Answer:

Tart cherry juice (which is also sold as a liquid concentrate, extract, and in pills) is promoted for many uses. These include reducing joint and muscle pain, improving sleep, reducing high blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, preventing gout, enhancing cognition, and improving overall health and vitality. However, the evidence behind these applications is mixed and, at best, the benefits are modest, as explained in our full answer >>   

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15 Comments

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Monroe8698
May 11, 2016

I have been taking TheraCherry for about 4 months and the sharp jabbing pain in my left knee when I walk down a flight a stairs has completely disappeared. Thiis happened in 1-2 weeks. I take 3 capsules a day instead of the 2 recommended on the bottle. I never tried 2 since I wanted help as soon as possible. Perhaps 2 capsules a day would also work.

raimo6894
August 2, 2015

I have used tart cherry for gout pain for over 20 years and for me it works very well! But it works only by dissolving uric acid gristals in joints and so takes away that painfull "fine sand" causing the pain! Nowadays I use JOINT FORMULA in Australia;health food stores ,ca.$30 per litre.And I cannot find any evidence that it works on any type of artritis or other pains:only in gout pain by dissolving uric acid gristal from joints! That is why there is no scientific evidence for anything else!

Jocelyn6872
July 20, 2015

For several years I have taken tart cherry extract capsules for my osteoarthritis. I also take other OTC remedies including turmeric, glucosamine and chondroitin and find that they help me considerably with my joint pain. If I stop taking any one of them, I start feeling more achy after a few weeks. My question is with the tart cherry. I just ordered some from Vitacost (Vitacost brand) and they came with a warning label saying "Warning: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm." There was no notice of this on the Vitacost website so I found it pretty disturbing. Do tart cherry extracts in general contain this (unknown) cancer or birth defect causing chemical or is it just this particular one? I wish you would test the capsules for such chemicals and also for their content of anthocyanin which don't seem to be listed on the labels unless anthocyanin are the same as flavonoids.

ConsumerLab.com
July 21, 2015

Hi Jocelyn - More information about the State of California warning can be found here: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/cancer_warning_on_labels/

Fabio11531
December 31, 2016

I think the label referred to pesticides . Cherries absorb more of those pesticides than others fruits do . It really penetrate the fruit skin.

ConsumerLab.com
January 2, 2017

Hi Fabio - The State of California warning does not require that businesses say exactly which compound is the reason for the warning: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/cancer_warning_on_labels/

Dorothy17862
May 22, 2019

Please know that I am not disparaging at all the State of California's warnings of this sort, but I do notice that it appears on almost everything and it is very disconcerting because it never says WHY or WHAT and whenever I have used the link to try and discern the why or what, it is a lost cause for finding that information. So, I sympathize with your concern. The State of California "warns" us about everything, all the time but they won't tell us why!

Michigan orchardists, where most Montmorency cherries are grown, are noble growers, in my opinion. They battle weather attacks on the cherry orchards, pests, people and all manner of challenges, and the labor is intense to yield those magnificent cherries. They are especially delicious when frozen and in the summertime, pop some into the mouth for a delicious, cold treat - and a treat that has health benefits, too.

paula5794
June 15, 2015

What I am hearing is that the fruit, tart cherries is the best way to reduce inflammation when it comes to helping osteoarthritis as opposed to tart cherry juice. I am wondering why the big difference. is it because the juice is a concentrate or watered down. Also i tried tart cheery juice and it has a high sugar concentration.
If tart cherries is the way to go i will try them. but the question is where to purchase them and the only place i can think of are organic markets, I hope

ConsumerLab.com
June 17, 2015

Hi Paula - Most of the research appears to be on tart cherry juice and concentrate, rather than the fresh fruit. However, as you point out, the juice and concentrate do contain sugar, similar to amounts found in some other fruit juices -- we've added information about this to the answer above.

Fresh tart cherries can sometimes be difficult to find in stores, but canned and frozen tart cherries are often available.

Harise8693
May 11, 2016

I have seen dried tart cherries in the dried fruit section of the grocery. not all stores but some, and these were regular stores. probably an organic store would carry them too.

