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Black Cherry Juice

What You Need to Know About Black Cherry Juice

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Updated April 11, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Black cherry juice is a type of juice typically used to treat health conditions like gout and arthritis. Extracted from the Prunus serotina plant, black cherry juice is rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins.

Uses for Black Cherry Juice

Although black cherry juice is most widely used in treatment of gout and arthritis (including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), some proponents claim that black cherry juice can also fight exercise-induced muscle damage.

See Natural Remedies for Osteoarthritis and Natural Therapies for Rheumatoid Arthritis for alternative methods for coping with these forms of arthritis.

Black cherry juice is purported to reduce inflammation, a biological process closely linked to arthritis and gout. Indeed, anthocyanins have been found to block two enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) involved in the production of inflammatory compounds known as prostaglandins.

Related: 3 Natural Remedies for Gout.

Benefits of Black Cherry Juice

There is currently a lack of research on the health effects of consuming black cherry juice. However, a number of studies suggest that anthocyanins (one of the key antioxidants found in black cherry juice) may offer certain health benefits.

For instance, a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that dietary intake of anthocyanins may help prevent high blood pressure. And in a 2006 report published in Free Radical Research, scientists state that anthocyanins "may play an important role in health promotion in terms of obesity prevention, cardiovascular health, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects."

In addition, there's some evidence that increasing antioxidant intake in general may help protect against the development and progression of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, scientists have yet to explore the use of black cherry juice as a treatment or prevention method for either type of arthritis.

What is Black Cherry Juice Concentrate?

Black cherry juice concentrate contains significantly less water than black cherry juice. In order to create black cherry juice concentrate, manufacturers apply specialized filtration and extraction processes. The resulting product contains a greater concentration of nutritional compounds than black cherry juice.

Black Cherry Juice vs. Tart Cherry Juice

Some research suggests that tart cherry juice (a variety of juice made from the Prunus cerasus) may offer certain health benefits. For example, preliminary studies show that consumption of tart cherry juice may fight oxidative stress, improve sleep quality, and protect against abdominal obesity. Like black cherry juice, tart cherry juice is rich in anthocyanins.

Where to Buy Black Cherry Juice

Widely available for purchase online, black cherry juice is sold in many grocery stores and natural-food stores.

Should You Use Black Cherry Juice for Health Purposes?

Due to the lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend black cherry juice for any health condition. However, it's possible that drinking black cherry juice may help enhance your overall health by increasing your anthocyanin intake.

You can also increase your anthocyanin intake by including anthocyanin-rich foods like berries, red onions, kidney beans, pomegranates, and red grapes in your diet on a frequent basis.

It's important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with black cherry juice and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Sources:

Cassidy A, O'Reilly ÉJ, Kay C, Sampson L, Franz M, Forman JP, Curhan G, Rimm EB. "Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults." Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Feb;93(2):338-47.

Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. "Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality." Eur J Nutr. 2011 Oct 30.

Jaswal S, Mehta HC, Sood AK, Kaur J. "Antioxidant status in rheumatoid arthritis and role of antioxidant therapy." Clin Chim Acta. 2003 Dec;338(1-2):123-9.

McAlindon TE, Jacques P, Zhang Y, Hannan MT, Aliabadi P, Weissman B, Rush D, Levy D, Felson DT. "Do antioxidant micronutrients protect against the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis?" Arthritis Rheum. 1996 Apr;39(4):648-56.

Prior RL, Wu X. "Anthocyanins: structural characteristics that result in unique metabolic patterns and biological activities." Free Radic Res. 2006 Oct;40(10):1014-28.

Seymour EM, Lewis SK, Urcuyo-Llanes DE, Tanone II, Kirakosyan A, Kaufman PB, Bolling SF. "Regular tart cherry intake alters abdominal adiposity, adipose gene transcription, and inflammation in obesity-prone rats fed a high fat diet." J Med Food. 2009 Oct;12(5):935-42.

Traustadóttir T, Davies SS, Stock AA, Su Y, Heward CB, Roberts LJ 2nd, Harman SM. "Tart cherry juice decreases oxidative stress in healthy older men and women." J Nutr. 2009 Oct;139(10):1896-900.

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