Those close to me know (a) I have an inflammatory Auto Immune Disease and (b) I recently discovered pomegranates and their anti-inflammatory effect.
For Years my DH has promoted the anti-inflammatory effects of sour cherries, and living Down Under – Down Under (no that is not a double – merely a descriptor) we have had to source a local variety of Tart Cherries known as Kentish. Luckily there is an orchard within driving distance from us on the Island. Each year we buy ten kilo’s of first picked Kentish Cherries, which are then mostly dehydrated and stored for munching on when pain arrives, with a few saved for triple chocolate cherry brownies – Mmmmmmm…….. yummy served with homemade vanilla yoghurt.
I have been making homemade pomegranate syrup (aka molasses) which is very messy – in fact our kitchen looks like I may have slaughtered a pig each time I get the pomegranates from the store and attempt to juice them. The effort is certainly worth it as the end product tastes delicious in weak black tea, or over ice cream.
But back to those cherries, which I promise you are almost as much hard work pitting, but dehydrate well, store well and do help with DH’s arthritis in the winter months.
I came across this article today and I want to share it with you. You maybe one of those who discounts the use of tart cherries, as being simply an old wives tale… not worth your investment so to speak! Read on and be convinced.
Safer, Natural Treatment For Inflammation
Move Over Blueberries, Pomegranates… And Ibuprofen
Tart (Montmorency) cherries have a more powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect than blueberries or pomegranates. Clinical studies show significant benefit in real world conditions. Tart cherry juice is probably safer than typical anti-inflammatory medications.
“Tart cherry juice may be a safer way to treat muscle pain and inflammation than over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen,….”
Is this statement from something you received in the mail trying to sell you “natural” wonder products? No, it is from a press release from a major medical university on their website. In other words, this has every reason to be taken seriously as credible information. The problem is that it is not easy to get this information to you in a credible way.
Most of you are quite familiar with the Vioxx fiasco. A new prescription anti-inflammatory medication that was advertised as being a new wonder medication with very few side effects or problems for common inflammatory conditions. But the truth about the problems Vioxx created finally came to light, and Vioxx is no longer on the market.
Arthritis and other inflammatory conditions are still common. Most medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can have serious side effects in a small number of people. The good news is that there are good lifestyle and rational, natural treatment options. Tart cherries are one of those options.
The Lead Researcher
Kerry Kuehl, MD, DrPH, is an Associate Professor at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and Associate Director of the Human Performance Laboratory. He has been involved in many studies looking at lifestyle issues and health, as well as more “natural” treatment options. We were privileged to have Dr. Kuehl present findings from his cherry study and others at our launch event in the Fall of 2010.
Click here to read the press release from the OHSU website in a new window. Then finish reading here.
Many will simply take away from this that tart cherry juice is good for inflammation. That is certainly true, but help yourself even more with understanding Dr. Kuehl’s “smart” use of this natural anti-inflammatory substance in the real world. Those in the treatment group:
1. started using tart cherry juice for days before the activity that was going to create inflammation, and,
2. used tart cherry juice during the activity creating inflammation.
Most of us don’t take ibuprofen or something else for inflammation until we are hurting – after the damage or inflammation is at its peak. This is pretty “late to the party” and not that much fun. The much more effective approach is to pour in the anti-oxidants before or during “the party.”
1. Tart cherry juice is a clinically effective anti-inflammatory treatment option.
2. Form. We have less information on the effectiveness of other forms of tart cherries, such as dried, but generally, dried fruit retains high anti-oxidant values. Dried tart cherries, while not cheap, will likely get you more “cherry” for your dollar than juice. For many of us dried will also be more convenient. Pie, with all its sugar, white flour, trans-fat loaded shortening, etc, would not be a recommended way to regularly get significant amounts of tart cherries.
3. Time your tart cherries (or other anti-inflammatory foods) to your advantage for greatest benefit. Build them into your diet on a regular basis (I am nearly addicted to dried tart cherries in my breakfast cereal – they’re flavor bombs), or give yourself an extra boost with some before an activity you would expect to get sore from.
4. Locating tart cherry products. Many grocery stores, and even warehouse stores like Costco, now carry dried tart cherries or tart cherry juice. Be sure to look for “tart” “Montmorency” cherries. You just have to look and ask. Of course, savvy consumer that you are, you will want to shop to locate what is the best quality for the best price.
Enjoy the flavor sensation of Montmorency cherries and the reduced pain sensation they produce in the process!
(Note from JustME – Kentish are the variety we have found to be beneficial)