Cherry extract health benefit Information by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 20 2015


A cherry is both a tree and its fleshy fruit. The cherry belongs to the family Rosaceae, genus Prunus (along with almonds, peaches, plums, apricots and bird cherries).


Cherry extract supplement
Different cherry extract supplements are sold in health food stores including a 10 to 1 cherry extract concentration.


Cancer prevention
Pak J Pharm Sci. 2014. Report: investigation of anti-cancer effects of cherry in vitro. Cherry has been traditionally used for the treatment of inflammatory-related symptoms. Recent researches have proved that cherry is a valuable natural source of some important bioactive compounds in human health preservation. Evidence suggests that, cherry consumption may decrease the risk of chronic diseases and cancer. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of cherry on breast cancer cells lines. Results showed that, extracts of cherry exhibit anti-proliferative activity in mammary adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) & mouse mammary tumor cell (4T1) breast cancer cells lines as well as induction of apoptosis, lower ADMA concentrations in cell cultures treated with cherry extract and antibacterial effects against certain multidrug-resistant bacteria in vitro. These findings may open new horizons for traditional anti-inflammatory product as prophylactic-therapeutic agent from cancer, cardiovascular diseases and multidrug-resistant infections.


Consumption of cherries may reduce uric acid levels which may be of benefit in gout.


Heart benefit with sour cherry (Prunus cerasus)

Cardioprotective mechanisms of Prunus cerasus (sour cherry) seed extract against ischemia/reperfusion-induced damage in isolated rat hearts.
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006; Department of Pharmacology, University of Debrecen, Health science Center, Debrecen, Hungary.
The effects of kernel extract obtained from sour cherry seed on the postischemic cardiac recovery were studied in isolated working rat hearts. Rats were treated with various daily doses of the sour cherry extract for 14 days then hearts were isolated and subjected to 30 min of global ischemia followed by 120 min of reperfusion. The incidence of ventricular fibrillation (VF) and tachycardia (VT) fell from their control values of 92% and 100% to 50% (NS) and 58% (NS), 17% and 25% with the doses of 10 mg/kg and 30 mg/kg of the sour cherry extract, respectively. Lower concentrations of the extract (1 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg) failed to significantly reduce the incidence of VF and VT during reperfusion. Ten and 30 mg/kg of sour cherry seed kernel extract significantly improved the postischemic recovery of cardiac function (coronary flow, aortic flow and left ventricular developed pressure) during reperfusion. We have also demonstrated that the sour cherry extract-induced protection in cardiac function significantly reflected in a reduction of infarct size. Immunohistochemistry indicates that a reduction in caspase 3 activity and apoptotic cells by the extract, beside other potential action mechanisms of proanthocyanidin, trans-resveratrol, and flavonoid components of the extract, could be responsible for the cardioprotection in ischemic / reperfused myocardium.

Cherry Juice and muscle aches

Drinking a glass of cherry juice after exercising may help ease those aching muscles, hint results of a small study funded by Cherrypharm Inc. Researchers have identified a number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in tart cherries but studies evaluating the fruit's effectiveness in alleviating symptoms of inflammatory conditions have yielded mixed results. One study, however, showed that men and women who ate 45 cherries a day had lower levels of inflammatory markers in their blood. British Journal of Sports Medicine.


Inflammation reduction in marathon runners
Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running.
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2009. Howatson G, McHugh MP, Brouner J, Jewell AP, van Someren KA, Shave RE, Howatson SA. School of Psychology and Sport Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
This investigation determined the efficacy of a tart cherry juice in aiding recovery and reducing muscle damage, inflammation and oxidative stress. Twenty recreational marathon runners assigned to either consumed cherry juice or placebo for 5 days before, the day of and for 48 h following a marathon run. Markers of muscle damage (creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, muscle soreness and isometric strength), inflammation [interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP) and uric acid], total antioxidant status (TAS) and oxidative stress [thiobarbituric acid reactive species (TBARS) and protein carbonyls] were examined before and following the race. Isometric strength recovered significantly faster in the cherry juice group. No other damage indices were significantly different. Inflammation was reduced in the cherry juice group (IL-6; CRP; uric acid). TAS was approximately 10% greater in the cherry juice than the placebo group for all post-supplementation measures. Protein carbonyls was not different; however, TBARS was lower in the cherry juice than the placebo at 48 h. The cherry juice appears to provide a viable means to aid recovery following strenuous exercise by increasing total antioxidative capacity, reducing inflammation, lipid peroxidation and so aiding in the recovery of muscle function.


