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Tart Cherry Juice Soothed Pain in Big Toe

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Q. I am in my early 60s but I've been hobbling around like an old man after a couple of bad bouts with gout. I have been on a prescription to treat that along with various other meds for high cholesterol and blood pressure. I'm sure they all contribute to my aches and pains.

Several months ago I felt my gout flaring up in my big toe. Instead of getting a new drug to treat this, I went online and read that drinking concentrated tart cherry juice every day can knock gout pain out almost overnight.

I had a hard time finding concentrated tart cherry juice but finally found a bottle at a health food store. It made me cringe to pay $17 per bottle but I took two tablespoons of the stuff before going to bed. The next morning I woke up with no pain in my big toe. A couple of days later, I realized that the very creaky and painful bones in my feet, ankles, knees and hips were not hurting and I was no longer hobbling when I walked.

Several months later, I am still almost pain-free. It is so good to be able to walk normally again.

A. Thanks for sharing your story. Eating tart cherries, drinking juice or taking cherry extract seem to reduce the likelihood of a gout attack by around 35 percent (Arthritis and Rheumatism, Dec. 2012).

You may know that staying away from alcoholic beverages and purine-rich foods such as anchovies, sardines, mussels or liver can also help lower your risk of a gout attack (Evidence-Based Medicine, online Feb. 16, 2013). We have more details on cherries and other home remedies for joint pain in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis

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Tart cherry juice also made my plantar fasciitis pain go away.

Over 30 years ago I was told of the benefits of cherry juice for kidney problems. A customer (I had a shoe repair shop) told me how her husband who had kidney problems sometimes was on vacation in Mexico and had a flare up. He went to a local doctor who told him not to take the drugs, but to drink fresh cherry juice. She said it worked and had worked ever since and so I tried it (I was exposed to solvents which can damage the kidneys) and it certainly worked for me.

I read about cherry juice for the knees on People's Pharmacy and told my neighbor who has reported good benefits from it also.
What I'm writing about now is 'which cherry juice'.

My neighbor often goes to Trader Joe's and I've always liked their cherry juice so I asked him to pick up two bottles for me. The bottles had a different shape but it was still pure juice which is what I wanted. The color was lighter and the taste was different...not quite like any cherries I'd ever eaten. So I read the label and it said Product of Georgia. OK, well, when I think of Georgia I usually think of peaches but maybe....then I thought about where cherries in the US come from, and it's from the northern states...takes chilling (like some apples) to produce good fruit.

So I went online and it seems the "Georgia" is not a state in the US but a country on the Black Sea, once part of the Soviet Union. They do produce a sizeable cherry crop for both bottles juices and concentrates and they're not the same cherries grown in the US, so I don't know if this imported juice will have the same health benefits.

"Brix" is a measurement of sucrosity (I think that's the word) in an aqueous solution. I know when I worked for a honey company all the honey had to be tested.

In reading a couple of the websites on various companies in Georgia that sell cherry juice (and others) they show the Brix for the juices. The label on the TJ's bottle says: "Filtered water (sufficient to reconstitute, cherry juice concentrate)"

Which means if they're reconstituting to a set Brix level, then the juice could have more water added than was in the original juice.

In the past I've bought RW Knudsen Cherry Juice (but I don't go to Whole Foods, so have relied on my friend's trips to TJ's) and I'm going to find a place that sells the Knudsen juices and cherry juice concentrate... I know they sell it on Amazon but I'm sure there's some health food store locally that will have it.
I know it will be more expensive (as the original poster wrote) but it'll be less expensive than poor health.

I'm not opposed to imported juices but since I don't know all the constituants of the Georgia cherry juice, I don't want to risk using a substitute for health purposes. For those who do buy specific juices for health purposes or are just concerned about what they put in their bodies, I'd suggest reading labels more carefully when making a choice.

I'm going to do a little research on the Georgia cherry juice and see if they have a history of using it for health purposes.

Black cherry concentrate mixed with water is my cure all for the gout. I have been using it for over 10 years with the first sign if toe pain (mainly big toe).

I get a product from Swanson Vitamins called HiActives Tart Cherry.
From the label: Tart Cherry Powder from fresh cherries. VERY reasonable price.

Please notify me when other gout-related comments are posted. Thank you.

My grandfather was a cherry farmer in the Traverse City area of Northern Michigan. This part of Michigan grows over 50% of all of the tart cherries in the U.S.. I still remember playing in his cherry orchards with my cousins during our summer vacations. I also remember him telling me how eating the a several handfuls of tart cherries daily and drinking a glass of cherry juice helped with his arthritis pain.

Since having a cherry farmer in my family I have always been interested in the benefits of cherries for arthritis and joint pain. I still have two uncles who are farmers but they grow grapes. But the type of cherry that has had most of the studies conducted on it is the Michigan grown Montmorency type of the cherries. The other types of cherries, especially the imported cherries are balaton or morello cherries. They don't have as much of the melatonin, anthocyanins or overall antioxidants as the Montmorency tart cherries do.

Also, with the state of the US economy, why not support American farmers and overseas farmers and buy the Montmorency tart cherry juice. Many of the big box stores sell products from Turkey, Poland or Georgia, as mentioned above. We still vacation in Northern Michigan every summer and once during Easter break. Check out Traverse Bay Farms and help American farmers by purchasing directly from Michigan cherry companies.

You MUST say how much Tart Cherry to drink each day for Arthritis! I read all the articles but cant find how much one is supposed to drink and the stuff is EXPENSIVE. Trader Joe's is the only place I can find Tart Cheery and they charge $4.99 for a VERY small bottle. I have been drinking half a glass a day but I go thru it too rapidly. The bottles are very small also--so the Tart Cherry winds up being prohibitively expensive.
Help!!!!!
Bob Hobbs

I find a quart-size jar of tart cherry juice, regular strength (not concentrate), in the organic section of my area's largest grocery store chain, and it is very reasonably priced.

You need to experiment to find out how much is right for you. I took about one fourth to one third of a cup, once or twice a day, to keep plantar fasciitis pain at bay. I soaked chia seeds in it so I could get all their benefit at the same time. And perhaps the fiber from the chia seeds helps moderate the natural sugar in the cherry juice.

To use the chia seeds, put a scant half cup of chia seeds in a pint jar, add cherry juice to nearly full, and stir occasionally for 5 or 10 minutes until the seeds are suspended. Then store in the refrigerator. Eat a spoonful to a half cup or more at a time -- they're very nutritious, and a great fiber supplement. And no, you don't have to chew the little seeds up completely.

I get my tart cherry juice from concentrate at Walmart. The cost is around $6.

I have been using Tart Cherry Juice and it has helped my knee pain. Kroger sells the Juice for around $6.00 sometimes on sale for $4.49 when that happens I stock up!

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