Bromelain: a digestive enzyme derived from pineapple

Bromelain, an extract from pineapple fruit and stems, is a “proteolytic enzyme,” meaning that it helps in the digestion of proteins (not fats or sugars).

We were interested to read this recent study reported about Bromelain
used to treat a rash called “pityriasis lichenoides chronica,” which has been associated with HIV and Epstein-Barr:

Massimiliano R, Pietro R, Paolo S, Sara P, Michele F. Role of bromelain in the treatment of patients with pityriasis lichenoides chronica. J Dermatolog Treat. 2007;18(4):219-22.

OBJECTIVES: Pityriasis lichenoides chronica (PLC) is a skin disease of unknown etiology. Uncertainty about the etiopathogenesis of this skin disease is the reason for the unpredictable and non optimal efficacy of therapies available for its treatment. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of bromelain, a crude aqueous extract of the stems and immature fruit of pineapple, in the treatment of PLC. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Eight patients (3 males and 5 females) with PLC were enrolled in the study and treated for three months with oral bromelain (40 mg 3 times a day for 1 month, 40 mg twice a day for 1 month and 40 mg/day for 1 month). RESULTS: All patients showed complete clinical recovery after treatment. In 12 months of follow up, two patients experienced relapse 5-6 months after suspension of therapy but responded to another brief cycle of therapy. No side effects were encountered during therapy. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion bromelain can be considered an effective therapeutic option for PLC; its efficacy could be related to its anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and/or anti-viral properties.

See also the NYBC entry: