Health Benefits of Cherry Juice

It may reduce inflammation related to arthritis and gout

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Although preliminary, some studies suggest that cherry juice could offer benefits as a complementary treatment for arthritis, or joint inflammation, and gout, a type of arthritis that often affects the big toe.

Cherries are a rich source of polyphenols, naturally-occurring plant-based compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and are considered low on the glycemic index.

There are many different varieties of cherries, but the two main types are sweet and tart. Montmorency cherries are a tart variety commonly studied for their health benefits, while Bing cherries are a popular sweet cherry variety.

Both sweet and tart cherries are high in polyphenols, but tart varieties are by far the richer source. 

health benefits of black cherries
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This article explains the benefits of tart cherry juice in people with arthritis and gout, weighing the current evidence alongside the potential risks and side effects.

What Cherry Juice May Do

Tart cherry juice contains anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory compounds responsible for the red, blue, and purple colors of fruits and vegetables. Some evidence suggests that anthocyanins help to combat a variety of long-term inflammatory diseases, including:

Anthocyanins are thought to decrease inflammation by suppressing pro-inflammatory compounds in the body, including cyclooxygenase (COX). COX is the same pro-inflammatory enzyme targeted by anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve (naproxen) and Celebrex (celecoxib).

In addition, tart cherry juice has high concentrations of polyphenols like flavonoids that also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Together, these compounds make tart cherry juice a potentially helpful add-on therapy for people with arthritis and gout.

Benefits of Cherry Juice for Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that often leads to joint stiffness and pain. Common types include osteoarthritis, or "wear-and-tear" arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, or a condition that occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissue and causes joint damage.

There have been a small handful of clinical trials investigating the effect of tart cherry juice on people with arthritis. Among them:

  • A 2012 study in the Journal of Food Science reported that participants with osteoarthritis who drank 10.5 ounces of Montmorency cherry juice twice daily for three weeks had lower markers of inflammation (specifically C-reactive protein) than people given a placebo.
  • A 2013 study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage reported that participants with knee osteoarthritis who drank 8 ounces of Montmorency cherry juice twice daily for six weeks had less joint pain and stiffness and improved joint function compared to those given a placebo.
  • A 2018 animal study in Nutrients that focused on rheumatoid arthritis noted that consuming tart cherry prevented bone loss due to inflammation and helped prevent bone stiffness.

Despite the positive findings, the studies were small (20 and 53 participants, respectively), or involved animals. More research is needed.

Benefits of Cherry Juice for Gout

Gout is a chronic form of inflammatory arthritis caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints and tissues (most commonly the big toe). Traditional treatments often include medications, self-care, and the avoidance of trigger foods.

Studies involving the use of tart cherry juice in people with gout reported the following findings:

  • A study published in 2012 found that among 554 people who met the American College of Rheumatology’s classification criteria for gout, those who had consumed cherries and/or cherry extract were 35% less likely to have gout attacks.
  • A 2019 study involving 25 overweight or obese adults at risk of gout reported that those who drank 8 ounces of tart cherry juice every day for four weeks had lower uric acid and C-reactive protein levels than those who were given a placebo.
  • A 2019 review of studies in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggested that the more tart cherry juice a person drank, the lower their risk was of having a gout attack.

Not all study findings are consistent. A 2020 study published in the journal Rheumatology looked at the effects of tart cherry juice in 50 adults with gout. After 28 days of twice-daily doses, the participants had no changes in their uric acid levels.

Nutritional Information

Eight ounces of 100% organic tart cherry juice delivers the following nutritional value and helps meet the recommended daily value (DV) of several key nutrients:

  • Calories: 130
  • Protein: 1.01 grams
  • Total fat: 0 grams
  • Saturated fats: 0 grams
  • Trans fats: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 19.2 milligrams
  • Sugars: 24 grams
  • Total carbohydrates: 32 grams (11% DV)
  • Dietary fiber: 0.96 grams (4% DV)
  • Calcium: 19.2 milligrams (2% DV)
  • Iron: 1.44 milligrams (8% DV)
  • Potassium: 410 milligrams (12% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 9.12 milligrams (15% DV)

Are There Side Effects of Cherry Juice?

In general, tart cherry juice is well tolerated with the majority of people having mild or no side effects. Some studies have noted that a few participants experienced:

It should be mentioned that drinking large amounts of tart cherry juice daily adds a considerable amount of sugar to your diet. It’s generally recommended that people limit sugar on an arthritis-friendly diet.

People with diabetes should also drink cherry juice in moderation as the amount of sugar in 8 ounces of juice can raise blood sugar levels.

An alternative to tart cherry juice is tart cherry capsules. One brand, called Cherry Flex, uses the skin and the pulp of the Montmorency cherry. The over-the-counter product has less sugar than cherry juice and is also available as a paste for people who have trouble swallowing pills.

Before using any supplement, speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is appropriate for you and won’t interact with any medications you are taking.


Tart cherry juice, typically from Montmorency cherries, is rich in plant-based compounds called anthocyanins and polyphenols. Both compounds are thought to have potent anti-inflammatory effects that may benefit people with arthritis and gout.

While research is limited, some studies have shown that drinking tart cherry juice may reduce symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

Tart cherry juice is generally safe to consume, although some people may experience side effects.

A Word From Verywell

Cherry juice is not meant to be a replacement for traditional medical therapies for gout or arthritis. Always speak with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or treatment plan.

Just because something is “natural” does not mean that it is safe or effective.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Li D, Wang P, Luo Y, Zhao M, Chen F. Health benefits of anthocyanins and molecular mechanisms: update from recent decade. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017;57(8):1729-1741. doi:10.1080/10408398.2015.1030064

  3. Kuehl KS, Elliot DL, Sleigh AE, Smith JL. Efficacy of tart cherry juice to reduce inflammation biomarkers among women with inflammatory osteoarthritis (OA). J Food Stud. 2012;1(1):14-25. dol:10.5296/jfs.v1i1.1927

  4. Schumacher HR, Pullman-Mooar S, Gupta SR, Dinnella JE, Kim R, McHugh MP. Randomized double-blind crossover study of the efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Aug;21(8):1035-41. doi:10.1016/j.joca.2013.05.009

  5. Moon N, Effiong L, Song L, Gardner TR, Soung DY. Tart cherry prevents bone loss through inhibition of RANKL in TNF-overexpressing miceNutrients. 2018;11(1):63. doi:10.3390/nu11010063

  6. Zhang Y, Neogi T, Chen C, Chaisson C, Hunter DJ, Choi HK. Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. Arthritis Rheum. 2012;64(12):4004-4011. doi:10.1002/art.34677

  7. Martin KR, Coles KM. Consumption of 100% tart cherry juice reduces serum urate in overweight and obese adults. Curr Dev Nutr. 2019;3(5):nzz011. doi:10.1093/cdn/nzz011

  8. Chen PE, Liu CY, Chien WH, Chien CW, Tung TH. Effectiveness of cherries in reducing uric acid and gout: a systematic review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019;2019:9896757. doi:10.1155/2019/9896757

  9. Stamp LK, Chapman P, Frampton C, et al. Lack of effect of tart cherry concentrate dose on serum urate in people with gout. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2020;59(9):2374-2380. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kez606

  10. U.S. Department of Agriculture: FoodData Central. Organic 100% tart cherry juice, tart cherry.

Additional Reading

By Brittany Poulson, MDA, RDN, CD, CDCES
Brittany Poulson, MDA, RDN, CDCES, is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist.