Q. I have suffered from arthritis in my right hip for several years. By last fall it got so bad I could hardly walk. Over the years, I tried all of the supplements for joint health advertised on TV. I have also had two expensive injections into my hip that gave me relief for only a few days. Nothing was helping.
I was unable to exercise and was having a very difficult time doing my job. My X-rays looked horrible and the surgeon who will do my hip replacement wondered how I was even walking.
I don’t remember when I heard about cherries, but I started eating Bing cherries in the spring. I also started drinking tart cherry juice concentrate mixed in water. I finally got some real relief!
It has been a very effective anti-inflammatory for me. I can climb stairs, exercise, mow the grass, and work without a lot of pain. These are things I have not been able to do for a few years. I will still go in for hip surgery next summer, but until then, tart cherry juice is the best!
A. Tart cherries contain anthocyanin compounds that inhibit enzymes called COX-1 and COX-2 (Phytomedicine, Sept., 2001). These enzymes are targeted by anti-inflammatory drugs like Celebrex, diclofenac or ibuprofen, so it is not surprising that cherry juice appears to alleviate pain (Behavioural Brain Research, Aug. 12, 2004). We discuss many other natural remedies for joint pain in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.