An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.

 

Pineapple - Ananas comosus (Ananas sativa) - family: Bromeliaceae (Pineapple Family).

This is an evergreen biennial or perennial plant that grows in the tropics. It is the source of our familiar Pineapple fruit. Pineapple plants grow up to about five feet high. They have long narrow jagged dark green leaves that grow up from a basal rosette. It produces a central spike of reddish flowers which is followed by the fruit. The fruits are large, typically weighing several pounds and are made of sweet edible yellow flesh. The fruit is thought to help relieve urinary and digestive problems. Traditional North American folk use of juice as a remedy for indigestion. Traditional South American use of juice as a folk aphrodisiac. Leaf is source of useful enzymes. Bromelain is an enzyme obtained from the pineapple. It has been used clinically for angina, arthritis, bronchitis, edema, pancreatic insufficiency, pain, pneumonia and sinusitis. Bromelain has also been used as a remedy for cuts, hives, inflammations and for intestinal parasites. Modern American folk use of bromelain as an internal remedy for allergies, back pain, bronchitis, bruises, flu, gout, heartburn, indigestion, menstrual pain, pneumonia, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), sciatica, sinus problems, sprains, tennis elbow, varicose veins and for inflammatory conditions such as bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury (RSI) and tendinitis. Modern American use of this extract to support immune systems. Bromelain is also being touted as a "fat burner" for weight loss; one magazine ad asserts that it will "eat" nine hundred times its weight in fat! Unfortunately, this ad did not bother to describe exactly how this "fat burning" was accomplished. Note: do not use unripe fruits if you are pregnant. The pineapple image has been carved in wood outside of house entrances as a symbol of friendship in parts of Europe and New England [Morton, Fruits]. Native to Brazil and Paraguay in South America. Widely cultivated in tropical areas including Hawai'i, Mexico and the Caribbean. Cultivars include Smooth Cayenne, Queen and Red Spanish.

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Web page last updated on 22 May 2003.