LALITA15939
October 23, 2017

Try Walmart.com
or Publix stores in florida
They have the organic tart cherry juice

Robert17569
February 24, 2019

Cosco carries organic, dried, tart cherries. Least expensive store anywhere!

Joan17866
May 22, 2019

I have bought them frozen and pitted from a local orchard. I keep them in the freezer and use with oatmeal, smoothies etc

jOYCE5792
June 14, 2015

I've heard Tart Cherry Juice reduces cholesterol. Is there any truth to that?

ConsumerLab.com
June 15, 2015

Hi Joyce - Thank you for your question. The study mentioned in the answer above which found tart cherry juice to lower levels of uric acid and triglycerides (Martin, FASEB 2011) also reported a significant reduction in "bad" VLDL cholesterol. We've now added this information to the answer.

Stephen8696
May 11, 2016

How much Cherry Juice should you consume to reduce cholesterol?

ConsumerLab.com
May 13, 2016

Hi Stephen - In the study noted above which found a reduction in very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), 8 ounces of tart cherry juice was consumed daily for four weeks.

Dennis5786
June 14, 2015

By sheer accident, about 3 years ago, I drank a half-bottle of FERMENTED (Chere brand) tart-cherry juice-- usually mixed with apple juice to "kill the taste," and found my diabetic BS-readings DRAMATICALLY DROP from the low-200s to the 80s for about a 2.5-week period!! I even had to reduce my Gliptizide intake down to 1/3-dose!!!
That was NATURAL fermentation in the icebox... over a perhaps 3-month period, but my subsequent attempts with yeast-based techniques have not yet matched that initial success. Maybe my experiments would proceed at a quicker pace if I actually had any kind of taste for c-juice....

Marianna8695
May 11, 2016

Hmm, interesting, I've been experimenting with Kiefer, I bought some Keifer granules online and have been adding it to coconut water, to make coconut water Keifer. I wonder if you could make coconut water cherry juice Keifer? This might help counteract excess sugar in the cherry juice concentrate. This actually sounds like it might be tastier than the plain coconut water Kiefer.

Ann16617
March 21, 2018

Do you mean “kefir”?

Mark and Connie17868
May 22, 2019

Try pure undiluted black cherry juice. I only drink about 4oz per am daily for gout. If I forget to take it for several days I start aching all over. It only takes about three to four days to start feeling relief again.
Love the flavor slightly sweet, has to be cold.
Hubby does not like the flavor and uses tart cherry pills as does another in family. After reading article I am going to increase dosage to three times a day and see if it lowers my cholesterol.

William5783
June 14, 2015

I have found a small amount of sour cherry syrup concentrate mixed in water - two teaspoons to eight ounces once a week - counter what I perceived to be symptoms of incipient gout in both my large toes. If I go without for three weeks, the pain starts again.

William20799
August 26, 2020

I began getting very specific symptoms of gout about three years ago. I consulted Dr. Weil's webpages and he mentioned sour cherry as possibly helpful. I have been taking sour cherry syrup (from Slovenia, sold here) since then and have had no recurrence of symptoms. I take a tablespoon in a glass of water once a week.

Jeffrey18826
January 8, 2020

The placebo effect is strong in this gout-ridden Jedi. Despite research to the contrary, my body and mind are thoroughly convinced that tart cherry juice has reduced the discomfort I experience with gout. However, research has shown that the placebo effect can be a powerful remedy for what ails you.

DEANE18575
October 28, 2019

After seeing an orthopedic surgeon and a pain management MD for rather severe sciatic pain.....for which I eventually ended up getting a spinal injection which eventually wore off after two months....I started drinking about a cup of Knudsen’s Tart Cherry juice and found immediate 100% relief from sciatic pain.
I did couple the juice with some simple PT exercises the doctors had had me receive from a physical therapist. The exercises were only partially effective. It was not until I added the tart cherry juice that a difference was made.
Another good brand is Smart Choice Orgqnic Tart Cherry Juice.
I think it is the two things in tandem that are effective. Juice plus exercises. One without th other is not effective.

