I’m not crazy about taking any kind of pill, and on top of that, I react adversely to anti-inflammatory drugs.
I figured there had to be some natural alternative out there, so I started searching. Turns out there is.
Black cherry juice not only contains high levels of antioxidants that naturally help inhibit tissue damage, they also contain compounds called anthocyanins that have been found to block enzymes involved in producing compounds that cause inflammation. Some anthocyanins may be more powerful than aspirin when it comes to fighting inflammation.
A recent study by the US Agricultural Research Service found that cherries may reduce inflammation and improve arthritis symptoms, increase pain tolerance levels and lack of mobility, and reduce levels of compounds in the blood that indicate inflammation.
Indications from other research also indicate that cherry juice can help reduce pain and help negate muscle damage from vigorous exercise.
Considering that the Centers for Disease Control estimate that nearly 21 million Americans suffer from some degree of arthritis and others that experience pain from inflammation, that’s good news.
And while there’s not a definite standard for how much is enough, most of the studies that observed decreased inflammation or reduced pain involved two to three glasses of black cherry or tart cherry juice (10 oz-12 oz) per day for ten days to two weeks.
I’ve tried it. So does it work? I think it does. But with many things like this, it’s hard to know whether a certain pain disappeared naturally or whether the treatment helped. Plus, there’s the added difficulty of wanting it to work. That can distort your perspective. But the way I figure it, what’s to lose, especially if the scientific evidence looks positive?
I get black cherry juice from the local Trader Joe’s. It’s great because it’s 100% cherry juice. Often juices in the grocery store aisles have more apple juice for sweet flavor in them than the fruit that’s shown on the label. And unlike a lot of the 100% juices, the black cherry tastes pretty good.
So even if it’s not the definitive cure, I like parading around with one of those big burgundy-style wine glasses full of cherry juice every night.
I also discovered that the supplements store nearby carries a black cherry juice in a concentrated form. I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t vouch for it.