The People's Perspective on Medicine

Will Tart Cherry Juice Really Soothe Gout Pain?

Eating tart cherries or drinking cherry juice can often soothe gout pain. Cherries reduce uric acid crystals that cause joint inflammation in gout.
Hand embracing foot with deformed right toe due to painful gout inflammation

People who have had one episode of gout are usually anxious to learn how they can avoid another attack. The pain is so intense that even the light touch of a sheet on the affected joint may be unbearable. Doctors often tell such sufferers to avoid beer and other alcohol, stick to low-fat dairy products and cut back on seafood and red meat. Beverages with high-fructose corn syrup cause trouble. Many people insist that drinking tart cherry juice can soothe gout pain.

Cherries to Soothe Gout Pain:

Q. I have never had gout, but I know people who have had it. I read that cherry juice could have a positive effect on gout. So when one friend had a bad case of gout, I bought him a bottle of cherry juice and a box of fresh cherries. He had relief very quickly and continued to drink cherry juice on a regular basis. He tells people I cured him of his gout.

I mentioned cherries to another woman who had gout. She told me when she was leaving the doctor’s office with a prescription, his nurse whispered to her, “Just get some cherry juice.”

A. Gout is a very painful disorder in which uric acid crystals accumulate in one or more joints, triggering an attack. Several observational studies have shown that people who eat cherries or take cherry extract are less likely to have a gout flare-up (Zhang et al, Arthritis and Rheumatism, Dec. 2012; Singh et al, Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, June 2015). As the scientists note, this is an association and could simply mean that people with less severe gout can rely on cherries instead of medicine.

How Does Tart Cherry Juice Soothe Gout Pain?

Research in humans and animals shows, however, that tart cherry juice can lower uric acid (Jacob et al, Journal of Nutrition, June 2003; Haldari et al, Malaysian Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 15, no. 1, 2009). Even sweet cherries seem to have anti-inflammatory effects (Kelley et al, Journal of Nutrition, March 2013).

You can learn more about gout and other non-drug approaches to common ailments in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Theoretically, I should be the last one to get gout. I am thin, 5’10”, 135 lbs., physically active and on a vegan diet. Never the less, I have had frequent gout attacks, even when on allopurinol, until a doctor suggested tart cherry juice. I have been gout free for the last two years.

Just got gout for first time, pain was out of this world. I delayed going to doctor for few days which was a big mistake. Got colcichine which knocked out the the intense pain in toe, but did nothing for swelling, prednisone fixed that like a charm.

It is crucial that you figure out for yourself what your triggers are, many of the usual suspects that doctors will cite are not your problem. For me I had a few vodka and cranberries one night, hadn’t had one in 15 years, and that was my trigger, the fruit juice probably more so than the vodka, but for me it is not beer or red meat.

Sorry, but the best (and expensive) pure squeezed tart cherry juice did nothing to relieve an onset of gout that I caught early. I drank 5qts over three days hoping to stop the attack but it kept getting worse. By day four I could barely walk; went to the Doc and am now taking the standard Dosepak of prednisone.

I’ve had increasing gout attacks since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few months ago, and have started taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with mother at breakfast and dinner. Seems to help some at keeping it at bay so far, obviously I am also trying to avoid food triggers as much as possible as well.

I’m a chronic gout sufferer and cherry juice has never done anything for me. I wish it did help. It would sure save on trips to the doctor when I get a particularly bad inflammation in my right knee and/or toes. But it doesn’t. The pain is so excruciating, it feels like my joints are getting slammed over and over with a baseball bat. Right now, I’m taking Prednisone and Indomethacin when that runs out and I’ll probably start back up on Allopurinol. Cherry-juice doesn’t hurt me. I like the taste of it. But I definitely require medicine prescribed by an actual doctor.

I read other sufferer’s responses on this sight. I have gout and was under one of my worst episodes yet. After 5 days of prednisone with little relief I went out and purchased 100% pure cherry juice, cherry pills, and celery seed pills (the former two were purchased at Sprouts) and had amazing results! I was able to walk so much better and felt instant overnight relief. My plan is to follow what others have written and take a maximum dose during this bout of gout and hopefully when it’s completely clear take a smaller dose. My plan is to rake two pills twice a day during the gout outbreak and then one once a day after. I’m taking it with 8 oz of 100% cherry juice. So far so good. One day in. I plan to ask my doctor if it’s okay to take the celery seed capsules since I have mildly elevated creatinine but not full fledged kidney disease.

Update. It had to be pure coincidence that after I started the tart cherry juice, tart cherry capsules, and celery seed capsules that I got better. I had been on prednisone for 3 days with little relief which was unusual. In desperation I searched this site and thought I found the solution when I woke up with relief from the pain after taking the 3 items for the first time. I have been religiously taking the three cherry/celery concoction and have developed gout twice more this same month, and I keep having to go back on prednisone. My doctor prescribed Uloric yesterday to prevent gout bc it can be taken at the same time as prednisone. I’m no longer going to take the tart cherry nor the celery seed because in the end it didn’t work.

