Pineapple contains the unique protease enzyme "bromelain", that has powerful anti-inflammatory effects on bruises, sprains, strains by reducing swelling, tenderness, and pain; it relieves rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and relieves indigestion.
The pineapples is a tropical or near-tropical plant, but will usually tolerate brief exposures to 28° F. Prolonged cold above freezing retards growth, delays maturity and causes the fruit to be more acid. Pineapples are drought-tolerant and produce fruit under yearly precipitation rates ranging from 25 - 150 in., depending on location and humidity. They are successfully grown in southern Florida and coastal areas of southern California. The small plant adapts well to container and greenhouse culture.
Indian migration and commerce brought the pineapples to the Caribbean islands. The herbaceous plant called "anana," or "excellent fruit," evolved in the inland areas of Brazil and Paraguay and was widely transplanted and cultivated. Known for its sweetness, it was a staple of indian feasts and rites and used to produce an Indian wine.
In November, 1493, Christopher Columbus, on his second voyage to the Caribbean region on the deserted volcanic island of Guadaloupe were piles of freshly gathered vegetables and fruits, including pineapples. The sailors recorded the new fruit as having an abrasive, segmented exterior like a pine cone and a firm interior pulp like an apple. Columbus returned with his discoveries. The fruit became an item of celebrity and curiosity for royal gourmet and horticulturist. It was nearly two centuries before Europe grew its first pineapple plant.
The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines and may have taken it to Hawaii and Guam early in the 16th Century.
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