PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Cherry juice relieves arthritis pain?

By Joe and Teresa Graedon

Q: I have heard that sour cherry juice can ward off gout attacks and help relieve arthritis pain. I cannot tolerate drugs such as ibuprofen. Have you ever heard of cherries against pain?
A: Some data suggest that sweet cherries have anti-inflammatory activity that might be helpful against gout and arthritic conditions (Journal of Nutrition; June 2003 and April 2006).
Sweet and sour cherries block an enzyme (Cox-2) that is active in inflammation (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Feb. 25, 2009). One reader reported, “I have used tart cherry juice for over one year now, and I am pain-free! I had a hip replaced, and then pain started flaring up in the other one. I also have moderate arthritis in my knees, which would throb at night. I took tart cherry juice every morning and saw results after the third week.”

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. They can be reached at

12 comments Add your comment


June 22nd, 2009
12:19 pm

How much juice do i need to have ???


June 24th, 2009
12:05 pm

yes, how much do you need to take a day?


July 7th, 2009
2:24 pm

I have had two bad hips, since my 30’s, that had caused me excrutiating pain most days. At times I couldn’t sit in a chair without feeling the horrible pain.

Additionally I was in two major accidents in my 40’s, which resulted in three herniated disks in my neck. For a while I needed Vicadin in order to function because of the pain in my neck. My left arm was atrophying because the lack of muscle strength. My doctor sent me to a pain specialist and a physical therapist to help with the pain. It did help me get off the vicadin. But any activity like golf or basketball would cause tremendous pain in my neck and hips.

I am now 52 years old and for the past five years I have been taking two tablespoons of tart cherry juice concentrate mixed with 7 oz. of water once per day in the morning. I have been relatively pain free since then. Occassionally after I golf or play a sport with my teen son I will have some minor pain in my neck and hips….but I take an additional glass in the evening and the next morning I am pain free.

I told my family doctor about tart cherry juice and its positive effect it has had on me and he responded by saying “that’s great”. He didn’t inquire at all about it.

Someone other than the big pharmaceutical companies need to look into this simple and safe natural anti-pain fruit. It has been a miracle for me.

Kathy Smith

July 9th, 2009
9:28 am

I recently stumbled on the cherry thing quite by accident. I have mild arthritic pain, mainly in my legs. I had recently bought some sweet cherries and noticed about the third day of eating them ( 8-10 cherries or so, too many give me diarrhea) that I hadn’t had to take ibuprofin in a few days for the pain in my legs. Who knew? I then searched the internet and read what I had already discovered. I am grateful not to have to take so much ibuprofen. I am going to pursue a supplement because cherries are so seasonal. Or try the juice and frozen and canned versions. :)

Georgia Bender

July 15th, 2009
8:39 am

Very helpful information. I would like to check with the Graedons in regard to using Melatonin 3mg at night to sleep. I take Cardizem 180mg, Lisinopril 20mg in the morning and Lipitor 40mg at night with the Melatonin 2 hrs later. I don’t see my doctor for another month and would appreciate any help you may be able to give. Thank you. (I am 73 5′8″ l73 lbs white and active)

Bob McWilliams

August 11th, 2009
4:49 pm

As someone who has suffered for years with joint pain from old sports injuries, I went online and bought some cherry juice from a company called fruitfast. The pain began to subside after a few days and now I can say that I no longer need to take painkillers. The fruitfast cherry juice has been a Godsend.

tina hough

August 24th, 2009
1:30 pm

I need a knee replacement, but can’t get it till next year, I have chronic knee pain and have a hard time walking. I started drinking a cup of regular old pure cherry juice and have not had any painful swelling since. This has been for about 2 months now. I’v never gone this long without swelling which leads to a bad limp.

Patty Fleming

September 2nd, 2009
4:15 pm

I started developing arthritis about a year ago in my hands. Two months ago my husband bought me some pure cherry juice (very sour!) and I started drinking 2 Tablespoons in a glass of water every day. After about 3 weeks, I haven’t had any pain. I was sure this was some type of scam, but it is really wonderful. It has made me really start looking at the nutritional benefits of different foods.

Joann Anderson

September 2nd, 2009
8:58 pm

I first heard about tart cherries from my doctor. At first, I didn’t feel much difference and told my doctor. She said to just be patient since it takes time to build up on the my body. It wasn’t until I stopped drinking the tart cherry juice did I feel the difference. I was on vacation and didn’t take any cherry juice with me. I was in such pain and none of the local stores carried the cherry juice, but I found a local store selling the cherry capsules. I started taking them a within a few days I felt better. I told my doctor about the Fruit advantage tart cherry capsules when I returned and she looked into them and said they would work great for me. I also just recently learned she is now recommending these cherry capsules to her other patients. I liked the juice but the capsules are some muc easy to take and are more convenient.

John C.

September 2nd, 2009
9:01 pm

Hey check this out… I just downloaded and started reading a free downloadable ebook called Tart Cherry Health report from Traverse Bay Farms. It is really good information on the cherries and it also has some cherry recipes that sound really good.

Jenni G

February 18th, 2010
1:45 pm

My husband is in absolute agony with gout in his foot. After reading the comments, I am going to try and get him some cherry juice or cherry juice capsules.


February 23rd, 2010
6:03 am

I have just read about this yummy remedy for arthritis. I will definitely give it a try.