Researchers at the University of Ilorin have revealed the specific mechanism of how an active ingredient in the pineapple plant, Bromelain, works in reducing the effects of COVID-19 on people.
A Ph.D. researcher, Ahmed Olalekan Bakare, gave insight to the journey of the discovery of Bromelain’s efficacy on Monday while speaking with newsmen in llorin.
Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme mixture derived from the stem, fruit, and juice of the pineapple plant. It has a centuries-long history of being used to treat medical ailments.
Olalekan-Bakare explained that Bromelain, has an antidote to inflammation. He revealed that he began the research when his Supervisor, Prof. Bamidele Owoyele suggested that his research should focus on pineapple as a possible solution to the inflammation.
According to him, inflammation is a major symptom among COVID-19 patients and the reason why patients who are seriously affected find it difficult to breathe.
“After months in the laboratory, I found out that cytokine, a chemical which is responsible for the inflammation, could be modulated with introduction of bromelain into the body system.
“Bromelain increases cytokine when it is too low and also reduces excessive cytokine to its optimal level,” he said.
According to him, this research is a breakthrough which has earned him approval for publication in scientific academic journals.
Also speaking on bromelain, Owoyele, Head of the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, UNILORIN, described bromelain as an active ingredient in the pineapple.
lt is in the stem in large quantity. It is also in the peel and the central part of the flesh of a pineapple fruit.
“It can also help to prevent blood coagulation which is caused by cytokine and it also helps the pancreas produce enzymes,” he said.
The don noted that pineapple stem or peel could be heated in water that had not reached boiling point but water with lukewarm temperature for optimal extraction.
He noted that active chemical ingredients were often lost in the preparation of herbs because of high temperature with which extractions were attempted.
Owoyele described the Ph.D student as a hardworking student whom he had earlier supervised during his first and master’s degrees.