The news that tart cherry juices may ease arthritis pain will come as a pleasant surprise to many. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that well over 50 million people in America have some form of arthritis. This arthritis can range from small, fairly innocuous aches and pains to profoundly significant pain and disfiguration as well as loss of range of motion and functionality. Many spend much of their lives pursing remedies both natural and pharmaceutical to ease the pain.
With the natural food craze in full bloom many people are looking for healthy alternatives to standard pharmacologically based therapy. The standard medical response to arthritis has been to treat it with anti-inflammatory drugs. These however have been known to have sometimes problematic side-effects including kidney failure, gastric-bleeding and heart failure.
Sufferers do not have to look past the local grocery store to find what many are calling a viable alternative. While the symptomatology associated with arthritis is typified by inflammation and attendant pain in the joints of the body, studies demonstrate that tart cherry juice, rich in antioxidant-rich chemicals and anti-inflammatory capacity, is in fact a viable alternative to some pain medications. Of course, these same researchers would recommend that those seeking relief always consult a medical professional before starting any kind of pain relief protocol including plant-based approaches.
There are different types of arthritis but the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Many people suffer from the sometimes debilitating effects of gout, a form of arthritis the symptomatology of which includes sometimes sudden flare ups of deep pain, most often in the big toe. The chemistry associated with tart cherries helps in the reduction of the uric acid associated with gout.
Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University, in looking at the anecdotal evidence contained in the many testimonials concerning the positive effects of the fruit, discovered that the chemical anthocyanin, the active chemical present in tart cherries, does in fact aid in the reduction of the inflammation characteristic of arthritis. Kerry Kuehl, lead researcher for the study was moved by the “powerful anti-inflammatory benefit(s)” of tart cherries.
Indeed, researchers have concluded that the chemistry associated with the inflammation and subsequent pain in arthritis is efficiently neutralized by the chemical compounds found in tart cherries. These researchers contend that when tart cherries, especially in their juice form, are made a part of one’s daily diet, the sometimes debilitating inflammation-born effects of arthritis can be reduced.
Whether tart cherry juices may or may not ease arthritis pain seems to be, at least anecdotally, a moot point. The list of testimonials celebrating how tart cherry juices do just that continues unabated. If one were to happen into the Red Barn in Santaquinn, Utah one would find a whole section dedicated to the concentrated form of the juice that is grown and processed on site. The wall is festooned with personal testimonials celebrating its pain and inflammation reduction qualities. The Red Barn website proudly declares that tart cherry juice is its “most popular item.”
As it turns out, like the customers themselves, researchers have concluded that tart cherry juice has a range of other health benefits including its anti-inflammation properties. These include heart and cardiovascular health inducing antioxidants and naturally occurring melatonin. One of the big problems for arthritis sufferers is the lack of steady and deep sleep they miss out on because of the pain. Tart cherry juice not only addresses the pain, but offers up somnolence-inducing melatonin as well.
Other benefits include regulating glucose levels in the body, boosting immunity, migraine headache relief and possible cancer-fighting properties. Athletes and physical trainers alike have grown fond of the juice for its muscle supporting qualities during competition as well as its pain-reductive, muscle-reparative and body-recovery properties. Runners report for example that they can run longer, feel less pain and recover faster.
While the anthocyanin’s found in tart cherry juice can also be found in other fruits, berries and vegetables, by sheer volume it cannot be matched by its availability in a few tablespoons of its concentrated form. Whether one suffers from arthritis pain or wants to remain active without the ongoing and debilitating effects of inflammation-related maladies, research has concluded that tart cherry juices may work to ease the pain of arthritis and aid in one’s pursuit of an active lifestyle.
By Matthew R. Fellows
Photo By: Ed Ivanushkin – Flickr License