Tart cherries, scientifically known as Prunus cerasus, have been gaining popularity in recent years for their potential health benefits, particularly when it comes to joint health. These small, sour fruits are packed with powerful antioxidants and other compounds that may help alleviate inflammation and support overall joint function. Consequently, many people have turned to tart cherry supplements and juices to manage symptoms of joint pain or discomfort associated with conditions like arthritis and gout.

Research has shown that the key compounds responsible for the joint health benefits of tart cherries are anthocyanins, which give the fruit its characteristic red color. These antioxidants have been linked to reduced inflammation, and when combined with other natural ingredients like collagen and Boswellia, the effects can be even more potent. As a supplement or consumed in its natural form, tart cherries can provide valuable support for joint health and overall well-being.

Key Takeaways

Tart Cherry: An Overview

Tart Cherries vs Sweet Cherries

Tart cherries, also known as sour cherries or Prunus cerasus, are a type of cherry that has a more acidic flavor compared to sweet cherries (Prunus avium). One common variety of tart cherries is the Montmorency cherry, which is primarily grown in the United States. Montmorency cherries are often used in recipes that require a bit of tanginess, such as pies and preserves. On the other hand, sweet cherries, such as Bing or Rainier, are typically consumed fresh and used in dishes with a more delicate, sweet flavor.

Nutritional Profile of Tart Cherry

Tart cherries are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants that promote overall health. Here are some key nutritional components of tart cherries:

  • Vitamins and Minerals: Tart cherries are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and manganese. These nutrients contribute to a healthy immune system, support proper nerve function, and aid in cell and tissue repair.
  • Antioxidants: Tart cherries contain high levels of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which are responsible for their deep red color. Antioxidants help protect the body against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
  • Anti-Inflammatory compounds: Research has shown that tart cherries possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may help in reducing muscle pain during running and alleviating inflammation-induced pain behavior in rats. This makes tart cherries potentially beneficial for individuals suffering from arthritis, gout, or muscle pain.
  • Fiber: Tart cherries are also a good source of dietary fiber, which supports digestive health and may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Incorporating tart cherries into your diet, whether as a fresh fruit, dried, or in juice form, can provide numerous health benefits. The combination of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in tart cherries may contribute to joint health and help reduce inflammation and pain for those with arthritis or other joint-related conditions.

Tart Cherry and Joint Health

Tart cherries offer various health benefits, including promoting joint health. This section highlights the impact of tart cherries on arthritis and gout, reducing inflammation and pain, and improving joint function and mobility.

Impact on Arthritis and Gout

Tart cherries have been found to provide relief for arthritis and gout symptoms. Research shows that the consumption of fresh or canned cherries may help prevent arthritis attacks and restore joint functionality. Moreover, tart cherry extracts have promising effects on reducing joint inflammation and pain in women with inflammatory osteoarthritis.

Reducing Inflammation and Pain

Tart cherries contain anti-inflammatory properties, which contribute to their beneficial effects on joint health. A significant decrease in joint pain and inflammation has been observed in osteoarthritis patients who consumed tart cherry juice daily compared to a placebo cherry drink. This suggests that tart cherries can be an effective and natural alternative for managing joint pain and inflammation.

Improving Joint Function and Mobility

In addition to reducing pain and inflammation, consuming tart cherry juice has been linked to improvements in joint function and mobility, particularly in those suffering from knee osteoarthritis. A study found that daily consumption of tart cherry juice resulted in increased mobility and pain-related symptom relief. Another study examined the efficacy of tart cherry juice in the treatment of patellofemoral pain and found that it may improve knee joint proprioception and mobility.

In summary, tart cherries can be a beneficial addition to a diet focused on promoting joint health. Their impact on arthritis and gout, reducing inflammation and pain, and improving joint function and mobility make them a promising natural option for those suffering from joint-related conditions.

Anti-Inflammatory Compounds in Tart Cherry

Tart cherries are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that have been found to benefit joint health. This section will discuss key compounds, such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and quercetin, and their respective roles in promoting joint health.


Anthocyanins are a type of antioxidant responsible for the vibrant red, blue, and purple colors in fruits and vegetables. Tart cherries, in particular, are known for their high anthocyanin content. These natural compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate joint pain and reduce inflammation in arthritis sufferers. For instance, a study on rats found that tart cherry anthocyanins effectively suppressed inflammation-induced pain behavior.


Flavonoids are another group of antioxidants found in tart cherries. They have well-documented anti-inflammatory effects, which can contribute to improved joint health. Flavonoids, in combination with other antioxidants, have shown potential in mitigating oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. In the context of tart cherries, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects have been suggested to offer relief from arthritis pain and may promote better joint function.


Quercetin, a flavonoid also present in tart cherries, is an antioxidant with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown that quercetin can help modulate inflammation in conditions such as arthritis, providing joint pain relief and reducing inflammation. For example, a study on women with inflammatory osteoarthritis found that tart cherry juice significantly reduced inflammation biomarkers among the participants.

In summary, tart cherries contain a range of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, flavonoids, and quercetin, which may provide joint health benefits through their anti-inflammatory properties.

