Bromelain is present in all parts of the pineapple plant (Ananas comosus) but the stem is the most common commercial source, presumably because it readily available after the fruit has been harvested. Pineapples have had a long tradition as a medicinal plant among the natives of South and Central America. However, just eating pineapple will not give you a great deal of extra bromelain, because it is mostly concentrated in the stem, which is not nearly as tasty (albeit still edible).
Along with papain, bromelain is one of the most popular enzymes for meat tenderizing. Historically, meat tenderizing enzymes were often injected into the muscle of a food animal while it is still living. This practice has been largely discontinused, replaced with various postmortem application methods which are acceptable for lesser quality cuts. Today, approximately 90% of meat tenderizer use is in consumer households. Bromelain is sold in a powdered form, which is combined with a marinade or directly sprinkled on the uncooked meat. The enzyme will penetrate the meat, and by a process called forking, cause the meat to be tender and pallatible when cooked. If the enzyme is allowed to work for too long, the meat may become too "mushy" for many consumers' preferences.
Bromelain can be used in a vast array of medical conditions. It was first introduced in this area in 1957, and works by blocking some proinflammatory metabolites
Bromelain is prepared from the stump or root portion of the pineapple plant after harvest of the fruit. This stump or root portion is collected from the fields, peeled and crushed to extract the juice containing the soluble Bromelain enzyme. Further processing includes precipitation of the enzyme to further purify it. This process is carried out in factories under strictly controlled conditions to assure microbiological quality and enzyme purity. The Bromelain products are all supplied as powders.
Other useful herb information: Cats Claw | Pennyroyal | Hyssop | Valerian | Noni | Muira Puama | Butterbur
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