Foods with anti-inflammatory activity can often relieve pain nearly as well as medications, but without the scary side effects. A pineapple compound called bromelain is one that can be helpful, as this reader discovered by accident.
Q. For several weeks, I’ve been experiencing moderate thigh and butt pain from osteoarthritis in my back.
I’m getting some moderate relief from meloxicam, an NSAID. But recently I am enjoying additional relief from eating fresh pineapple.
Not only is the pain greatly reduced, I’m able to walk with increased ease, stamina, and flexibility. What’s more, the pineapple is delicious.
I remember being given “ananase,” a pineapple derivative, to reduce swelling from an injury to my face decades ago. I assume that the active ingredient in my improvement is ananase, but I can’t seem to find this drug. Do you have any information on ananase?
A. Ananase is also known as bromelain. In the US, bromelain is sold as a dietary supplement. This pineapple compound has been shown to reduce pain and swelling after molar extraction as effectively as the NSAID diclofenac (Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Jun., 2014).
You may be interested in other natural agents with anti-inflammatory activity. You’ll find them discussed in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.