A substantial amount of scientific evidence exists, supporting the benefits of cherry juice in the treatment of arthritis. Cherries have been known to possess anti-inflammatory benefits, thus, popularizing their usage for reducing joint pains and inflammation related to gout and arthritis.
Emerging as a super fruit, after remaining in the shadow of other fruits for years, cherry juice from tart, black and sour cherries has now become a natural treatment for reducing both arthritic pain and post-exercise muscle pain and soreness. Medical studies have shown that, just by eating cherries, people can experience a significant boost in their health, besides helping arthritic patients in avoiding the side effects related to traditional arthritis medications for mitigating joint pains.
Fresh cherries have been shown to provide the maximum benefits for an overall health improvement. However, concentrated cherry juice, containing the highest amount of oxygen radical absorbance capacity i.e. 12,800 ORAC, is known to have a higher potential for alleviating the symptoms associated with arthritis and gout.
Benefits of Cherries in Treating Arthritis
Cherries, a part of America’s history, are usually homegrown and has remained the mass’s favorite for its unique flavor and its health benefits, thus becoming a major part of today’s new food and beverage trends. Following are the properties that make cherries beneficial in reducing the symptoms of arthritis.
Presence of Anti-Inflammatory Agents and Antioxidants
Known for their anti-inflammatory action, cherries are packed with powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients called anthocyanins. Besides acting as pigments, that impart a bright red color to cherries, anthocynains are bioflavonoids that inhibit the expression of cyclooxygenase (COX-1 and COX-2) enzymes. COX enzymes are involved in the synthesis of prostaglandins responsible for causing inflammation in arthritic patients.
These compounds further aid in mitigating the joint pains associated with arthritis by blocking pain signals from the brain. Although, there are about 300 types of anthocyanins found in fruits, the particular type specifically found in cherries is very unique, known for its extraordinary ability for fighting inflammation of joints. Moreover, anthocyanins have been found to be far more effective than the antioxidants present in vitamin C and vitamin E, in helping the body scavenge free radicals responsible for the buildup of toxins in the joints.
They have a remarkable pain-inhibiting strength that is considered to be equivalent to the effect of some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID’s) like aspirin and ibuprofen. In fact, laboratory tests at Michigan State University have found that tart cherry compounds are at least 10 times more effective than aspirin in reducing joint pains and inflammation, without causing any of aspirin’s side effects.
Queritrin and Isoqueritrin
Another set of flavanoids that function as anti-oxidants in cherries are queritrin and isoqueritrin. These compounds seek out and destroy free radicals , the harmful molecules that circulate within the body and also help in eliminating the byproducts of stress, thereby detoxifying the body and preventing inflammation in the joints.
Queritrin also shows an anti-inflammatory effect, similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, by inhibiting the immune system’s production of inflammation-causing leukotrienes and histamine.
Inhibition of Uric Acid
Abnormally high levels of uric acid in the blood, leads to the accumulation of needle like crystals of a salt called monosodium urate (MSU), which in time, gets deposited in the joints, leading to inflammation and pain in the joints. This can lead to an excruciatingly painful condition called gout, a type of arthritis more common in men over the age of 40.
Tart and black cherries, containing a wealth of anti-oxidants, have been found very effective in dissolving and controlling the accumulations of uric acid crystals in the blood, thereby, relieving the symptoms associated with gout. This has been supported by a study published in “The Journal of Nutrition” in 2003 that proved that the consumption of cherries in 10 women suffering from gout lowered the levels of uric acid in the bloodstream, thereby reducing joint pains. Tart juice is also known for its ability to repair damage in the cartilage and collagen fibers of the joint area.
Cherries have also been shown in effectively reducing the levels of nitric oxide, a compound associated with the incidence of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Availability and Recommended Dosage
Popularly termed as the “Cherry Capital of the World”, Michigan exports the highest amount of cherries every year. Cherries which are supercharged by natural anti-inflammatory agents, are available all throughout the year either as dried, frozen or as a concentrated juice. Drinking just one ounce or two tablespoons of tart concentrated cherry juice every morning has been found to alleviate arthritis pain.
However, you can consume 4 to 8 ounces of cherry juice or have two tablespoons of cherry juice concentrate mixed in water to enjoy a delicious soda, for reducing joint pains associated with arthritis. Tart cherry capsules or cherry powders are also available in health stores that can be mixed with water or juice. You can also experiment by using fresh cherries or concentrated cherry juice with your favorite fresh fruits or juices to make delicious smoothies. Drinking black cherry juice can help alleviate muscle soreness in athletes, resulting from a strenuous workout.
The effectiveness of cherry juice may vary with each individual, taking about a few days to a few months for getting the desired results. Hence, compared to anti- inflammatory pills, taking fresh cherry juice can help to rejuvenate the body and can also serve as a long-term solution for reducing arthritic joint pain.
One does not have to be worried about exceeding the recommended dosage because natural juices can act as both, preventive medicine and as well as a cure for affected joints, without causing any serious side effects. However, you should consider discussing the role of black cherries in treating your arthritic pains, with your doctor, before you start consuming them on a regular basis.
Hence, consumption of cherry juice can serve as a tasty way to treat arthritis and also for adapting a healthier lifestyle, since they are full of other essential nutrients like vitamins A, B, C and folic acid, as well as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc, that aid in an overall health improvement.