Other Health Benefits of Tart Cherry

In addition to their potential role in joint health, tart cherries have been studied for various other health benefits. This section will discuss their impact on exercise recovery and performance, sleep improvement, and heart health.

Exercise Recovery and Performance

Tart cherries contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help with exercise recovery and performance. A study found that tart cherry juice consumption could reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after intense exercise, potentially aiding in faster recovery and reduced risk of injury 1.

Sleep Improvement

Tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating sleep. Research suggests that consuming tart cherry juice can help improve sleep duration and quality. A study showed that participants who drank tart cherry juice daily experienced longer and more restful sleep as compared to a placebo group2.

Heart Health

Tart cherries may also contribute to maintaining a healthy heart by influencing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The consumption of tart cherry juice has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure in some studies 3. Additionally, research indicates that the antioxidants present in tart cherries can help lower bad cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease4.

Forms and Consumption of Tart Cherry

Tart cherries are known for their potential benefits in supporting joint health, particularly in the context of arthritis and gout. There are various forms of tart cherry available for consumption, and each offers a convenient way to incorporate this powerful fruit into your diet.

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice is a popular form of consuming tart cherries, as it is easy to find and convenient to drink. This liquid form provides a concentrated source of the naturally occurring antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. To reap the benefits of tart cherry juice, simply consume it as a beverage, mix it into a smoothie, or use it as an ingredient in recipes.

Tart Cherry Extract and Capsules

For those who prefer a more convenient and portable option, tart cherry extract is available in capsule form. These capsules provide a concentrated dose of tart cherry’s pain-relieving properties and can be taken as a dietary supplement. This form is especially useful for individuals who may not enjoy the taste of tart cherry juice or those who require a more consistent dosage.

Tart Cherry Powder and Concentrate

Another alternative is tart cherry powder or concentrate, which can be easily mixed into drinks or food. These products are made by processing tart cherries to remove most liquid, leaving a concentrated form of the fruit. Just like with juice and capsules, tart cherry powder and concentrate provide the associated health benefits in a versatile and easily incorporated form.

Each of these options allows individuals to select the best method of consumption—be it juice, capsules, or powder—for their specific needs and preferences, while exploring the potential joint health benefits tart cherries have to offer.

Potential Side Effects and Considerations

While tart cherry has shown potential benefits for joint health, it’s essential to be aware of the possible side effects and considerations when incorporating it into your diet. This section will discuss concerns related to sugar content and diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, and interactions with medications.

Sugar Content and Diabetes

Tart cherries contain natural sugars, and some products, particularly tart cherry juice, may have added sugars. It’s essential to monitor sugar intake for individuals with diabetes or those at risk for developing diabetes. Overconsumption of tart cherry products with high sugar content may lead to increased blood sugar levels. To manage sugar intake, opt for unsweetened tart cherry products or consider incorporating whole tart cherries into your diet.

Gastrointestinal Issues

In some cases, consuming tart cherry products may cause gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea. This side effect is typically short-lived and may vary depending on the individual and the amount consumed. To reduce the risk of gastrointestinal issues, it’s recommended to start with small portions of tart cherry products and gradually increase the intake if no adverse reactions occur.

Interactions with Medications

There’s a possibility that tart cherry products may interact with certain medications. While there are limited studies on these interactions, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare professional before incorporating tart cherry into your diet, particularly if you’re taking medications for joint health or other health conditions. Your healthcare provider can guide you on safe consumption levels and any possible medication interactions to ensure that you can enjoy the benefits of tart cherry without complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of tart cherry juice for joint health?

Tart cherry juice contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce inflammation and alleviate joint pain, particularly in those suffering from osteoarthritis and other joint problems. The presence of these compounds can help reduce pain, stiffness, and improve overall joint function.

How does tart cherry juice alleviate arthritis pain?

Tart cherry juice contains compounds like anthocyanins and flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds may help lower inflammation levels associated with arthritis pain and promote faster recovery from joint-related issues.

What is the recommended dosage of tart cherry for joint pain?

The recommended dosage for tart cherry juice varies based on personal factors and individual needs. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider first to determine what dosage might be suitable for you. Some people might benefit from drinking a few ounces of tart cherry juice daily, while others may prefer taking a tart cherry supplement in capsule or tablet form.

How long does it take to see results from using tart cherry for joint health?

The time it takes to notice the benefits in joint health from tart cherry can vary among individuals. However, some people may start to experience pain relief and reduced inflammation within a few days to weeks of consistent consumption. Always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage and monitor your progress.

Which tart cherry products are most effective for joint pain relief?

Tart cherry products come in various forms, including juice, concentrate, capsules, and tablets. The effectiveness of each form may vary from person to person, depending on personal preferences and needs. It is essential to choose a high-quality tart cherry product that contains the active compounds responsible for the joint health benefits.

Where can I purchase tart cherry products for joint health?

Tart cherry products for joint health can be found in health food stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, and online retailers. Ensure to choose a reputable brand and source to guarantee the quality and effectiveness of the product.


  1. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/3/368 ↩

  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2017.1384918 ↩

  3. https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article-abstract/3/5/nzz011/5364543 ↩

  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1063458413008029 ↩