Mark18139
July 15, 2019

Not sure what more needs to be said regarding the consumption of PROPER Tart Cherry Juice concentrates. I've been consuming this stuff for 17 years. For me, it's almost impossible (for me) to get along without it. Gout is gone. Joint pain and especially the chronic tendinitis in both my elbow's...gone. I've stopped using it several times for various reasons over the years. Each time I'm reminded of the importance of continuing with the consistent consumption of the stuff. Without it, it's a life with annoying, unnecessary pain. This is a statement of fact for me, my body. Doctors have no idea how to prevent disease. Every one I visited for help, told me Cherry Juice was a waste of time. As it turns out...the AMA and doctors were a waste of time and significant money for me, in my opinion. This stuff is a God send.

DEANE18580
October 28, 2019

I agree with your comments on Tart Cherry juice and your thoughts about doctors.
However, I will say that the pain management specialist I was seeing when I WAS suffering from sciatic pain (see my post above), was a young women in her early forties and she was very, very interested in how the tart cherry juice had helped me.
She wanted to know everything: brand, amount taken, how often, etc.
She was very open to whatever helps alleviate pain.
Some doctors say the cherry juice is a placebo. I say, so what if it is.....it works and works better than the pharmaceuticals they were prescribing. AND, doesn't wreak havoc on my liver and stomach.

Gayle18135
July 14, 2019

I have taken the Tart cherry juice for a total of 3 years. I had very bad seasonal allergies and even tried to stop the juice after 6 months. Finally after 3 years, I stopped the juice and now no seasonal allergies and no animal allergies as before. Was it the juice or aging. I am 67 yr old.

David 17867
May 22, 2019

At 5'10'' and 135 lbs and on a vegan diet, I am not the typical gout victim. However, I was suffering from bouts of gout even while on allopurinol. I started drinking two tablespoons (diluted in a glass of water) daily of Cherry Bay Orchards Tart Cherry concentrate about two years ago and have been gout free and stopped taking the allopurinol.
I neglected to mention in my previous post, that it was a rheumatologist who suggested the cherry juice.

Lori17865
May 22, 2019

I used to have periods when sharp pains in my knee would wake me up in the middle of the night while sleeping. During the day I would feel no pain but I felt as if something was cushioning my knee. I was never diagnosed. Going on the assumption that it might be gout I tried tart cherry juice. The evenings that I drank a 1/2 or a full glass of cherry juice would prevent the pain from occurring and stop the strange feeling during the day. I used the cherry juice off and on as I experienced periods of this pain. It was pretty obvious to me that the cherry juice helped because several times cherry juice was not available to me for days and the pain continued for days but every time I drank the juice the pain would be fully relieved within 2-3 hours. Too many times to be a coincidence.

Merle11350
October 19, 2016

I've been taking Stanton Orchard's Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate for almost a year. It's available at Whole Foods Mkt for @$26/quart bottle, as well as on line. It's made from 25 lbs. of Montmorency cherries; the serving size, which is also the therapeutic dose, is 2 T, although they list casual ways to use 1 T. at a time.

It was recommended to me by a friend who experienced noticeably less pain in an arthritic big toe whenever she ate regular cherries. She picked this up, and found it gave her the same relief as the cherries did, and allowed her to better tolerate the wait between cortisone shots. While I said I'd try it, I was really skeptical about it working for pain that I have. I just tried it to humor her.

I have irritated nerves from spinal stenosis, and these cherries are purported to have anti-inflammatory properties. I can't take NSAIDs, because they cause a flare-up of diverticulitis. I began putting 1 tablespoon of this concentrate into @8 ounces of Metamusil ev. 36 hours or so, because I was concerned about the amount of sugar in the syrup: 19 grams in a 2 T./ 30 ml dose. Their website (stantonorchards.com) says not to expect results for about three months. However, after about six months, not noticing anything different, I cut my usage back to 1 T. every other day, and was soon shocked to suddenly experience a very noticeable burning sensation along an irritated nerve pathway. That happened whenever I missed a dose, or was off by more than half/day. The burning subsided after I took the missed dose.

So, I must say, I went from being a total skeptic to a firm believer, and am now going to try taking the full 2 T/day dose, as well as try switching from morning to evening, in case I can also get a sleep benefit from the melatonin in the cherries.

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