Bruising is a common minor injury that occurs when small blood vessels under the skin rupture, allowing blood to pool and cause a noticeable discoloration. While bruises will eventually fade on their own, many people seek ways to speed up the healing process. One popular home remedy is drinking pineapple juice, thought to help bruises heal faster due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. But how much pineapple juice do you need to see results? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence behind using pineapple juice for bruises.
What causes bruising?
A bruise forms when a bump or blow causes tiny blood vessels called capillaries to break under the skin. Blood leaks out of the capillaries into the surrounding tissues, causing the discolored appearance of a bruise. The blood starts out a dark reddish-purple color, then gradually fades to green and yellow as the body reabsorbs the broken down blood components.
The size and appearance of a bruise depends on factors like:
- Force of the injury
- Location on the body
- Age – older adults bruise more easily due to thinner skin
- Medications or health conditions that affect clotting
Bruises are not usually dangerous and will heal on their own, typically within 1-2 weeks. But no one likes the look of an ugly bruise! Next we’ll look at whether pineapple juice can help speed up bruise healing.
Why pineapple juice for bruises?
Pineapple is often suggested as a home remedy for bruises due to its content of bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties. Bromelain is thought to help bruises by:
- Reducing swelling and inflammation
- Breaking down clotting proteins to improve circulation
- Removing damaged and dead tissue to clear the way for healing
- Increasing absorption of other nutrients involved in healing
In addition to bromelain, pineapple juice contains antioxidants like vitamin C and manganese. Antioxidants help counteract cell damage and support tissue repair.
Some research in rats has shown faster clearance of bruise-like blood spots when given bromelain supplements. But more high quality studies are still needed to confirm effectiveness in humans.
How much pineapple juice for a bruise?
There are no official guidelines on how much pineapple juice to drink for a bruise. But based on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, many health experts recommend:
- 8 oz (240 ml) of fresh pineapple juice per day
- Start drinking the juice as soon as possible after bruising occurs
- Continue drinking daily until the bruise has faded
Consuming around one cup of fresh pineapple juice per day may help provide sufficient bromelain to reduce inflammation and promote bruise healing.
Pineapple juice vs. whole pineapple
It’s worth noting that juicing a pineapple may remove some of the helpful enzymes compared to eating it whole with the core and stem. That’s because bromelain is most concentrated in the pineapple stem and core.
Some sources suggest eating 1/2 – 1 cup of chopped fresh pineapple daily including the core to get the most benefit for bruises. The flesh and juice contain lower but still therapeutic levels. Canned or frozen pineapple lacks the active enzymes.
So for maximum effect, fresh pineapple juice or pieces may be best. But juice is often more convenient and portable if you need to take it on-the-go.
Other ways to use pineapple for bruises
In addition to drinking the juice, you can also apply pineapple topically to a bruise:
Soak a clean cloth in fresh pineapple juice or a blended pineapple mixture. Apply to the bruised area for 15-20 minutes to provide localized anti-inflammatory effects.
Pineapple and honey mask
Mix freshly chopped pineapple with a little raw honey. Apply to the bruise and leave on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing. Honey also provides antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
If you can’t get fresh pineapple regularly, bromelain enzymes are also available in supplement form. Typical doses for bruises range from 200-500 mg, 2-3 times per day.
Precautions with pineapples
Pineapple is likely safe for most people when used in normal food amounts. But higher doses through juicing or supplements can sometimes cause side effects like:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Skin rashes
- Increased menstrual flow
- Higher risk of bleeding disorders
People with allergies or on blood thinners should be especially cautious with bromelain due to the increased bleeding risk. Start with lower doses and watch for reactions.
And while acidic fruit juices like pineapple provide antioxidants for healing, applying them directly to the skin can potentially irritate and worsen bruising in some cases. Dilute or rinse off after 20-30 minutes to avoid skin irritation.
When to see a doctor
Most bruises are minor and can be managed at home. But it’s important to get medical care if:
- The bruise is very large or extensive
- You experience significant pain or swelling
- Bruising occurs without an injury, or from minor bumps
- You have bruising along with other concerning symptoms like dizziness or lightheadedness
Unexplained or excessive bruising can signal an underlying medical condition requiring treatment, like a platelet disorder or leukemia. See your doctor to determine the cause.
Other home remedies for bruises
In addition to pineapple, other natural remedies may help speed up bruise healing:
While home remedies show promise for aiding bruise healing, always see a doctor for severe or unexplained bruising. With proper treatment, most bruises will fade within a couple weeks.
|Pineapple juice||Bromelain for reduced inflammation|
|Cold compress||Limits swelling|
|Gentle massage||Improves circulation|
|Arnica||Reduces pain and discoloration|
|Rest||Prevents further injury|
The bottom line
While the research is still preliminary, drinking pineapple juice may help speed up bruise healing thanks to its content of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory enzymes like bromelain. Most sources suggest around 8 ounces of fresh pineapple juice per day for optimal benefits. Applying crushed pineapple or juice directly to the skin may also aid effects.
However, pineapple treatments are not a replacement for medical care if you have severe or abnormal bruising. Get evaluated by your doctor to identify any underlying condition requiring treatment. With proper care, most bruises will fade within a week or two.