According to recent research, ground whole Montmorency tart cherries in pill form may be a promising pain-reliever for osteoarthritis.
A previous study has demonstrated the anti inflammatory properties of a diet supplemented with Bing sweet cherries. In the 1950’s another study revealed that eating one-half pound of cherries a day prevented the onset of gout.
In the current study, more than half of the patients enrolled experienced a significant improvement in osteoarthritis pain and function after taking the cherry pills for eight weeks. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is considered degenerative and typically affects the hands, feet, spine, and large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. Patients with osteoarthritis of the knees were enrolled in this pilot study to assess potential efficacy of the tart cherry pills.
“The current treatment of osteoarthritis is largely focused on controlling pain through use of over-the-counter acetaminophen or prescription pain medications as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” explains John J. Cush, principal investigator of the study. “These conventional medications are widely used, but have not been shown to alter the natural history of the disease. In some cases, overuse may contribute to significant gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, hematologic, renal and liver toxicity.”
“This specific type of tart cherry is one of the best studied natural products and anecdotally has been claimed to have a salutary effect on osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis as well,” adds Dr. Cush.
Enrollment for a second study is already underway, which will test cherry pills versus placebo for osteoarthritis in an eight-week double blind study.
More information on enrolling for the study can be found at the Baylor Research Institute.