in Germany, approved bromelain, found in stems and juice of pineapple, as a treatment to reduce swelling or inflammation of the nose or sinuses after ear, nose or throat surgery. Because bromelain may also be useful in reducing inflammation in conditions such as arthritis, it can be concluded that bromelain may also help reduce inflammation of the sinuses.
Preliminary research suggests that bromelain from pineapples may be effective in treating specific sinus disorders. A 2006 review published in “Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery” examined three studies that tested bromelain as a treatment for acute or chronic sinusitis. The study found that bromelain may be effective adjunctive treatments in acute rhinosinusitis. Another study conducted in 2005 and published in "In Vivo" investigated the use of bromelain in children with acute sinusitis. Researchers also found that bromelain was useful in the treatment of sinusitis in young children. However, more research needs to be done.
Although bromelain has very low toxicity, consult your physician before eating fresh pineapple for the sinuses. The bromelain in pineapple may interact with certain medications if you eat large quantities of pineapple. Some people experience swelling related to large doses of the pineapple. Other potential side effects include nausea, diarrhea, skin rash, vomiting and excess menstrual flow, according to Drugs.com. The juice from unripe pineapple can cause severe vomiting. Information about eating fresh pineapple while pregnant or breast-feeding is limited.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Bromelain; Steven D. Ehrlich; March 2009
- Medline Plus; Bromelain; July 2011
- “Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery”; Herbal Medicines for the Treatment of Rhinosinusitis: A Systematic Review; Ruoling Guo, et al.; October 2006
- "In Vivo"; Therapeutic Use, Efficiency and Safety of the Proteolytic Pineapple Enzyme Bromelain-POS in Children with Acute Sinusitis in Germany; J.M. Braun, et al.; April 2005
- Drugs.com: Pineapple
- American Cancer Society; Bromelain; April 2011