How much Tart Cherry drink must
I take everyday to stop my gout pain ?

Do you think the cherry juice would ease knee pain?

There should be mention of importance. The distinction between treating acute gout and chronic gout sufferers. A chronic gout sufferer taking cherry juice will have the same outcome as a person without a headache saying aspirin cures their headache.

Does tart cherry juice relieve osteoarthritis in the knee. Will regular cherries in the produce section do the same. How much do i need daily?

I know what you are going through. I had GOUT in my big toe the first time about 35 years ago & just like you said I couldn’t put a sheet over it.
About 7 years ago the GOUT showed up again the same toe. I called my Doctor ( different Doctor ) right away and went to see him. When I gently took my sock off — he said “You got Gout in that toe” I told him I know — I had it before. I wanted him to prescribe some pain pills but he said–“I got something better”.

He wrote me a script for a drug called “COLCHICINE” I had never heard of before & a script for “ALLOPURINOL” which I taken before. I told him I wanted some pain pills and he said this works better. I had his nurse call the prescriptions in. When I picked them up at the DRIVE-UP window I pulled over along the side of the building and took one of the “COLCHINE”– I had a 20 minute drive home and when I parked in the driveway and was getting out I noticed that my toe wasn’t hurting as bad. I took another and after about 4 pills my pain was gone. I took the ALLOPURINOL and still take to this day. That was in 2010 and since then I never had a reocurance of the GOUT again– Thank God

Interesting article, because I had a gout attack two weeks ago and it was my first one. My right toe looked just like this picture. I was a poster child for healthy eating, or so I thought. It turns out the turkey sandwich I had (gave up red meat two years ago) contributed to a high uric acid level.

Also, the Amy’s Organic Soups (low sodium to keep a good blood pressure reading) were either lentil, split pea, lentil/vegetable with spinach – all contributors to causing gout. Even the fact that after the American Dairy Association said it was A-OK to go from skim milk and low-fat dairy products to higher fat products, so I switched over after years of tolerating skim milk and fat-free cottage cheese … this was bad because lowfat or skim is recommended for gout sufferers.

I have added two tablespoons of cherry extract per day, drinking 12-15 eight-ounce glasses of water, no more turkey or tuna (also bad) and no more of those soups – two weeks later, just very mild swelling and no pain. I walked 800 miles last year and intend to try to do the same in 2017!

I got rid of gout with my diet 20 years ago avoiding the wrong proteins in foods such as red meat.

I had terrible pain in my elbow joint. The doctor gave me a cortisone shot, it didn’t help. Ibuprophen didn’t make a dent in the pain. The elbow was X-rayed (because I bumped it so many times in the past, I thought it might be fractured). The X-ray came back normal…no breaks or fractures.

I went on your site and typed in elbow joint pain, swelling, red and low and behold it came up GOUT. I read the article and started taking the cherry juice… within a day of drinking it, my pain subsided. I’m on my third day and NO MORE PAIN! Thank you for the tip. I’ll be sure to tell my doctor of this discovery.

I also have suffered from several moderate to severe instances of gout over 10-15 years. After the initial diagnosis, and after taking some prescription medication, I learned about cherry extract.

For me, tart cherry extract in juice form has been the most successful, and it is readily available at my health foods/supplement store and online. One to two tablespoons each morning mixed into my favorite juice has helped me minimize significant recurrences.

Tart cherry extract also seems to have helped speed recovery in those few times when an attack has begun. So, at least for me, I can say there is both a preventive and a curative benefit, and it avoids taking drugs with their attendant side-effects…a win-win, eh?

I have had gout a couple of times and since my parents too had suffered from gout I took my mom’s advice and drank the cherry juice. It works!!! That was years ago and if ever I have an inkling of the possibility of another attack I start drinking cherry juice.

Probably the number 1 cause of gout is dehydration followed by red wine which leads to dehydration being that it is a diuretic . In Asia one of the major causes is the skin on barbecued chicken. Several reasons for this the toxins accumulate in the skin and the method of cooking at high heat over charcoal produces very toxic compounds ! First thing I was asked when I went to a hospital, “do you hydrate enough and do you eat barbecued chicken from street vendors”.

Every day I eat a small handful of Dried Tart Cherries, which I purchase either from Sam’s Club or Costco.. If, I feel a bout or an attack of Gout coming on, I double up on the dried tart cherries, and it soon subsides within hours…
Even when I have my serum uric acid level checked at the doctors office, I’ve even seen where my uric acid level is within normal range…
That’s all I can say, is 3 cheers for tart cherries…

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