The pineapple is the best known tropical fruit. In addition to its sweet, heady aroma, it has a special property that distinguishes it from all other fruits: it contains an enzyme called bromelain, which can break down the protein in foods. (normally this can be done only by gastric juices and digestive enzymes in the body) Bromelain enables pineapples to promote the digestive process, because only protein compounds that have been broken down into smaller components can be absorbed by the intestine and enter the blood stream. Pineapples also contain valuable vitamins and minerals. In folk medicine the fruit or juice is also used to induce perspiration and reduce fever.
Buy a ripe pineapple, because the fruit does not mature after harvesting and only ripe, fresh fruit contains a high concentration of nutrients, fruit acids and enzymes. Unfortunately, as a result of processing, canned pineapple loses most of its healing power. When picking a fresh pineapple, look for;
- A golden reddish color
- A slight give when squeezed, but without any soft spots
- A fragrant aroma, not sour or fermented
- A fresh green crown
The enzyme bromelain in the pineapple starts the digestive process, thereby relieving gastrointestinal upset, improving circulation, stopping cramps and inhibiting inflammation. It may help rid the body of inflammatory compounds that contribute to arthritis. Pineapples also have diuretic properties and reduce perspiration, a process that helps flush toxins from the body.
Pineapples contain vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and dietary fiber. Other known active components are citric acid and additional fruit acids, as well as the valuable enzyme bromelain.
To take advantage of pineapple's myriad healing powers, drink 3 ½ ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times daily before meals or eat a slice of fresh pineapple at each meal.
For joint and muscle pain
Eating pineapple rich in bromelain can have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. This makes the fruit useful both to prevent and treat sports injuries in those who exercise regularly. It can speed the healing of bruises. It may also help ease arthritis pain and is a good remedy for generalized joint aches, tendonitis and bursitis.
For corns, calluses and dry skin
Corn and calluses on the feet and rough skin on the elbows and heels can be removed with the fruit acids in pineapple. Apply mashed fruit to the affected area and leave it on for an hour. Rinse and gently scrub the area to remove the dead skin. Several treatments may be needed.
Extra tip : Fresh pineapple juice can calm digestive upset in children. Mix pineapple juice with an herbal tea that eases stomach trouble, such as chamomile; give it to toddlers and older children in small amounts.
Used for stomach disorders, digestive problems, lack of appetite, diarrhea, fever, muscle cramps and as a general strengthener and tonic.
Methods of Administration
For digestive problems
Besides helping to break down the proteins in food, the enzyme bromelain found in pineapple, aids in destroying the harmful bacteria in the stomach and intestine. Because it can increase a poor appetite resulting from insufficient gastric juices, frsh pineapple juice is often prescribed as a tonic and body building drink for convalescents and for cancer patients undergoing treatment.
The alpha-hydroxy acids that are added to many skin creams are found naturally in pineapple. These compounds help reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles when applied to the skin, so pineapple is a useful ingredient in facial masks.
Drinking pineapple juice can help hydrate the body and restore the immune system.
Like all acids, the fruit acids in pineapple can have an aggressive, corrosive effect on certain substances. In the body, the gums and tooth enamel are at particular risk, and eating too much pineapple may contribute to gingivitis and cavities. After eating pineapple products, rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth as soon as possible.