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Black cherry (Prunus serotine) is the most common American species of sweet cherry and is native to North America. Many people report health benefits from drinking black cherry juice, especially relief from the symptoms of gout.
There’s some research to back up this claim, too.
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis. It occurs when your blood has a buildup of uric acid. This acid causes crystals to form in a joint, which leads to sudden pain and swelling.
Gout generally goes through stages of severity. They include:
- asymptomatic hyperuricemia (high uric acid level before the first attack)
- acute gout
- interval gout (the time between attacks)
- chronic gout
The most common areas of the body to develop gout are the joints of the knee, ankle, and big toe.
Some people only experience one gout episode, while others may have several episodes throughout their lives.
The Arthritis Foundation estimates about 6 million American men and 2 million American women have gout.
Like all cherry juices, black cherry juice has a high amount of anthocyanins. These are antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables that are red or purplish in color.
While beets, purple cabbage, and blueberries (among others) contain anthocyanins, cherries have the most.
Antioxidants relieve inflammation, which is important for the treatment of gout.
Did you know?
Black cherry juice contains anthocyanins. These are antioxidants that give dark red and purple fruits and vegetables their color. They may help relieve pain caused by gout.
While there are no studies about black cherry juice specifically, a 2014 study found that tart cherry juice lowers uric acid — the culprit of gout.
Both the lowering of uric acid and the increase in antioxidants may help lessen the number of gout attacks. Since black cherry juice contains similar antioxidants, it may also help reduce uric acid and improve gout symptoms.
Less than two servings in 24 hours didn’t show any results. More than three didn’t provide any additional benefits, either.
As of now, it’s unknown whether there’s a best time of day to drink cherry juice or whether it’s better with or without food.
However, it does seem clear that ingesting cherries, including black cherries, in any form provides the same benefit. Consume your cherries in whatever manner you choose. You can eat them, drink them, or take a cherry extract supplement.
The traditional treatments of gout include diet modification, medication, with using hot and cold compresses. If your doctor suggests that you modify your diet, black cherry juice alone won’t relieve your symptoms. But it may be one of the things you do to improve your health.
You may also want to:
- Stop drinking alcohol.
- Choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products
- Drink plenty of water.
- Replace meat with beans and legumes.
- Avoid soda and meats such as bacon and salty fish, like sardines or anchovies.
Common medications to help relieve the symptoms of gout include:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- xanthine oxidase inhibitors
Unless you’re allergic to it, black cherry juice is safe to drink for gout.
Of course, too much of a good thing is possible: Overdrinking black cherry juice may lead to stomach cramping and diarrhea from the extra fiber.
Don’t stop any medication or treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. Studies show that cherry juice may help when added to a treatment that’s already in place. If you aren’t sure whether you should incorporate cherry juice into your daily routine, talk to your doctor.
If you think you have gout, be sure to see your doctor. They can make the diagnosis and get treatment started for you as soon as possible.
To confirm a gout diagnosis, your doctor will ask about your lifestyle and any current conditions you may already have. They’ll perform a blood test to measure your body’s uric acid level, too.
Blood tests aren’t completely definitive for diagnosing gout, so your doctor may also order other diagnostic tests, such as:
- CT scan
Your doctor may also take a sample of fluid from the affected area for examination.
These tests will help your doctor rule out other possible causes for your pain, including infection or arthritis of a different kind.
When used alongside a treatment plan from your doctor, drinking black cherry juice may keep a gout attack at bay. The juice can relieve inflammation through the effects of antioxidants and by lowering uric acid.
You can also ingest cherries in other ways, like eating them raw or taking a supplement, to get the same benefits. It’s always safest to choose the whole, natural, unprocessed cherry.
Research regarding the benefits of black cherry juice for gout is relatively new. However, in general, ingesting black cherries has no negative effects.
If you have gout, don’t stop your current treatment plan if you start drinking black cherry juice.
If you suspect you might have gout, make an appointment with your doctor before self-medicating with cherry juice. Black cherry juice alone won’t cure your symptoms.