Scientifically Pineapple and its uses
The pineapple is the leading edible member of the family Bromeliaceae which embraces about 2,000 species, mostly epiphytic and many strikingly ornamental. Now known botanically as Ananas comosus Merr. (syns. A. sativus Schult. f., Ananassa sativa Lindl., Bromelia ananas L., B. comosa L.), the fruit has acquired few vernacular names. It is widely called pina by Spanish-speaking people, abacaxi in the Portuguese tongue, ananas by the Dutch and French and the people of former French and Dutch colonies; nanas in southern Asia and the East Indes. In China, it is po-lo-mah; sometimes in Jamaica, sweet pine; in Guatemala often merely "pine" .
The pineapple plant is a terrestrial herb 2 1/2 to 5 ft (.75-1.5 m) high with a spread of 3 to 4 ft (.9-1.2 m); a very short, stout stem and a rosette of waxy, straplike leaves, long-pointed, 20 to 72 in (50-180cm) 1ong; usually needle tipped and generally bearing sharp, upcurved spines on the margins. The leaves may be all green or variously striped with red, yellow or ivory down the middle or near the margins. At blooming time, the stem elongates and enlarges near the apex and puts forth a head of small purple or red flowers, each accompanied by a single red, yellowish or green bract. The stem continues to grow and acquires at its apex a compact tuft of stiff, short leaves called the "crown" or "top". Occasionally a plant may bear 2 or 3 heads, or as many as 12 fused together, instead of the normal one.
Malayans utilize the pineapple in curries and various meat dishes. In the Philippines, the fermented pulp is made into a popular sweetmeat called nata de pina. The pineapple does not lend itself well to freezing, as it tends to develop off flavors. Canned pineapple is consumed throughout the world. The highest grade is the skinned, cored fruit sliced crosswise and packed in sirup.
The proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, or bromelin, was formerly derived from pineapple juice. In modern therapy, it is employed as a digestive and for its anti-inflammatory action after surgery, and to reduce swellings in cases of physical injuries; also in the treatment of various other complaints.
Pineapple leaves yield a strong, white, silky fiber which was extracted. Chinese people weave the fiber into coarse textiles resembling grass cloth. It was long ago used for thread in Malacca and Borneo. In India the thread is prized by shoemakers and it was formerly used in the Celebes. In West Africa it has been used for stringing jewels and also made into capes and caps worn by tribal chiefs.They also employ the fiber for wrapping or sewing cigars.
Pineapple juice has been employed for cleaning machete and knife blades and, with sand, for scrubbing boat decks.
Pineapple juice is taken as a diuretic and to expedite labor, also as a gargle in cases of sore throat and as an antidote for seasickness. The flesh of very young (toxic) fruits is deliberately ingested to achieve abortion (a little with honey on 3 successive mornings); also to expel intestinal worms; and as a drastic treatment for venereal diseases. In Africa the dried, powdered root is a remedy for edema.
The pineapple fruit with crown intact is often used as a decoration and there are variegated forms of the plant universally grown for their showiness indoors or out.Thousands of potted, ethylene treated pineapple plants with fruits have been shipped annually from southern Florida to northern cities as indoor ornamentals.