Inflammation reduction with bing cherry and sweet cherry

Results demonstrate that cherry consumption reduces several biomarkers associated with inflammatory diseases.


Consumption of Bing sweet cherries lowers circulating concentrations of inflammation markers in healthy men and women.
J Nutr. 2006. U.S. Department of Agriculture/ARS, Western Regional Research Center, Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of consuming sweet cherries on plasma lipids and markers of inflammation in healthy humans. Healthy men and women supplemented their diets with Bing sweet cherries (280 g/d) for 28 days. After cherries were consumed for 28 d, circulating concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), regulated upon activation, normal T-cell expressed, and secreted (RANTES), and NO decreased by 25, 21, and 18% respectively. After the discontinuation of cherry consumption for 28 d (d 64), concentrations of RANTES continued to decrease, whereas those of CRP and NO did not differ from either d 7 (pre-cherries) or d 35 (post-cherries). Plasma concentrations of IL-6 and its soluble receptor, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 did not change during the study. Cherry consumption did not affect the plasma concentrations of total-, HDL-, LDL-, and VLDL- cholesterol, triglycerides, subfractions of HDL, LDL, VLDL, and their particle sizes and numbers. It also did not affect fasting blood glucose or insulin concentrations or a number of other chemical and hematological variables. Results of the present study suggest a selective modulatory effect of sweet cherries on CRP, NO, and RANTES. Such anti-inflammatory effects may be beneficial for the management and prevention of inflammatory diseases.


Sleep study
This study ascertained whether a proprietary tart cherry juice blend (CherryPharm, Inc., Geneva, NY, USA) associated with anecdotal reports of sleep enhancement improves subjective reports of insomnia compared to a placebo beverage. The pilot study used a randomized, double-blind, crossover design where each participant received both treatment and placebo for 2 weeks with an intervening 2-week washout period. Sleep continuity (sleep onset, wake after sleep onset, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency) was assessed by 2-week mean values from daily diaries and disease severity by the Insomnia Severity Index in a cohort of 15 older adults with chronic insomnia who were otherwise healthy. The tart cherry juice beverage was associated with statistically significant pre- to post-treatment improvements on all sleep variables. When compared to placebo, the study beverage produced significant reductions in insomnia severity (minutes awake after sleep onset); no such improvements were observed for sleep latency, total sleep time, or sleep efficiency compared to placebo. Effect sizes were moderate and in some cases negligible. The results of this pilot study suggest that CherryPharm, a tart cherry juice blend, has modest beneficial effects on sleep in older adults with insomnia with effect sizes equal to or exceeding those observed in studies of valerian and in some, but not all, studies of melatonin, the two most studied natural products for insomnia. J Med Food. 2010 June. Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study. Pigeon WR, Carr M, Gorman C, Perlis ML. Sleep & Neurophysiology Research Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


I enjoy and rely on your insightfulness and thank you for your contribution. I wanted to give you first hand knowledge concerning tart cherry extract for the use in combating insomnia. I have had a 4 yr battle with this debilitating sleep dysfunction and have tried many over the counter supplements and prescription medicines with only agitation of symptoms. I have had tremendous success with this powerful supplement for the much needed relief from insomnia.



The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned more than two dozen companies to stop selling cherry products that claim to help treat or prevent cancer, heart disease, arthritis and other diseases. The agency sent warning letters in October 2005 to 29 companies, ordering them immediately to stop making the health claims on their Web sites and product labels. "The companies cited are marketing dried fruit, fruit juice, and juice concentrate for treating or preventing of a variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and arthritis," the FDA said in a statement. If the companies fail to take corrective measures, they may face FDA enforcement actions such as seizure of their products or criminal sanctions.


Various types and their benefits
I just read your article regarding cherry (almonds too). Bing cherry, sweet, black, tart, all these cherries are confusing me. I think I correctly read somewhere that sweet cherries are almost nothing in comparison to the tart cherry in uric acid abatement. Can you explain further?
    I have not come across enough human clinical studies to know the benefits of each type and which is better for different medical conditions.