black cherry, gout pain

Gout is a chronic condition that seems to get very little respect. Once upon a time, it was considered a rich man’s disease (although poor people and women are also vulnerable to the excruciating pain gout can cause). That is probably because a diet high in purines from meat, shellfish and beer can trigger attacks (New England Journal of Medicine, March 11, 2004). So can many fruit juices and sugar-sweetened beverages (JAMA, Nov. 24, 2010). On the other hand, cherries for gout actually have been studied and found helpful.

Tart Cherries for Gout Pain:

Q. I have been battling gout for the past five weeks and was on indomethacin, ibuprofen and a low purine diet. The attacks kept moving around from joint to joint, and the ordeal has been extremely painful.

I heard that tart cherries might help, so I bought tart cherry juice and a big bottle of tart cherry concentrate from the health food store.

The pain is 80 percent gone in just 48 hours! I drank 24 to 32 ounces of the juice each day and supplemented it with 2 to 4 tablespoons of tart cherry concentrate mixed with water. This is amazing, especially since I have stopped taking the medication.

The Science of Tart Cherries:

A. Readers have been telling us for years that tart cherries help ease their gout attacks. The first study on cherries for gout appeared in the medical literature in 1950 (Texas Reports on Biology and Medicine).

Although many doctors have been skeptical about the benefits of cherries, a new year-long study of 633 volunteers with gout shows that flare-ups are 35 percent less likely when a person eats cherries (Arthritis & Rheumatism, Dec., 2012). Cherries in combination with the uric-acid-lowering drug allopurinol reduced the likelihood of an attack by 75 percent. Some doctors are considering the possibility that cherries could be used as a complementary medicine for gout (Evidence-Based Medicine, Dec., 2013).

For more information about the benefits of cherries for controlling inflammation in gout and arthritis, along with other foods that can ease joint pain, we offer our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

This comment comes from Sharon M (Oct. 30, 2012):

“I am so thankful to you! Your articles have taught me so much and have literally changed my life for the better! Pycnogenol for hot flashes and asthma is working beautifully and tart cherry for arthritis pain is amazing! I am making notes in your book I ordered from you of new things I am learning. It is an invaluable tool in natural healing. I wish you both the best and may God bless you richly! Love, Sharon M., reader and fan.”

We are so grateful to Sharon and the thousands of other people who continue to support our work on the radio, in print and on this website.

Joe & Terry

Revised 4/11/2016

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  1. Steve

    Gout is not caused by Calcium crystals! Gout is caused by Uric Acid Crystals! Pseudo Gout and Calcific Tendinitis are caused by Calcium Crystals!

  2. Virginia
    Lula, GA

    The person who drank 24oz daily of tart cherry juice- wasn’t this a lot of extra calories?

  3. Melanie
    Northern California

    Several years ago I developed gout, usually in my great toe at 2 AM ! My physician prescribed allopurinal (sp) which caused my kidneys to feel like they were on fire. i stopped eating shell fish, organ meats, legumes, etc. yet intermittent gout flare ups continued. I’d read about sour cherry juice & tried it with little success., plus it was hard to find. Then I read an article in a seniors newletter recommending pineapple juice: success!
    Thinking it might have been a coincidence I conducted my own trial. Every day for a week I ate one or more of the forbidden foods, and every evening I drank a glass of pineapple juice – NO GOUT !!
    It’s been 4 years. As soon as I get that tingly itchy feeling in a joint I open a can of pineapple juice

  4. Melna

    Will tart cherry juice or supplement help with the arthritis in my back? I have high blood pressure so can’t take Ibuprofin.
    People’s Pharmacy response: Different people respond to different remedies, but this is worth a try.

  5. Fred K

    I have had one kidney stone removed (first one in 74 years) and still have a 7.5 mm one in the kidney.My urologist said I had high calcium and uric acid in my urine. I needed to stop eating red meat and remove salt from my diet. He prescribed Allopurinol (300mg) but had a horrible reaction to it and thus have stopped it. My wife related that she had seen something indicating cherry juice would reduce the uric acid. If so, how much and how often?

  6. Carolyn

    Sorry. I just read that you don’t know about pseudo gout. It might be worth a try.

  7. Caro

    I am wondering if the cherries will help pseudo gout. I know that it is caused by a buildup of calcium crystals, but have the same symptoms. I can no longer take NSAIDs and Tylenol does little to help.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: This doesn’t seem to have been studied,but it is worth a try.

  8. HOMER S.

    The tart cherry juice has worked for me. I have been taking a little each morning since 2009, and have had no problems at all. I am 81 years old and found out about it from a friend who has an awful time with gout.
    I have found a good supply of it on the internet at I expect to keep it up as long as I last.
    HOMER S.

  9. Anne

    Is cherry juice effective against pseudogout, too?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We don’t know. If you try it, please let us know if it helps.

  10. HJL

    Cherries probably help. Drinking lots of water and eating lots of fiber to avoid constipation also help. However, as disclosed by Taubes in an unpublished chapter, cutting sugar and carbs will really help. This research ended with allopurinol, but it is still valid. It is counter intuitive,
    but it works. Note: you will also lose weight which in the short run may precipitate an attack since purines are sequestered in fat which is released when you lose weight and burn stored fat. Stick with it and it works.

  11. Les

    My gout attacks never lasted more than two weeks. Yours lasted five. The fact that it subsided might be attributed to that time span. The attack possibly ran it’s course. I still drink cherry juice.

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