Botany: Ananas sativus is evergreen perennial with a rosette of stiff, slightly recurved, spine-edged leaves, growing to 1m long, consisting of pink-flushed bracts and violet-pink flowers, followed by a golden-yellow, often red-flushed, compound fruit, topped by a tuft of sterile bracts. Native to Brazil.

History and/or folklore: The pineapple was cultivated by native S Americans long before European explorers reached the New World. Pineapple plants are ornamental and are commonly sold as houseplants, through they need higher temperatures and humidity to fruit well, and spiny foliage is hazardous in confined areas.

Charles II was painted holding the first pineapple said to be grown by his gardener Rose. On the Hawaiian Islands, in the Philippines and in South American folk medicine, pineapple is used against inflammation, feverish diseases, oedema etc.

Biochemistry: The main medicinal constituent of pineapple is bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein, thus aiding digestion. Bromelain is strongly anti-bacterial.

Pineapple Fruit Extract is an extract of the fruit of the pineapple, Ananas sativus.


Skin conditioning (Refreshing, tonic, and moisturizing).

Traditional use: Externally it is of great value in dissolving painful corns and in the cure of distressing skin complaints. Pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain, which is similar in action to papain (for poorly healing wounds and ulceration), an anti-inflammatory enzyme, used in cosmetic treatment creams. It is also used as a texturizer.


Contains the enzyme bromelain, which can break down the connecting layers between skin cells to exfoliate skin. However, bromelain used alone is a more effective source of exfoliation, and does not have the irritating properties of the pineapple.

Skin irritation minor, but lasting only for a few minutes. Mild skin irritation from contact with juice; irritation to the eyes from splashed juice; irritation of mouth, lips, and tongue.