Pineapple: Health Benefits & Side Effects
Pineapple is known scientifically by the name of Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. It's a member of the Bromeliaceae family. Pineapple is known to be a native to South America and believed to be brought to Europe by Spanish explorers. Its fruit is often used as a piece of decoration along with the crown. Plant of the pineapple is also grown indoors or out as an ornamental plant. Citric and malic acids are found in good quantities in pineapple fruits. Citric acid concentrations in some cultivars may exceed 8%. Ascorbic acid is also found in moderate amounts in pineapple fruit.
It is used as a constituent of several home remedies and folk medicines. Its juice is believed to expedite labor and as an antidote for seasickness. Young fruit is considered to be toxic to intestinal worms and a good remedy for venereal diseases.A little quantity of the flesh of young fruit with honey is ingested continually for 3 days in the morning to help achieve abortion.Field ripe fruits are usually eaten fresh as dessert.
Evidences in literature suggest that inflorescence of pineapple was used by female adults in Gabon to promote menstrual discharge and flowers were eaten raw by Malaysians as abortificient.
Different plant parts and its juices were believed by natives of many countries in the past to interfere with pregnancy, avoid pregnancy and provoke abortion. Nigerians used fresh fruit juice of pineapple fruit to overcome some of the effects of diabetes and believed that hot water extract of dried bark was of immense help in treating arthritis.People reportedly used its fresh juice as a blood purifier in USA as per the reports available.
Other uses include as salads, cooked in pies, puddings, cakes or as garnish on ham. Pineapple is also reported to be used in curries and other dishes. A popular sweetmeat is made from the fermented pulp of pineapple in some of the southeast Asian countries. Canned juice of pineapple is in great demand. Juice is also used in confectioneries and beverages. Powdered extract is also prepared from its juice.
Pineapple contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese fiber, and vitamin C. It is low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol but fairly rich in sugars. It is also a good source of thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B6, copper and dietary fiber.
It promotes bone growth and strengthens bones due to presence of sufficient amounts of manganese, a mineral considered responsible for healthy bones and connective tissues. Pineapple is believed to be useful for maintaining oral health and juice is considered helpful in healing process after a dental surgery.
Bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme in pineapple, has been shown to be an effective treatment in upper respiratory tract infections by suppressing coughs and reducing the thickness of mucus. Treating colds, sore throats, and acute sinusitis are other health benefits of pineapple.
Bromelain reduces inflammation and activates compounds that break down fibrin and blocks the production of kinins which both play a role in swelling. Because of these effects, it has been used to help treat rheumatoid arthritis and to speed up recovery from injuries and surgery.Other health benefits of pineapple is firming skin (by boosting the production of collagen), sloughing off dead skin cells, evening out skin tone, and making tiny wrinkles less noticeable.
The dried powdered root is considered a good remedy for edema. Application of the crushed rind on fractures is considered very useful. Use of the rind decoction mixed with rosemary is known to provide relief in hemorrhoids. Leaf juice is reportedly used as a purgative, emmenagogue and vermifuge.
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- Pineapple may show allergic reactions in some people in the form of temporary swelling on lips accompanied by rash
- Excess consumption may result in diarrhea and extreme menstrual bleeding
- Excess consumption may also lead to miscarriages in pregnant women
- Excessive consumption of cores may be the cause of formation of fiber balls in the digestive track.
- Consumption of unripe pineapple may have serious complications
Unripe pineapple may irritate the throat and act as a drastic purgative.
© 2009 Dr C V Singh