FACT CHECK: Is Pineapple Juice 500 Times More Effective For Treating A Cough Than Cough Syrup?

Kenia Mazariegos | Contributor

A post shared on Facebook claims pineapple juice is 500 times more effective at stopping a cough than cough syrup.

Verdict: False
While pineapple juice may provide some relief to people who have a cough, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it is 500 times more effective than cough syrup. Medical experts disputed the claim.

Fact Check: 

Coughing is the body’s way of trying to expel excess mucus and other irritants from the throat and breathing passage, according to WebMD. It is often treated with cough syrup, an oral liquid medicine containing a combination of active ingredients that work to stop cough symptoms and chest congestion, the site reports.

However, a post shared on Facebook claims pineapple juice can cure a cough faster than cough syrup. “Just so you know Pineapple Juice is 500 times more effective to stop a cough, then (sic) cough syrup.” reads the post. “Try it.”

While pineapple juice contains a mixture of bromelain enzymes with strong anti-inflammatory and possibly mucolytic properties that may help remedy a cough, according to Healthline, there is no evidence to suggest it is 500 times more effective at doing so than cough syrup. (RELATED: Does Drinking Grape Juice Prevent The Stomach Flu?) 

The post may be based on a misinterpretation of an aspect of a 2010 scientific review published in the chemistry journal Der Pharma Chemica. The review examined reported natural remedies for tuberculosis and at one point notes that pineapple juice, mixed with “pepper and a dash of salt and honey” has been found “to be extremely helpful in dissolving mucus of the lungs in tuberculosis.” However, the review only mentions pineapple juice once and does not state or suggest it is 500 times more effective for treating a cough than cough syrup.

Check Your Fact found no scientific studies to support the post’s claim. Both Healthline and Medical News Today published articles discussing whether pineapple juice is an effective cough treatment, yet neither article mentioned the claim made in the post.

“Though pineapple juice has been touted as an effective cough suppressant there is little to no evidence to support this claim,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in an email to Check Your Fact.

Dr. Isobel Contento, a professor of nutrition and education at Columbia University, agreed with Dr. Adalja. “There is no evidence pineapple juice is more effective than cough syrup in general and certainly no evidence that it is 500 times more effective.”

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to accurately quote the Facebook post and the review from Der Pharma Chemica. We regret the error. 

Kenia Mazariegos