Many people are reluctant to rely on over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen every day, and for good reason. Such drugs can take a toll on the digestive tract and even cause a bleeding ulcer. In addition, they may raise blood pressure and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
It is little wonder that our readers are interested in other ways to manage arthritis pain. One remedy that is quite popular is cherry juice.
Cherry Juice Testimonial:
Q. My husband and I take black cherry juice concentrate for arthritis aches and pains. I buy it at the local health food store. We take a teaspoon a day, like cough syrup.
My finger joints are no longer swollen and painful. On those rare days where I still have some discomfort, I just take another dose.
A. Tart cherries, sour cherries and black cherries have all been used to combat inflammation associated with arthritis or gout. Animal studies have shown that the red compounds in cherries (anthocyanins) have anti-inflammatory activity (Behavioural Brain Research, Aug. 12, 2004; Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, Sept.-Oct. 2006).
Cherries Reduce Inflammation:
A small study found that the benefits are not limited to rodents. People eating Bing sweet cherries (280 grams a day, about 10 ounces) for a month had significantly lower levels of inflammatory chemicals in their blood (Journal of Nutrition, April, 2006). These compounds have been linked to chronic disease, so it is possible that people who regularly consume cherries or cherry juice might be less prone to such problems (Journal of Nutrition, March, 2013). Another study has demonstrated that eating Bing sweet cherries lowers the level of uric acid, a risk factor for gout, among healthy women (Journal of Nutrition, June, 2003). More recently, researchers compared tart cherry juice to placebo juice for 6 weeks (Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, Aug., 2013). The study participants all had osteoarthritis affecting their knees. The cherry juice was associated with reduced inflammation and relief of knee pain, but it was not significantly better than placebo.
Cherry juice concentrate is more affordable than fresh cherries or juice. It can be added to seltzer water or made into a tea. There are also concentrated cherry capsules or cherry supplement bars.
Revised January 14, 2016